The International Consulting & Management company specialized in the
Water Spas and Hydrotherapy techniques.

About Us


LE SPA FRANCAIS is an International Consulting Company specialized in the Hydrotherapy Spa Sector.

With the help of our founder's 24 years’ experience in the development and operation of spas all around the world, our expert team has developed extensive expertise developing all types of spas using hydrotherapy techniques and processes.

To help our customers, the company has access to the best specialists of the French spa industry in each area of expertise required for their spa project.

Our global vision of the spa industry and our clear and efficient approach are at our clients' service. We are always happy to share our operational experience to add value and profitability to their projects.

With its new hydrotherapy turnkey concepts, LE SPA FRANCAIS provides strong and profitable business models which can be adapted to new or renovation projects.

These new concepts meet the 3 most important aims of spa and hospitality business owners: satisfaction of new customer needs, market differentiation and profitability.

All our concepts are evaluated against P&L forecasts and ROI analysis to give our clients the best operational profit.

We implement customised concepts for hydrotherapy spas in the form of modules that are adapted according to the environmental specificities of the site and the economic constraints of each project.

Our tasks include integrating the adapted concept, technical support, sourcing suitable brands, sourcing specialised equipment and supplies, personnel management, spa training, quality control and management assistance.

Hydrotherapy is the art using the physical and/or chemical properties of water for treatments. This includes treatments like baths and showers, drinks, injections, and sprays, using the properties of water in any form (liquid, solid and gaseous).

It forms the conceptual base of three important global spa businesses: Thermalism, Thalassotherapy and Balneotherapy.

It can be used in spas providing wellness and fitness programs focused on relaxation and renewal, but it is also successfully used for medical purposes.

Hydrotherapy spas have become a fast growing specialized business. LE SPA FRANCAIS, offers owners and developers a large choice of hydrotherapy concepts and methods which are suitable for their brand image, as well as modular solutions to their organisational problems.

With LE SPA FRANCAIS our partners can manage their own priorities, and, because of our modular system, we can offer them the best-adapted solutions for their personal strategies.

Our role is to help them face their property development and operational challenges, while respecting their competitive market constraints and satisfying their tastes and values with regard to these new water concepts.


Our Scope of action

Identifying the unique needs and
potential of each project.

Ensuring that Concept and
Design in line with project positioning.

Operational assistance to
ensure the project succeeds.


We help you:

  • Create a true identity for the project
  • Find the right spa signature for you
  • Have an original spa that meets the best international operating procedures standards
  • Be creative and profitable


We provide all the support you need to:

  • Understand your customers needs
  • Find the best positioning for your spa in a competitive market
  • Offer the best value for money spa services
  • Interact well with other tourist providers in your area


We provide specialized financial forecasts so you can:

  • Identify the best ratios and key figures in spa management
  • Identify and expand your income lines
  • Monitor your critical costs
  • Calculate your investment budget and estimate your Return on Investment
  • Have confidence in the accuracy of your business forecasts


We help owners and their development teams by:

  • Providing all the functional drawings for the spa
  • Finding the best operational trade-offs during space planning
  • Developing original design program with architects that is efficient in terms of operation
  • Finding a profitable balance between space management and time management


We provide full specialized technical support to:

  • Architects
  • Engineering consultants
  • Any specialized consultants appointed by our Partner

We supply all the preliminary guide lines for the concept:

  • Assistance with general design and space planning
  • Flow Management
  • Spa equipment specifications & budget
  • Any necessary technical advice
  • Special techniques & water management
  • Respect of the architectural charter of the partner's Spa brand
  • Adhere to the specifications of the chosen Spa brand


We source all necessary equipment for the full spa concept, such as:

  • Medical and hydrotherapy care equipment
  • Swimming pools and special Spa equipments
  • Sports equipment.
  • Specifications for Technical plants and logistic areas

Human Resource Management

  • Staff Sourcing
  • Staff Selection
  • Staff Training


  • Spa Organisation and PMS set-up
  • Spa Standard Operating Procedures set-up
  • Service Quality control on a regular basis
  • Organisation control on a regular basis


  • Staying in the loop of innovative spa businesses
  • Equipment R&D: how can you find what makes you different
  • Spa services and procedures R&D: how to demonstrate your high standards

Sea water spas


According to the official definition given by the authorised French association,“France Thalasso”, Thalassotherapy is "the medical use of the beneficial properties of the sea (which include the coastal climate, seawater, marine mud, seaweed, sand, and other substances extracted from the sea) with both preventative and remedial aims".

