Many spas are making a concerted effort to impart "green,"
or environmentally sound, strategies to help conserve the Earth's
rapidly dwindling natural resources and improve the health of the
strategies include renovating with environmentally friendly building
materials; conserving energy with smart or solar lighting; implementing
water-reclamation areas and organic kitchens; using organic product
lines; supporting local agriculture; and installing non-chemically-treated
carpeting and furniture.
Alexander, a massage therapist and spa director of Napa Valley's
Harvest Inn Resort in Napa, California, is co-founder of a new program
founded to discourage wasteful habits and inspire sustainability.
Healing the Waters was inspired by an impassioned speech given by
Deborah Szekely, co-founder of the Golden Door and Rancha la Puerta
spas, during 2002's ISPA conference. The Rancho la Puerta resort
and spa in Tecata, Mexico, has been run with green principles for
the past 64 years.
left that conference knowing there is a lot of good intentions, but
no one who would bring it together," says Alexander. After the
conference, she contacted spa consultant and massage therapist Larry
Dean and the two founded Healing the Waters.
to Dean, the project's goals are in sync with the spa industry.
"We saw that the waters of the world are in great jeopardy,"
he says, "and since the spa industry has traditionally been
the keepers of the sacred sites of healing, it was natural for the
industry to take on healing the waters."
group, which has 12 active members, prepared a panel presentation
for ISPA's 2004 conference in November 2004. "Hopefully next
year we will be more fully organized as a resource network for the
entire spa industry," Alexander says.
what better industry to soothe, nurture and replenish Mother Earth
than the one whose constant goal is to heal individuals, one client
at a time?
green spa model can be found on display at Thomas Worrell Jr.'s
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa in Taos, New Mexico. Approximately
$500,000 has been invested in a complex water-recycling and purification
system, known as the Living Machine.
Living Machine, which is open to guests during tours, has been designed
to allow filtered wastewater through a pool rich with fish, plant
roots and other natural, breathing cleansers. Treated water is showcased
in Biolarium Spaces, luscious botanical gardens that harmoniously
integrate architecture and ecology.
Director Amy McDonald explains the resort's ecological philosophy.
"The name - Living Resort and Spa - reflects all the
tropical plant life inside the spa," she explains. "The
floor has water flowing throughout the spa, we use radiant heat
and no air conditioning." The resort is heated by the circulating
warm water and in hotter months the interior is cooled by water
walls found throughout the spa, including in each treatment room.
whole philosophy is to show people it's possible to develop and
live comfortably without damaging the environment," Worrell
several spas, green practices are already in place. For example,
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has set high ecological standards
since 1990, through its Green Partnership Program. Its Willow Stream
spas encourage waste management, water and energy conservation,
and sustainability worldwide, according to spokesperson Lori Holland.
And the Four Seasons resort in Santa Barbara makes a concerted effort
to use indigenous, locally grown and cultivated products for spa
and restaurant usagefor example, only locally harvested avocado,
citrus and lavender are used by the spa, says spokesperson Rodney
Gould. Using locally produced products is considered a green practice
as it uses less packaging and ozone-depleting chemicals in its transportation.
Zimmerman, editor of the environmental publishing firm of AZ Sunshine
Publishers, Inc., has great faith in the future of green partnerships
worldwide. He is on ISPA's board of directors and is leading its
task force on greening the spa industry." He, too, was moved
by Szekely's speech.
then, people were doing individual things but there was never a
global perspective on it," he says. "[The speech] served
as a catalyst to more discussions on greening."