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A Body of Work

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Cold and its involvement in spas’ past is not a new concept for Jean Kolb, spa director at Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler, Wisconsin, and Burr Ridge, Illinois. “When first looking at the principles of spa and water therapy, the use of hot and cold go back hundreds of years. People understood the benefits of warming and cooling the body,” she explains.

The spa’s newest location in Burr Ridge offers a variety of water treatments utilizing the cold, including the Aqua Tonic treatment, which alternates a warm-water Vichy shower experience with a bracing cold exfoliation, and the Circle of Tranquility room, which offers self-guided water rituals. Here, clients can enjoy a variety of shower and whirlpool offerings, most notably an eight-foot cold plunge pool to replenish and revive.

“People come out of it and they feel exhilarated and totally relaxed,” explains Kolb, who says, though 100% cold will contract muscles, alternating cold and warm is becoming very popular. She also mentions that, as the industry matures, spa clients are ready to take their treatments to the next level. “Massages are becoming part of a regular wellness routine for some clients, and they are looking for something new and exciting,” she notes. “Clients are becoming more spa savvy, and they want to feel good afterward and know that they’ve done something good for the body.”

If your spa wants to ice up its menu, there is only one thing to do … “Take the plunge,” laughs Kolb. “Experiment with it … the entire body, through the hair, on the feet, whatever, just go with it, play with it. You’ll find you come up with some of the most amazing treatments.”

A way of life

And just as Kohler Waters Spa and Qua are reaching into spas’ past and focusing on cold water, many facilities are beginning to focus on the significance of cultural history in interesting and innovative ways. At The Spa at Esperanza at the Esperanza resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, spa director José Ramon García says Mexican culture is reflected throughout the design and hospitality of the resort, as well as through the native ingredients in spa services.