Transitioning From Physical To Virtual Studio

The health and wellness industry is moving online. Here’s how.

With gyms, fitness centres and wellness studios including meditation, yoga, barre and pilates being closed, consumers are turning to online solutions to meet their fitness and wellbeing needs. It has been truly inspiring to watch our adaptive industry respond to this demand by switching their services to digital, and in such quick and innovative ways.

SPA+CLINIC is dedicated to bringing you as much help and inspiration as possible while you pivot and adapt your own practice during COVID-19 closures, and what better way to do this than to chat to other businesses about their transitions and accomplishments?

Today we speak to Myles Sgammotta, Director at Selph Health Studios. Selph, a health and wellness studio based in Sydney’s Rosebery offering chiropractic, physiotherapy, remedial massage, acupuncture, naturopathy, nutrition, energy, yoga, pilates and meditation, has now made the transition to a full-service online studio. Here, Myles tells us all the details, customer feedback, and any snags along the way.

Tell us about your shift from physical to virtual studio
With the onset of COVID-19, we had to fasttrack our plans to bring the studio into the digital space. We had been discussing developing a digital offering for a number of months, but the sudden forced closure of much of the studio brought this all into action in two weeks. Our main priority was to ensure that our regular clientele and our movement members were still able to have their weekly treatments and attend their daily classes without too much disruption.

We built an online platform from scratch and quickly learnt the ins and outs of live streaming and presenting on-demand video. We made, and then remade about a dozen classes before we launched our online streaming service, to determine the adjustments required to effectively teach remote classes.

We then developed and tested the online practitioner consultations to ensure they were as effective as clients coming into the studio. We did a number of trials on some lucky test subjects to measure the effectiveness and satisfaction of online treatments.

Seeing our online community come alive has been really exciting for all of us at Selph. We spend a lot of time developing really progressive treatments and offerings, so it’s great to be able to share these with people that live outside of the vicinity of the Studio.

How have you found the transition?
We are lucky to have a really proactive and dynamic team who all immediately began helping with the planning and implementation of our online transition the moment the COVID-19 restrictions were announced. All of our practitioners and teachers have been so amazingly supportive, we couldn’t have done it without them.

Your Rosebery studio is still open – tell us about your current operations there
All of our services are back at the Studio as of Monday 20th April – our Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Acupuncturists, Emotional Health Practitioners, Naturopaths and our Remedial Masseuses. The Movement studio is still closed currently and operates exclusively online for the duration of the restrictions.

Our primary concern is keeping the studio as safe as we can for our community coming in for treatments. We have a very rigorous cleaning schedule after each client, and only have a maximum of 6 clients in the studio at any one time. Our practitioners check in each morning before coming to the studio to make sure they are well and not showing any signs of illness. 

We saw a decrease in clients initially in the first few weeks of COVID-19 restrictions but we’ve had more and more people coming back to the studio in recent weeks. We’ve been seeing a lot of people who are suffering from postural issues because of their work from home set ups, as well as a lot for stress and anxiety, which we treat with Neuro Emotional Technique (NET). Depression and emotional stress can take a big toll on the body and mind during these isolated times at home, so we try and help people deal and overcome these issues.

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

There are also a number of people seeing our Naturopath wanting to make sure they keep their immunity up before the winter.

Are your online services all ones that you already offered in your physical location? Or are some new?
The consultations are the same services that we offer online, however we have also introduced online workshops in which we will be hosting on a regular basis starting with our co-founder Dr Evan Sgammotta and our Emotional Healer and Medium Leanne Magoulias.

What has been the biggest challenge/s so far?
With such a sudden change brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, there was no time for beta testing for any of the online platforms. We had to release the prototypes for all our online platforms out as soon as we possibly could so that members and clients could still access their classes and their health services. Traditionally I’d allow an additional 4 weeks for development and testing, however this had to be done on the go. It was certainly a challenge, but we’re really happy with where it’s at now.

What has been the feedback so far?
We’ve had an amazing response so far – we’re getting consults from people across Australia who are suffering from emotional stress and others who are just wanting to speak to someone about how they can keep their immunity higher. We’ve also had a lot of older clients who are more confined to their homes taking advantage of the online consultations.

Would you recommend virtual services to other practitioners?
So long as they can perfect their offering and ensure that the service is equal to that of an in-person consultation, then absolutely. It’s a fantastic way to help those who are on stricter isolation lifestyles, as well as new clients outside of your geographic area.

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