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Musical Motivations

By: Lauren Williamson
Posted: May 30, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Kohler Waters Spa in Burr Ridge, Illinois, literally packages music with the service in a bath treatment where music plays not just an aural but a physical role in relaxation. Jean Kolb, director of wellness business and product development for Kohler Waters Spa and Kohler Co., says special tubs equipped with underwater speakers play music that balances and calms the client from head to toe. “As the music has different tones—the bass, crescendos and decrescendos—you actually can feel that throughout your entire body,” she says.

Clients are able to select from a menu of music channels, and the variety of beats and tones plays a key role in the treatment’s effectiveness. “Just like when you have a massage,” Kolb says, “if you feel the same stroke over and over again it’s not as interesting as when that massage is mixed-up and the strokes are long and smooth in one way and then a little bit more rapid and quicker in others. The same thing happens with music.”

Bringing it home

The soothing sounds don’t have to stop at the spa, either. Both the Kohler Waters Spa and Canyon Ranch SpaClub sell CDs in their gift shops of the music played in the treatment rooms. “You can bring it home or give it as a gift, and it’s a way for you to reconnect with your spa experience,” Feeney says.

Canyon Ranch was one of the first spas to market its own private label CD, before Kohler followed suit. Kolb says Kohler originated the idea of bringing the spa experience home with its collection of scented bath products. “And then from there we said, ‘Well, let’s personalize the sense of sound throughout the spa with this CD,’” she explains. The Kohler CD features music that integrates water sounds ranging from subtle raindrops to a rippling stream. “When people come to our spa,” Kolb says, “they want to feel like this not just for an hour afterwards, but want to go home and recall the experience and just feel a sense of peace and wellness.”

Because the initial CD was so successful—selling 1,578 copies since 2004—Kohler developed a second volume, which has sold 807 copies. “We have people coming back, and they’re like, ‘Oh, do you have another CD?,’” Kolb says. “It was really by popular demand that we said, ‘You know what, we need to do another CD because they love the first one, and they want to bring their next experience home.’ I’m sure we’re going to have a third one.”