A short summary of Origins

The Pharaohs, the Greeks and the Romans used sea water treatments for their medicinal benefits and their tonic effects on the body.

Medicinal treatments using sea water became popular in the middle of the 18th century, when a British doctor, Richard Russell, recommended the use of sea water for internal and external cures. His medical bathing house was one of the foundation stones of Brighton as a sea side resort.

The word was invented in 1867 by a French doctor, De la Bonnardière,who carried out sea water cures at Arcachon in France. Ithas two Greek roots "thalassa" and "therapei” meaning: to treat by the sea.

By the end of 1800s there were more than 60 bathing housesin France. In 1899, Dr Louis Bagot created the first Institute of Thalassotherapy,at Roscoff in West Brittany, France, but he took the idea a step further by heating the water for treatments. In 1904, René Quinton carried out scientific research into the therapeutic qualities of sea water and wrote the profession's "bible" "Sea water, an organic medium".

During the 20th century the fashion for sea bathing popularised the concept and accelerated the creation and modernization of prestigious sea water spa towns.

The French Thalassotherapy society was created in 1959.

In 1964, the French cycling champion Louison Bobet opened the first modern thalassotherapy complex at Quiberon. In 1997 the Official Journal of the French Republic published the specifications for the certification of thalassotherapy, which is subject to an official certification known Qualicert.

As of 2016 in France there are 38 thalassotherapy centres which are members of the professional association called “France Thalasso”.

The main requirements for a thalassotherapy centre are:

  • A true sea front setting (no more than 1,000 metres away)
  • Use of natural sea water for individual treatments
  • Medical supervision of the treatments
  • A team of skilled professionals, trained in thalassotherapy techniques
  • Permanent concern for hygiene and safety
  • Well adapted specialised equipment in good working order

Thalassotherapy is considered to be a natural medicine that uses the properties of the marine environment to prevent and treat organic imbalance in our bodies; which will inevitably generate negative impacts on health if it is not addressed.

“Life is the result of a balance of incessant exchanges with the surrounding environment. Human health depends on the correct functioning of a multitude of biochemical reactions in our body. A disruption of one of these mechanisms will eventually cause internal disorders which manifest by one or several clinical symptoms.

(D)isease is primarily a disturbance of equilibrium. If the problems of civilization, such as overwork, stress, asthenia, insomnia and other psychosomatic imbalances, are not prevented or treated in time, they will, more or less rapidly, lead to some serious health problems, ranging from depression to heart disease, through allergies, hair loss, skin diseases and other symptoms which are always unpleasant.

Seeking to remove these symptoms, especially by the use of drugs, is not necessarily the best way to remove the original cause of the discomfort. The curative effect and the individualised preventative program of thalassotherapy tackles their origins.

Thalassotherapy's revitalizing effect mostly comes four main factors:

  • Sea water, whose minerals recharge the body,
  • Sea air, whose spray is loaded with trace elements (ionization) and the recognised antibiotic qualities of ozone,
  • Sun, which allows the body to accumulate vital vitamin D (light therapy)
  • The sea side and the beach, for the connection with nature, so that the entire day should not be spent inside the facility.

From Nicole Priollaud “Bien choisir sa thalassothérapie” Hachette 1998


Mineral Spring Spas


Thermalism consists of bringing together all possible medical and social resources to use the therapeutic properties of hot spring waters. Various forms of treatments are carried out in thermal spas, such as baths, inhalations and beverages.

The specific diseases treated principally depend on the chemical characteristics of the springs used by the thermal spa. Depending on its physical and chemical composition, thermal water can be used for one or more specific therapeutic orientations.

