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A Body of Work: Interview Transcripts and Photos
By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: September 26, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
page 4 of 7
On 60 Minutes recently, there was a report that took a healthy 25-year-old college guy, and they disturbed his sleep for a week. The guy started developing type-2 diabetes, and he gained five pounds. These two trends are making people aware that this is no joke, and it is as necessary as anything else. If you don’t sleep for two months, you will die. It’s not a matter of luxury anymore; it’s becoming a matter of public health.
Sleep was the initial concept from the February 2007 openeing. I was a regular corporate guy, I worked for TimeWarner for years. With my job, I had to travel a lot. I experienced the negative effects of jet lag. I was gaining weight, getting sick, my immune system was affected, I knew I was sluggish all the time. In 2002 and 2003, I realized that Japanese and Korean citizens take sleep seriously, and they have break rooms in companies. I thought that they knew something that we didn’t. Instead of trying to get sleep, we go to Starbucks or we have a glass of wine before bed. Caffeine doesn’t give a boost and stays in system and prevents sleep at night and screws with our overall rhythm. That’s when I decided to create Yelo. We have 60% female visitors, 40% men, which is much higher than a normal spa. We have people between the ages of 25-55. We have a lot of corporate people because we signed corporate deals with TimeWarner, BMI, Newsweek and First magazine.
We’re a wellness venture; I didn’t want to be called a spa because that means health with water. We don’t use water with our treatments. The other issue is that everyone these days is calling themselves a spa. It’s very confusing. I’m doing something completely different. I’m providing wellness. We do reflexology, massages, detox treatments, and people take napping with one of these.
They would say they want a 30-minute nap. Their first visit, we would ask medical questions, sleep patterns; and how they feel: sluggish, stressed, cranky. Once we know this, we have them select a scent of orange flower, fig, mimosa or blackberry, and they select music or a sound: whales, nature, storms, Chopin, Mozart, and others. Once they create their nap, we install them in the cabin and in our zero-gravity chai,r and we turn off the lights and they fall asleep very quickly. The chair puts their knees above their heart, which helps them fall asleep quickly. We don’t use sound to wake them, we simulate the sunrise in the cabin with LED lighting and, in three minutes, people come back to the surface, open their eyes and they leave.
We recommend a 40-minute for first time and a 20-minute nap after that. They feel like they’ve taken a three week vacation because before, they are stressed, cranky, their eyes hurt, and when they leave, they feel lighter, in a good mood. They say “I’m feeling it in my body,” “I’m back in my shoes, instead of feeling horrible.” It’s also good for the companies they are working for.