Spa Treatments: Detox Programs

Find out how five different day spas are restoring wellness through multistep, comprehensive detox programs that help clients feel and look better—from the inside out.

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In today’s prepackaged,polluted, pharmaceuticals-popping world, detoxification services are proving more popular than ever. And though complex detox programs—those that incorporate nutrition, supplements, in-spa treatments and more—have long been mainstays of destination wellness spas, today’s day spas are hopping on the wellness-overhaul wagon, too. Whether your clients seek to lose weight, or simply rid their bodies of harmful toxins that leave them feeling less than their best, your spa can help them achieve their goals. Need proof? Read on to meet day spa pros who have found smashing success via comprehensive detox programs.

Alternative Health

Southwick and East Hampton, MA; East Hartford, CT

At all-natural wellness center Alternative Health, which has grown to three locations since its 1999 inception, CEO John Hoime has designed detox programs to address “every autoimmune deficiency known to man”—and regularly helps clients achieve goals that range from maintaining general well-being to addressing the effects of cancer. He begins with a phone or in-person consultation to review medical issues and ask clients about everything from stress levels to hormones, before deciding what will benefit each individual. Programs may last for one week or up to six months, depending on clients’ concerns and degree of commitment, and may include supplements, ionization detox, body wraps, ear candling and more.

Throughout each program, clients are kept on track via weekly meetings where Alternative Health pros measure key stats such as body fat percentage and hydration levels—and help correct any missteps. “We lay out what foods to eat and to avoid, and call each client every day to provide guidance as her health evolves,” explains Hoime. “We act as constant motivators, educators, coaches and cheerleaders.”

Like many detox devotees, Hoime is his own success story: In the ’90s, sick with Candida, he met with Dr. Linda T. Nelson, founder of M’lis, and became well with her guidance; he has now lived free from medications for 14 years, and turns to M’lis products and supplements to help his clients detoxify. Hoime admits that it can be tough to find compassionate employees who share his enthusiasm for learning all about the human body, and getting and staying healthy themselves—but knows that qualified staff members ultimately help contribute to his centers’ impressive local reputation. Though Hoime participates in occasional seminars and local events, referrals make up 95% of his business. “We work with chiropractors—a lot of physicians don’t believe in holistic wellness,” he says. “It’s when people become sick and tired of taking medicine that they come and see us.”

Hoime believes that the complete package of services—not a single wrap, cleanse or supplement cycle, but many parts offered at the right time and working in tandem—is what makes his programs successful. Hoime’s business claims a 95% success rate (and he notes that some clients have been loyal for 10 years), though it’s a challenge to keep clients motivated after they experience initial improvements.“The biggest task, once they’re healthy, is to keep them from returning to old habits or trying quick fixes,” he explains.“The goal is lifestyle change; we simply develop programs that allow the body to heal itself.”

Jamie's Therapeutic Touch Day Spa

Palestine, TX

For spa owners who want to ramp up or launch their own arsenal of detox offerings, Jamie Pettiette-Rhone, owner of Jamie’s Therapeutic Touch Day Spa, suggests soliciting feedback from clients—asking what they want that you don’t already offer. Perhaps that’s part of the reason her spa provides a veritable litany of detoxifying services and take-home options, including Advocare detox kits and weight-loss pills, infrared dry saunas, body wraps, aqua foot detox, Pressotherapy machine therapy and lymphatic massage. A nurse and doctor on staff help determine the best option or package for each client, depending on her goals, and then help monitor her progress.

“Most seek weight-loss along with detoxification, so we can suggest a cleanse, body wraps, our VibraTrim machine, energy drinks, multivitamins, natural supplements or even weight-loss injections,” explains Pettiette-Rhone. “We enter all of the details into our spa software and encourage clients to buy packages, for which we print out gift certificates that list individual program components as a helpful reminder.”

Keeping clients on track is always a challenge, but the staff at Jamie’s engages in daily, and creative, motivation tactics. Because recipients of the sauna package, for example, often end up coming in every day to use the spa’s facilities, staff can check in and monitor individuals’ progress in person. Meanwhile, Facebook specials and contests motivate new and returning clients to lose weight. For last year’s “The Biggest Winner” competition, the spa charged $25 to compete for the title. The person who shed the most weight received a full day of wellness at the spa valued at $500; a second-place winner scored half of the money in the signup pot.

Of course, success is a great motivator. Pettiette-Rhone reports that clients who follow the prescribed program lose an average of five to 20 pounds per month. “If they’re coming in and doing what we ask, they lose weight and feel better; if they cheat, they won’t get the results they want,” she says. “But we’ve had clients who have lost 50 to 100 pounds, so word of mouth is huge—when clients are losing, they’re so excited.”

The New You Body Wraps & Wellness Spa

Utica, MI

Lisa Jendza is a self-proclaimed “overweight smoker turned raw foodie” who initially opened her spa as a way to see a full detox program come to life, via the services from which she benefitted throughout her own detoxing process: mineral body wraps, sauna, vibration therapy and lymphatic drainage massage.

With a holistic nurse and a vegan chef on staff, Jendza has been able to coach clients through not only weight-loss quests, but intensive detoxification and lifelong maintenance. She has even launched her own line of organic, aloe-based skin detox products, Skin & Tonic. “We all want our hair, skin and nails to look good, but not everything can be done topically,” she says. “Detoxing programs are a way for spas to help women reverse the passage of time, internally.”