A natural hot spring water is declared mineral when: it springs from an identified source, it has determined and constant physicochemical characteristics, it has microbiological purity and its health benefits have been demonstrated.

Hot mineral waters are classified therapeutically based on their chemical composition (quantity and type of minerals in ionic form, pH, temperature).

  • Sodium or calcium sulphurous waters (having a high concentration of hydrogen sulphide) have a high concentration of sulphur, which has a curative action on mucous membranes, which can develop chronic infections. They are used to prevent or cure respiratory diseases (colds, ear infections, asthma, bronchitis).
  • Sulphated waters (high concentration of sulphur) are prescribed for kidney diseases and for certain metabolic diseases (calcium sulphate waters). When the components are mixed (calcium and magnesium), they are also indicated for the treatment of eczema, scars and burn scars.
  • Chloride-sodic waters are waters where salty sodium chloride predominates. They have a stimulating effect on growth and are indicated for developmental disorders and enuresis.
  • Soft bicarbonate waters. Water containing sodium bicarbonate salts facilitates the treatment of certain gastrointestinal disorders and hepatobiliary problems. They regulate motility of the gastrointestinal tract, alleviate digestive spasms and also have a healing effect on the intestinal mucosa. Calcium bicarbonate waters are anti-inflammatory, soothing and healing in dermatology, especially in the treatment of acne and burns.
  • Low-mineralized waters - less than 500 mg per litre - and in particular those low in trace metals (copper, arsenic, selenium, zinc...) are particularly indicated for detoxification.
  • Ferruginous waters are mineral spring waters containing iron salts.

The curative effects of Thermalism are medically well-known, scientifically proven and used in the treatment of various pathologies. They are observable in the long term.

They are a real response to chronic disease. They are adapted to address each pathology specifically and therapeutic programs are customized to patients.

The medical results of the various studies conducted have demonstrated the effectiveness of the actual benefit of taking a cure, not only because of the thermal treatments, but also because of the psychological and human support the patients receive and the contribution to their therapeutic education.

Depending on their natural chemical composition and how they are used, the effects of thermal waters are recognized on pain, muscle relaxation, joint and skin flexibility, the respiratory system and general health, where they can aid mental and physical recovery.

Thermal treatments are particularly indicated for prevention or treatment of chronic disease (obesity, metabolic syndrome, fibromyalgia, asthma, venous disorders, rheumatoid arthritis).

The benefits of thermal spa treatments are reinforced by the pure environmental quality of spa towns and by the leisure activities they propose. It’s also important to mention here how thermal professionals can contribute to the general health education of patients, as well as specific therapeutic education.

In France there are about 700 identified mineral water sources that are used in hundreds of French spas. Spa treatments are supported by the national health insurance system.

Thermal baths are under the control of the Ministry of Health, assisted by the AFSSAPS (the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products) which assesses the quality of thermal products, and the Academy of Medicine, which establishes the therapeutic properties of the waters, products and mineral water.

105 spas have contracts with Social Security and they offer a hundred listed and standardized care packages grouped by therapeutic orientation.

65% of the expenses related to spa treatments are repaid by the State. The remaining 35% are paid for by the patient, but they may be reimbursed by their top-up private health insurance.

France bears the social and fiscal costs of some 520 000 spa stays annually, which comes to €250 million (medical fees, spa treatments, public subsidies).

This summary was created using extracts from the excellent CNETH website:www.medecinethermale.fr


Balneotherapy spas


Balneotherapy is treatment using general or local tap water baths. Not all treatments and therapy can enjoy proximity to the sea (thalassotherapy) or to mineral or hot springs (Thermalism) and most spas are situated in towns. Although in Anglo-Saxon countries Balneotherapy commonly refers to mineral baths, the term also applies to spas which use water treatments that make use of regular hot or cold tap water, which is usually the case in urban spas that use hydrotherapy techniques for wellness or physiotherapy care.

