Wellness: It's more than Skin Deep!

However, it's time to expand our thinking and consider a broader definition of wellness to include feeling genuinely good, possessing high energy, being stress resilient, enjoying a positive attitude, and maintaining strong physical condition with a healthy body weight and an age-defying appearance. Isn't that more accurate?

Unfortunately, with 64 percent of adults overweight, most Americans do not experience true wellness. Not that they aren't trying: 72 percent of adults spend a cumulative $33 billion a year attempting weight lossoften unsuccessfully, through dieting. What if Americans could be convinced to redirect their efforts from ineffective quick fixes to successful long-term lifestyle modifications? That's where spas find a unique niche in personal care, offering us health-enriching services in comfortable, familiar surroundings among trusted professionals.

We walk into a spa hoping to look and feel better, and we return to our favorite places because the professionals know us, care about us, and help us. We trust spa professionals with our bodies and, in many cases, our health concerns. If we are part of the 64 percent of the population that is overweight, we come in for massage services to soothe our hips, knees, and backs, aching from the stress of our extra pounds and often vocalize related maladies such as difficulty sleeping, lack of stamina, shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue. In a way it's our cry for help.

Equipped with expanded services that are truly healing, properly trained spa professionals have an opportunity to recognize health concerns and take clients to the next level of well-being through lifestyle recommendations, motivation, and encouragement. Medical spas around the country are adding health experts such as nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and dermatologists to counsel, coach, and customize programs for men and women in the non-threatening environment of the spa. That's good news for many of us.

Nutritionists can provide dietary analyses and counseling for those who struggle with weight loss and maintenance, and can then provide follow-up care when we return for weekly manicures, facials, or massages. Accountability is key to successful behavior change, and spa visits a great reward for making positive decisions throughout the week serve as a pleasant environment for such accountability. Continual encouragement from supportive spa associates can motivate us toward better health through the small changes that add up to major benefits research has shown that a loss of just 10 pounds is enough to yield significant effects on health, sleep, and vitality. In addition, losing those extra pounds subtracts years from our appearance and, subsequently, constitutes the best anti-aging strategy I know.

Skilled exercise physiologists can teach us to reshape our body without surgery by assessing strengths and weaknesses and recommending realistic activity programs that burn calories and add energy and stamina. With exercise balls, bands, and dumb bells, a home strength program combined with walking or cycling can jump-start a weight loss program and ensure that the pounds never come back.

As the trend to include expanded spa capabilities continues, more and more specially trained staff partnering with familiar, trusted spa professionals will be available to address lifestyle issues in the comfort and security of our favorite spas. Wellness is far more than the absence of disease. At its best, it looks and feels terrific. We can achieve true wellness by turning to the professionals we already know and trust. The encouraging and supportive environment of a medical spa may be an ideal place to get back on track and take care of yourself inside and out.

Back to listing