Healthy By Design

As the baby boom generation moves into its prime, people are more concerned about leading healthier lives, and thus eco-friendly green living is growing steadily. Spas and their contribution to health and wellness are part of this lifestyle. It's no surprise, then, that lifestyle communities, which stress healthy living choices and often offer spa components, are developing throughout the world. This trend emphasizes the importance of embracing environmental philosophies in spa planning and is one reason why biodynamic spa development, which incorporates natural processes and the laws of nature, is something all spas should consider.

 The view from the Relaxation Lounge at Sundara Spa connects spa-goers with the outside.
The view from the Relaxation Lounge at Sundara Spa connects spa-goers with the outside.

Kanaya, a green condominium development in Sarasota, FL, is a prime example of successful green development. The seven pillars of health—clean air, clear light, exercise, good nutrition, internal peace, pure water, and rest—are utilized to promote a naturally oriented and balanced lifestyle for residents. Humidistats, positive ventilation and filtration systems, and non-toxic building materials were used to create the complex. Cork is used beneath the hardwood floors to reduce noise, and solar heat is used to heat the pool.

Loreto Bay in Loreto, Baja Mexico, is touted as one of the biggest sustainable projects on the planet and is another example of effective green integration. Recently, The Trust for Sustainable Development from British Columbia, Loreto Bay's development company, and an Arizona contractor constructed Shoal Point, an area containing the first 100 homes. Future plans include a series of seaside villages introducing car-free neighborhoods with homes featuring natural cooling and ventilation as well as solar power and waste reduction programs. The villages will include biodynamic spas and organic farming nearby.

The architecture of the property, such as this pergola leading to the pool at Sundara Spa, lends itself to the towering pines and wide expanses of blue sky.
The architecture of the property, such as this pergola leading to the pool at Sundara Spa, lends itself to the towering pines and wide expanses of blue sky.

A component of these growing communities is the belief that a truly green environment offers a better way to live. They are attracting people who want to live cleaner, healthier lives. This philosophy permeates through the lifestyle choices available in such communities. Breeding grounds for consumers who demand sustainable standards in all of their purchases and activities, including their spas, these communities are part of the rapidly growing consumer base that practices Lifestyles of Health And Sustainability (LOHAS). Members of such communities consider themselves not only people of style but also people of substance.

Spa Living

A healthy lifestyle is also being promoted as part of the housing options offered at some spas. Canyon Ranch (Tucson, AZ), Red Mountain Spa (St. George, UT), and Sundara Spa (Wisconsin Dells, WI) are all selling spa living. Spa owners looking to embrace the green philosophy on a smaller scale should keep in mind the practices these spas employ in the creation of their spa living locales. The first step should be to address health at its core, from the ground it's built on and up. A healthy environmental space is vital for good health. It starts with the site and its orientation to light, microclimate, and the seasons. Product integrity for both building and treatments in the spa is paramount. Renewable energy and ethical sourcing should help feed rather than deplete the environment. Health and safety, as well as a valued workforce, help create economic sustainability by providing a continuous flow of value through cost management and lean thinking. Philanthropic activities also create an energy that weaves its way into all of the programs and operations. Taking environmental responsibility and using life cycles for development and operation can transform the spa into a naturally balanced space that protects the body, nourishes the mind, and heals the spirit.

The infinity-edge pool at Sundara Spa is heated year-round and blends seamlessly with the surrounding ecosystem.
The infinity-edge pool at Sundara Spa is heated year-round and blends seamlessly with the surrounding ecosystem.

Sundara Spa is taking spa living home with the new Sundara Spa Lifestyle Villas. The eight villas are designed with biodynamic spa principles in mind. They are tucked away in the tranquil woods gently encircling Sundara Inn & Spa, blending beautifully with the local ecosystem. The views are awe-inspiring, from waterfalls and winding garden paths to towering pines and verdant rolling hills of the adjacent championship golf course. Each villa has a soothing palette of bronzes, creams, and greens, and each is fully furnished in a style best described as artfully relaxing. Indoor and outdoor living spaces have been designed utilizing the principles of feng shui to promote harmony and balance. The gourmet kitchen is a gathering place for chef-imparted knowledge on organic cuisine. Nestled between each of the side-by-side villas is a Spa Bathhouse with massage tables for two and a wall of glass to let both sunlight and starlight in. A menu of spa services has been developed exclusively for the villas with the goal of helping guests live a life in balance. Adjoining the Spa Bathhouses are private open-air Spa Gardens with a stone reflexology path leading to a cascading outdoor shower and aromatic cedar hot soaking bath for use year-round, even through the frigid Wisconsin winters. At the core of this development is sustainability. The surrounding natural resources and the wildlife that inhabit it have been carefully preserved. The villas make dramatic use of natural light and airflow and use luxurious, renewable materials crafted with great respect to the environment and the principles that define Sundara's aesthetic sensibilities.

Healing the Waters
Healing the Waters

Today's society is so bombarded with electronic stimuli that natural energy emitted from various life forms has become distorted. Biodynamics helps channel natural energy into a positive direction to help the internal systems rebalance and energize naturally. The benefits of biodynamic development, coupled with the potential of eco-loving spa-goers, makes it a lucrative, earth-friendly option for spas to consider.—Eva M. Jensch

Eva M. Jensch has 25 years of experience creating and operating spas and health resorts both nationally and internationally as a spa owner and as principal of Spa Concepts International (Sonoma, CA). A frequent lecturer at national trade events, Jensch has chaired workshops and hosted seminars for various spas. Visit www.spaconcepts.com or e-mail her at [email protected].

Suggested Articles

In honor of the brand’s 30th anniversary, Murad’s fist-of-its-kind activation aims to unlock a healthy lifestyle.

The brand believes everyone deserves to express themselves through color and it’s a step towards breaking down negative stereotypes.


It's imperative to ensure your therapists are feeling their best at work. Here are a few ways you can support them.