Balneotherapy is defined by the systematic use of water baths for wellness or medical purposes. The treatments mainly use fresh water baths of cold or warm water, but can also include the range of hydrotherapy techniques, but using tap water. By extension, the term Balneotherapy is also applied to solar baths or ultraviolet or infrared rays. The treatment protocols are completed with mud applications or cosmetic treatments, and sea weed or thermal weed applications.

Offered in urban wellness spas, the aims of these services are well being, relaxation and beauty.

Balneotherapy is also practiced in medical spas for physical rehabilitation. Its purpose is to improve the patients' functional autonomy and thereby quality of life. Physical medicine, postural medicine and physiotherapy easily combine with the therapeutic benefits of hydrotherapy in an aquatic environment with other rehabilitation techniques (paramedical massages and physical mobilization, physical therapy, electrotherapy). The same techniques are successfully applied in sports medicine for the preparation or physical recovery of athletes.

Balneotherapy provides 3 benefits for the human body: muscle relaxation, physical and mental relaxation and cardiovascular improvement.

The effectiveness of this therapy is based on the mechanical properties of the water. There are five mechanical properties of water which are well summarized in Dr. Dominique Hoareau's interesting book called "Marine therapy". Dangles Editions, 2002.

Buoyancy created by the “Archimedes effect”

The weightlessness created by the “Archimedes effect” reduces the weight of a body immersed in water to a quarter of its usual value measured outside. This buoyancy effect cancels out movement difficulties and facilitates the execution of rehabilitation movements for injured or fragile people. It’s also very useful for physical preparation before effort, or recovery after effort, in the case of athletes.

Hydrodynamic resistance

A submerged body that moves within a stationary liquid medium has to overcome a force proportional to its surface and to its speed of movement. Any movement done in water therefore causes a proportional resistance which increases the benefit of any exercise done in aquatic environment. Physical sessions are effective but not strenuous. It greatly increases muscle work intensity without having to mobilize the joints.

The hydrodynamic thrust

The hydrodynamic thrust is defined by the movement of water generated by a jet or by a cross-current which is applied to a stationary or moving body, immersed or not. This effect produces a deep but smooth water massage on the different parts of the body. Balneotherapy professionals introduce exercises such as effort sessions against oriented water flows, or swimming or walking against the current.

The heat effect

The average temperature used for hydrotherapy is ideally between 34° and 36°. The heat has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular, muscular and neurological systems. A hot bath relaxes muscles and generates a spontaneous relaxation and a sedative effect due to the reduction of the sensitivity to the skin, increasing the pain threshold and allowing deeper and more efficient exercises.

The pressure gradient

Immersed in the pool, the client is subject to a surface atmospheric pressure lower than that existing at the bottom of the pool. This forms a pressure gradient (difference between two pressures) whose value lies between that of the maximum and minimum blood pressure of the subject. The circulation of blood is facilitated because the arterial flow that goes to the periphery of the body is not hampered while the venous flow coming back from the lower part of the body is favoured.

Our Team

A network of senior experts

Our Expert Team have a breadth of expertise that enables them to examine issues, discuss possible solutions and write proposals that are effective and tailored to each project. Our team of experts have extensive knowledge and skills, a variety of languages, different backgrounds and cultures, and a wealth of international exposure.

Erwan Madec Founder - CEO erwanmadec@lespafrancais.com

Erwan Madec is the founder and CEO of LE SPA FRANCAIS. He’s in charge of the international development of hydrotherapy spa concepts “à la française” developed in partnership with the best French brands in the sector.

Since 1991, Erwan has been developing and managing different “water spa” concepts, addressing spa specialties like thalassotherapy, thermal spas, urban spas, health spas and medical spas.

Building on his experience as the General Manager of several French thalassotherapy he became CEO of spa consultancy companies for the THALGO group (THALGO COSMETICS, ELLA BACHE, TERRAKE) and then for LA COMPAGNIE DE VICHY (VICHY CELESTINS SPA HOTEL, VICHY THERMALIA).He has contributed to the development of around 40 Spa resort projects in more than 20 different countries.

