In case you are doing some planning for 2011, I thought you might find this quick summary of some of our SpaFinder 2011 Spa Trend predictions helpful. As you may know, you can find the full report at: http://www.spafinder.com/about/press_release.jsp?relId=205. In the New Year we’ll examine the trends more closely and look at additional examples that I hope you will contribute to! In addition, I plan to include a “Counter Trend” aspect that I think might be fun.
Dr. Andrew Weil and Spas: SpaFinder Visionary Award Winner
by Susie Ellis
A couple of nights ago it was our privilege to hand Dr. Andrew Weil SpaFinder’s 2009 Visionary Award. Our Visionary Award goes to one person each year who has made a huge contribution to the field of spa and wellness. (Previous recipients include Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Howard Murad, Mel and Enid Zuckerman, Dr. Bruce Katz, Dr. Stephen, and Lyn Krant and last year’s recipient, Deborah Szekely.)
Simmone, Dulcy, and I gave Dr. Weil his award (see the great photo of the two of them with Dr. Weil and the not-so-great photo of Dr. Weil and me) for his tireless efforts to bridge the worlds of medicine and spa, and his prediction decades ago, that the hospital of the future would look more like a spa. Dr. Weil’s background includes being a Harvard Medical School-trained doctor, becoming a pioneer in integrative medicine, writing 12 books (mostly best sellers) and working with spas – notably Canyon Ranch and now Miraval.
And …talk about timing.
Dr. Weil (who has a way of simplifying things into understandable nuggets) spoke to the 92nd Street Y audience here in New York City and introduced his new book, “Why Our Health Matters….a Vision of Medicine that can Transform Our Future.” Given that the U.S. is on the eve of health care reform and other countries are also struggling with how to contain their health care costs, I think it was fascinating to hear what Dr. Weil had to say in that regard – and what all this means for the spa and wellness industry. Last night Dr. Weil was on Larry King Live. Check out the link to hear the actual 18-minute segment.
Although I had spent a few minutes in a sand therapy room at Brenner’s Park Hotel in Baden-Baden many years ago, the one here in Wiesbaden was different. As soon as I entered the room, I noticed that the entire floor – all the way up to the edges – was made of deep sand. It was just like being on the beach. In the center were two large ceramic pots with what looked like light mechanisms of some sort in the middle of each. On the ceiling was an aluminum reflector that spanned the entire ceiling from edge to edge. The attendant who gave us the tour explained that this is the sand therapy room. It was large enough for four people to lay down at one time (everyone is still naked of course), and the treatment lasted 30 minutes. So naturally I signed us both up.
When it was time for our sand therapy session, it turned out that we were the only ones. We went into the room, which was dark with just a little glow of light from the ceramic pots. On the side was a shelf of pillows and very light disposable paper mats for us to lie down on. We were instructed to just relax, which we were happy to do. The attendant then closed the door for our 30-minute session. The sand is heated from underneath, so that as you are resting on the sand it grows warmer and warmer. The light changes as well as time goes on. It begins very dim, becomes very bright, and then dims again by the end of the session. I was later told that this sequence is designed to mirror the actual amount of light the body is exposed to during a 24-hour day beginning with sunrise and ending with sunset. Music is supposed to be played in the background, but our attendant forgot to turn the music on (and forgot to explain the sunrise/sunset concept).
Apparently, this sand therapy session is particularly popular with perople who suffer from SAD – seasonal affective disorder – generally as a result of not getting enough sunlight.
But I must say that I quite enjoyed the session, as it was an ideal place to get some sleep. The feeling of the warm sand under your body is sensational, and the room is not as hot as a sauna or steam, where sleeping is neither possible nor recommended.
It might be interesting to see this concept in the U.S. It certainly serves as an example of de-staffed spa treatments, an increasingly prevalent spa trend.
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