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The Way to Wellness

By: Mary Bemis
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the June 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Located on the spa’s upper level, this suite was built with the intention of allowing couples to extend their spa experience to an overnight stay.

It is my concern that, in today’s spa world, this term has been misappropriated and has strayed from its true meaning. “Wellness” has become a buzzword of sorts, and it may be attached to businesses and treatments that offer anything but. The spa industry owes it to today’s spa-goers to keep the definition clear and to help them in their quest for true wellness. Here’s a look at some creative new wellness programs that are popping up throughout the country.

Time for one

“I think wellness is a term that’s misused and overused,” says Brian Cantor, co-owner of Paul LaBrecque Salon & Spa in New York. “One person’s wellness is not another’s. In the spa world, wellness should be about alternative therapists utilizing mind and body concepts. Unfortunately, it’s a term that needs to be refocused.” Cantor’s partner, Paul LaBrecque, adds, “There’s an increase in wellness treatments because people are so rushed and working ridiculous hours. Part of wellness is giving oneself time to relax. You need a remedy that will make you feel better.”

In an effort to satisfy their clientele’s need for this type of service, LaBrecque recently added a number of wellness-oriented treatments: a colonic, which includes a session with a nutritionist ($160, 45 minutes); Reiki/Hypnotherapy, a treatment that combines energy work and visualization techniques ($120, 60 minutes); and Euphoria, a unique aromatherapy service consisting of an intense scalp massage and reflexology that two therapists perform in unison ($250, 90 minutes). This treatment also includes a shampoo and blow-dry.

“People are thinking more about their bodies and their minds—especially in an urban environment,” notes Cantor. Indeed, the rise in popularity of gentler forms of exercise, such as Pilates and yoga, only are fueling spa-goers’ quest for wellness. According to the latest study by the International SPA Association (ISPA), the offerings expected to make the biggest gains in future years include yoga, with an expected 18% of spas adding it to their menus; posture and realignment, with a 15% increase; and spiritual or mind and body programs, with a 14% rise.

Take a voyage