He is one of the few international spa developers who have successfully explored and tested the subtle interactions between the hospitality business, the spa business and the cosmetics business.

Now he is a staunch proponent of French hydrotherapy care methods and works to develop them in partnership with great French spa brands in Thalassotherapy, Thermalism and Balneotherapy.

Erwan strongly believes in the high potential of the Hydrotherapy Spa business and has decided to use his multicultural spa experience to offer entrepreneurs and investors transversal expertise with their international spa projects.

Alphonse Raja Business Development raja@thefrenchspa.com

Alphonse Raja is an accomplished international business development professional with over 20 years’ experience in the lifestyle and wellness industries.

Born in India, after his MBA and 10 years of managerial experience in India he came to France in 1993, where he has been living and working as a cross-border business development consultant since. As a bi-cultural and bi-lingual facilitator he works to reduce complexity in cross border business developments. He is a proactive and experienced marketing professional, with a proven ability to perform a broad range of functions in the fast-paced European business environment.

Raja brings extensive expertise and experience and is responsible for overseeing the strategic planning process, identifying and growing profitable new business opportunities and managing all aspects of LE SPA FRANCAIS’s project portfolio, focusing on the regions of South East Asia, India and the Middle-East.

Franck Bouffioux Operations Director

After studying economy and marketing in France, Franck Bouffioux added the final touches to his studies in the US. He became a hotel manager in France and abroad for 10 years before immersing himself in the Thalassotherapy and spa business as a manager and consultant.

Following this experience, he was appointed general manager of TSM in early 2009, where he not only coordinated spa design but also supervised management contracts with a multidisciplinary and very specialized team of 13 people. In addition, he managed Les Issambres-Thalassotherapy centre in the south of France (Var) and presided over Thalgo Super-Spa Middle East, a specialized consulting and management company based in Dubai (UAE).

In 2013 he became Global Operations Director for Vichy Spa International and was in charge of the technical and opening parts of various resorts in France, Morocco, Qatar… Frank is President of his own company ZE SPA CONSULTANT and works as a freelance senior expert for prestigious French brands like VICHY.

Mohan Ellini Strategy & Business

Entrepreneur, leads and mentors teams working at portfolio of companies and its’ project initiatives that use technology in innovative ways to create high growth business opportunities. Collaborates closely with ‘Incubation team’ to ensure the delivery of high quality value-added services to the client entrepreneurs. Interacts with investors, entrepreneurs and stake holders to form global partnerships, joint initiatives and setting up business units.

Laetitia Vesperini Operational Manager

After 12 years in the hospitality business, for 6 of which she was an operation manager, Laetitia Vesperini decided to go to business school and successfully obtained a degree in general management.

Following this she joined TSM in 2005 as Spa Operations Manager, and managed several spas and Thalassotherapy centres within 4* hotels and resorts in Sardinia, Italia.

After having proved herself in Italy, she undertook audit missions, spa openings, and management assistance as well as the management supervision of several projects.

From 2013 to 2016 she was Assistant Global Operations Manager for Vichy Spa International.

In mid-2016, Laetitia founded her own company called STCG (Spa Thalasso Conseil Gestion) where she works as a freelance senior expert.

Jean Pierre Imbert

Jean Pierre is the founder and CEO of ATEICO. He’s a skilled senior engineer, specialized in hospitality and spa business development. ATEICO is an engineering company that is particularly skilled in fluid engineering and “special techniques” related to pool and water management. He manages his own engineering office connected to a team of talented experts specialized in project management, structure & construction engineering, pool special techniques, fluids, heating & MEP engineering and, of course, economists.

ATEICO specialises in all types and sizes of pools, Thalassotherapy devices, thermal spas, hammam and other hydrotherapy equipment necessary for high quality projects.

The agency works in close partnership with two design agencies, LUMBROSO in Paris and SOPHIA Imbert ARCHITECT&PLANNER based in Agadir, Morocco.

The teams speak several languages - French, Arabic, English and Spanish - allowing them to work successfully on both sides of the Mediterranean and internationally.


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