At The New You Body Wraps & Wellness Spa, the 10 Day Detox (based around whole foods and vegetable juices, smoothies, shakes and soups) kick-starts clients’ efforts through supplied menus, recipes, a Facebook support group, one-on-one coaching from staff, plus three sauna visits, use of the spa’s Power Plate machine, a heat wrap with lymph drainage and a mineral body wrap. Afterward, the client can participate in a three-month maintenance program, which includes a 30-minute consultation with New You’s nurse, monthly cooking classes with the chef, sauna visits, one wrap per month and more. Coaching has always been a substantial part of the getting-well process for Jendza and her clients, though she has had to make adjustments along the way. “I used to teach classes at my spa for no charge, and that was a huge lesson for me—I found that if I don’t charge, people don’t take it seriously and don’t show up regularly,” recalls Jendza. “Now, $405 of our $495 package goes to spa treatments; the fact that clients are paying gives our coaching more credence, and leads to greater demand.”

With sensitivity to a clientele that consists mainly of females in their 40s to 60s, therapists shy away from subjecting everyone to a lengthy consultation; instead, they use conversation to find out what clients truly seek. A guest may simply want a single body wrap to slim down for a special event, but if a therapist finds out during the service that she’s looking for more, she can recommend the detox program—with the caveat that it requires commitment. “We don’t push anyone, and some aren’t ready to commit to a huge life change,” notes Jendza. “But all of the people who come in see at least some results, and our maintenance program teaches clients to think about their health differently over the long run.”

Provence Wellness Center

New York City

Since opening shop in midtown Manhattan in July 2011, Provence Wellness Center has offered clients a range of services from reiki and reflexology to facials and massages. But its point of differentiation from many spas—and its biggest seller—lies in colonic hydrotherapy. “The core of our services is detoxification, and you can’t get a deeper detox than a colonic,” notes Nancy Tran, a manager at Provence. “Our most popular detoxing treatment is our colonic session, after which our therapist suggests an appropriate plan of action—such as a liver cleanse, Candida diet, specific foods to avoid, etc.—to further the client’s detoxing goals.”

Many clients come to the spa before or after undergoing juice cleanses, or in search of a first step toward detoxification. Therapists answer questions and quiz clients about their goals and current ailments, but the spa doesn’t promote itself as an answer to weight-loss, as colonics alone aren’t a sustainable or healthy way to lose weight. (However, clients do report feeling lighter and boasting flatter abs afterward.)

Provence offers two types of colonics, the gravity method and pressure method, both of which utilize closed systems for an odorless procedure. The therapist remains with the client for the entire service, and advises the client about when to come in again. The spa’s therapists contend that, to reap proper detox, clients should receive at least three colonic sessions, so the spa offers a “package of three” special. Overall, clients are advised to receive quarterly procedures, visiting according to seasonal changes in diet. To help spread the word, the spa has partnered with Organic Avenue, a nearby juice bar, as colonics are recommended to help clients get the most out of juice cleanses.

Tran acknowledges that the procedure poses challenges; namely, the squeamish factor—a lot of clients aren’t going to talk about the service to anyone but their closest friends. (This does, however, ensure that potential clients are likely to trust a referral.) Overall though, clients’ results have been positive—from effecting more regular digestion to helping to prevent illness—and Provence remains hyperaware of the spa’s own reputation as a major selling point. “Our therapists are I-ACT-certified [International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy is the field’s foremost organization] and have at least five years’ experience, and many of our referrals come from holistic doctors,” notes Tran. “We also share space with a holistic doctor, an acupuncturist and a naturopath. Great reviews on Yelp have also helped boost word of mouth—we even have a blog run by one of our clients!”

Balance Studio Spa

Felton, CA

Melissa Stone, a 10-year spa owner and longtime yoga teacher, offers a diverse array of detox avenues at her serene oasis in the Santa Cruz Mountains. On tap are Set-N-Me-Free aloe and mud treatments, old-fashioned mustard seed wraps, infrared saunas, ionic foot detox, a juicing program and more. Their common thread? All have done wonders for Stone throughout her own quest for internal healing.

“I always use myself as a guinea pig,” she explains. “I’ll try something until I’ve mastered it before adding it to the menu.” For instance, prior to unveiling The Balance Cleanse ($99), a seven-day juicing package, earlier this year, Stone not only spent five years experimenting with various juicing programs, but also consulted with high-profile juicing and nutrition pioneer, the late Jack LaLanne, about her plans.

Because Stone founded Balance Studio as a holistic wellness center based around the healing powers of food and herbs, her juicing program includes vitamin supplements and 24/7 guidance via Skype and email. For those guests using the program as a vehicle for weight-loss, Stone also offers compatible hypnosis webinars, yoga workouts, meditation CDs and inspirational reading.

Another popular weight-loss offering involves 30-minute infrared sauna sessions, plus 45 minutes spent in heated Set-N-Me-Free wraps. Clients plagued by colds and joint pain also flock to Stone, who covers ailing body parts with a mustard seed/aloe mixture and then envelops guests in a cloud of eucalyptus. “It’s a powerful remedy most don’t know about,” she says.

Considering Stone mandates that her healers receive 90-plus days of extensive training in detoxification and nutrition before working with clients, she’s one busy spa pro. And as a frequent wellness guest on local radio programs—she has discussed meditation, body image, smoking cessation and juicing on-air—clients frequently contact her with health-related questions.

“I’m ‘on’ 24/7,” Stone says. “But finding new and better ways to feel good and detox is so fun. I meet and learn from great people and witness powerful transformation, so this doesn’t feel like work to me—I know it’s what I’m supposed to be doing.”