I cannot help but smile as I write this, as I would not even be in a position to pen it if it weren't for a destination spa experience.
Like so many people, I had no idea what a "destination spa" was before I went to one. As a professional with the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, a global wellness think-tank, and former COO of SpaFinder® Wellness, I now know the definition. A destination spa is a place where everyone goes to have a full-immersion spa and wellness experience. These spas offer structured, personalized programs amid a community of like-minded people, and these programs touch upon your mind, body and spirit -- sort of the holy trilogy of the spa and wellness world.
There are countless ways a destination spa can change your life; here are five key examples:
Eating - Depending on where you are in the realm of healthy or unhealthy eating habits, there is always something new to learn at a destination spa. The food is very good, plus, there are excellent opportunities to become educated on how to eat better. Through my years of spa-going, I have done everything from eliminating red meat to artificial sweeteners from my diet. It's not a "one-size-fits-all" kind of thing. Whatever you can do to eat healthier "whole foods" is an improvement in your life.
Meditating - I had never contemplated meditation before I stepped foot in a destination spa--and now I understand its value and necessity in helping to control stress in my life. My goals around meditation are very simple and doable. One minute a day or even every other day is sometimes all I can do, but it's part of my "toolkit" now, and it's extremely helpful when I find myself over-pressured (yes, even those of us who work in the "world of wellness" fall prey to excessive stress!).
Spending Time In Nature - Before I went to a destination spa, I never thought about the role nature plays in my life because it didn't. But when I began to hike and even sit outside for a bit in a beautiful setting, I really began to appreciate the healing power of nature. Now I go for walks instead of always using the treadmill...a small change with a big impact.
Power of Community - The secret of the world's best destination spas is in the power of community that is created when like-minded people come together in the regenerative setting of a spa. Although very few people go to a spa for this reason, many walk away having really bonded with others they meet there. This can be truly life-altering.
The Intangible Takeaways That Become Tangible - I have done many things at destination spas -- walked labyrinths, written in journals, taken classes in breathing, written letters to myself that get mailed to me months later, which become a window into my thoughts at that time and much more. All of these things have served to help me become more open-minded, less judgmental and much more balanced. While these intangibles were certainly not conscious reasons for me to go to a spa, I am struck by how transformative my destination spa experiences have been.
When my mom first took me to a destination spa 21 years ago, it started a chain of events I could never have foreseen. We went to the same spa together for 10 years until she died. That time together was precious to us in so many ways. The experience had such a profound effect on me I decided to make a career change to the spa and wellness industry.
I have happily been in the industry for over nine years now, and I'll never forget that that change came about because my mom gave me the gift of going to a destination spa.
When over 350 senior-level spa and wellness professionals come together in New Delhi, India, next week to discuss issues affecting our industry and how we can push forward, we will launch our first-ever Global Destination Spa Forum. When I sit in that room, I'll be thinking about my first destination spa experience with my mom back in 1992 and how my life has not been the same since!
This blog post is part of a series produced by The Global Spa and Wellness Summit, in conjunction with Global Spa and Wellness Summit 2013 on October 5- 7 in New Delhi, India. For more information about The Global Spa and Wellness Summit, click here.