www.nytimes.com – Two young women in white chamois robes exited the Himalayan salt sauna at Premier57, a spa in Midtown Manhattan, looking rosy and happily spent.
The salt sauna, lined with burnt orange and yellow blocks of sodium chloride, is a popular destination at the spa, where a day pass is $75 and the tagline urges guests to “immerse, indulge, intrigue.”
Options include an infrared lounge, a meditation room, an igloo room, a gold sauna and a clay sauna, “but we have a lot of guests who just come here for the salt room, especially if they have arthritis,” said the spa’s general manager, Ellis Kim. “It’s very good for arthritis and for regulating blood pressure.”
There’s no scientific proof for such claims. And, despite the assertions by Ms. Kim and her peers, there is also no proof of the power of salt rooms to bring relief to children with asthma, seniors with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and everyone in between with stuffy noses or stress, according to Dr. Norman H. Edelman, a senior science adviser at the American Lung Association.
Nonetheless, salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, a venerable treatment in Central Europe and Asia, is now being offered at spas, resorts and stand-alone facilities in the United States in the form of salt beds, salt rooms and salt booths. Floors and walls that are lined with salt blocks and salt crystals, and zero-gravity chairs (recliners designed to relax the back), are the norm. A device known as a halogenerator grinds sodium chloride into a dry aerosol, then disperses it to mimic the microclimate of a salt cave.
Catharina Hedberg was ahead of her time. In 1974, fresh off the boat from Sweden, the 29-year-old fell in love with the Santa Monica Mountains and created the Ashram, which at the time was a new idea for Southern California: the wellness retreat. She started out charging $500 for a weeklong, mountaintop program of yoga, meditation and hiking — activities that Swedes did regularly back home but were largely unknown here.
“Back then, fitness and nature and wellness were new for Americans,” Hedberg says. “Today we do four-hour hikes, but back then people could barely hike an hour.” Jane Fonda and a steady trickle of celebrities showed up in Calabasas at the Ashram, but it wasn’t until 1990 that all 12 rooms started to book up regularly.
Today millions do yoga, Pilates and meditation, and “wellness travel” to far-flung resorts from Costa Rica to Bali is booming, with women the primary clients. Closer to home, unique spins on wellness retreats are combining yoga and meditation with surfing, swimming, boot camps and even writing in outdoorsy settings ranging from luxury hotels to dedicated retreats to Yosemite National Park.
“I’m glad it’s caught on,” says Hedberg, now 72, who owns two more Ashrams in Spain and now charges $5,200 a week. “People need a place that stops time, gets them re-centered.”
Here are six unique California wellness programs to help you return from vacation healthier than when you started.
BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — George Washington discovered the “curative powers” of the warm springs here when, at the age of 16, he was a member of a survey party checking out the scenic land claimed by his mentor, British nobleman Lord Fairfax.
Later he bought property here, as did other Revolutionary War generals, Continental Congressmen and signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
And the town has been a popular health resort since.
“We like to say we have more licensed massage therapists than we have lawyers,” chuckled Jeanne Mozier, vice president of the Travel Berkeley Springs convention and visitors board.
The public baths in the Berkeley Springs State Park in the town’s center are open year-around, and the population of this community of about 5,000 permanent residents particularly swells when the weather warms.
It doesn’t hurt that Route 522 through here is a shortcut from central and western Pennsylvania to many points south of Washington, D.C. And it’s only a 90-minute drive from Altoona.
“At least a third of the people who end up visiting us say they’ve driven through several times and always wanted to stop,” Mozier said.
Leading Executive Search Firm Uniquely Positioned to Supply New Generation of Global Hospitality and Wellness Leaders
Sonoma, Calif. (June 7, 2017)-Hutchinson Consulting, the leading executive search firm for hospitality, spa and wellness, hosted their annual corporate retreat April 28 to May 1, at the home office in Sonoma, California. Executive recruiters from across the country convened to celebrate the company’s recent success, and plan for future growth.
“Hutchinson Consulting is experiencing sustainable growth as a result of our stellar team. Demand for qualified hospitality and wellness professionals is at an all-time high, and we are delivering qualified, thoroughly vetted executives,” says Bill Hutchinson, owner and co-founder of Hutchinson. “For the first-time ever, Hutchinson has added wellness titles to its database portfolio, due to an increase in demand for placement of Wellness positions. Our largest areas of growth have been in placing wellness positions, international hospitality candidates and those in the medi-spa space.”
The Hutchinson Consulting team enjoyed the spoils of the Sonoma Valley, while reviewing past successes and brainstorming future opportunities. Recent accomplishments include:
* Successful Job Placements: Hutchinson placed a record 21 candidates in the first quarter of 2017 in the Hospitality, Spa, Food & Beverage and Wellness industries.
* New Staff Additions: Executive Recruiter Robin Stewart and Associate Jennifer Copeland joined the Hutchinson team in April. Stewart was formerly COO and Director of Recruitment at two large insurance offices in New York and Los Angeles. Copeland worked previously with Korn Ferry International, the world’s largest provider of executive search.
* Growth in the Southeast U.S.: Hutchinson expanded its foothold in the Southeast, as Executive Recruiter Sheri Claflin recently relocated to Lexington, Kentucky.
* Global Expansion: New to Hutchinson is expansion outside of the U.S.-including placements in Mexico, Europe, India and other parts of Asia.
* Development of New Market Opportunities: Hutchinson has seen significant growth in emerging wellness markets and private estate management sector.
Hutchinson’s future plans include further expansion of new market opportunities, such as private estate management and senior care living, as well as working with their hospitality partners to explore new wellness models in hotels and resorts.
“Wellness is here to stay. The explosion in wellness-oriented experience represents a fundamental shift in consumer demand. Real estate developments, hotels and resorts are incorporating spa and wellness not only in the spa department, but into other aspects of the hotel, such as programming, rooms, meetings, and food and beverage,” says Michael Tompkins, Executive Recruiter at Hutchinson and Immediate Past Chair of the International Spa Association.
About Hutchinson Consulting
Hutchinson Consulting is the leading firm in Hospitality, Spa and Wellness recruiting. With a team of executive recruiters totaling more than a century of experience, Hutchinson Consulting maintains a data base of thousands of top-level executives, hotel managers, resort managers, and spa managers. Our Private Estate Management sector conducts discreet, confidential searches for families of wealth seeking an estate manager or chief of staff. We source, screen, and rigorously reference-check the finest managers in the hospitality and wellness business. www.hutchinsonconsulting.com.
Michael Tompkins, Executive Recruiter, Hutchinson Consulting
Nancy Griffin, Principal, Contento Marketing
CEO Kate Boyer works tirelessly to make Anatomie the most-loved luxury travel brand in the world. From helping women of all ages find the best pants for their body type to non-stop traveling for trade shows and sales events, she does it all.
On May 18, Kate was honored for her efforts as she received the Women in Business Award from the Commonwealth Institute. This 12th annual luncheon in Miami recognizes the top 50 women-led businesses and top 10 not-for-profit women-led organizations in Florida. The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) is a vibrant nonprofit organization that helps female CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior executives expand their businesses through peer mentoring, education, development and networking.