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Nourish Your Spa

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

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit nutrition advocate and research organization, publishes 10 issues of its Nutrition Action Healthletter each year, and you can subscribe for a mere $10. Harvard Medical School puts out the monthly Harvard Women’s Health Watch for $28 per year, which contains articles about everything from exercise to dietary supplements.

“These are inexpensive and consumer-friendly, with informative stories, and they’re great to carry along with the glossies,” Bazilian says. Even mainstream consumer magazines such as Cooking Light and Eating Well can provide your clients with helpful, educational reading material that will help them use food to extend the benefits of their spa treatments into their everyday lives.

Go green

Educated spa-goers aren’t just interested in general nutrition—they’re also highly concerned about the environment, organic food and sustainable agriculture. According to Kleist, the six-acre organic Rancho Tres Estrellas farm at Rancho La Puerta in Mexico’s Baja California is an ideal to strive toward. The farm provides fresh fruits and vegetables for guests at the spa, who can also visit it in order to learn more about organic gardening. “More spas are taking a hard look at their food sources, and considering utilizing local farms or their own gardening as much as possible,” Kleist says. If that’s just not practical for your budget or your location, you can still provide organic and healthy food, drinks and snacks for clients. “Offer green or black tea for antioxidants between treatments,” Lam suggests.

A+ After-care

One of the best ways to increase client satisfaction and return visits is to offer items that spa-goers can take home with them in order to encourage healthy eating away from your business. “Keep in mind what happens after they leave the spa,” Kleist says. Lam suggests selling supplements, such as omega-3 capsules and soluble fiber products, in your retail area. “People go to the health food store to buy these things anyway,” Lam says, and if nutrition’s on their mind at the spa, it’s a convenient time to buy.

But supplements aren’t the only way to help clients boost their nutrition at home—spa food is becoming more and more high end. “Health food used to be boring, but that’s not what spa cuisine is like,” Bazilian says. “It’s colorful, nutritious, delicious, beautiful and engaging.” After enjoying your meals, clients will be pleased to see your spa offering recipe cards to take home.