INNOVATIVE SPA PROGRAM AIDS VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Preston Wynne Spa is one of the most relaxing places in the Silicon Valley. Guests visit the award-winning day spa to escape the stress and anxiety of the 'real world' with nurturing body treatments, massage therapy, and expert skin care. Lights are dim, soothing music plays and heavenly aromas fill the air. It's about as far removed from the painful reality of domestic violence as one could get.

'Which is exactly why we've started the Healing Touch Project,' says Peggy Wynne Borgman, founder and director of the 18 year old Saratoga Village spa. Healing Touch is conceived as a way to raise funds for Next Door, a Santa Clara non-profit which provides critical services and shelter for victims of domestic violence. But the program is far from an ordinary fund-raiser.
Here's how it works: customers of the spa (or any interested party) can 'sponsor' a guest or guests from Next Door's program, who are then able to come to Preston Wynne and enjoy a treatment of their choice. The basic sponsorship is $85. Next, the proceeds, less spa employee compensation, are donated to Next Door. So each donation will go to benefit the organization as well as an individual victim.

'Spa treatments can help victims of domestic violence on several levels,' explains Borgman. 'First, they're treated with great respect. They're welcomed by warm, friendly people to a peaceful sanctuary. Then they enjoy the healing benefits of spa treatments. During their spa treatment, they experience therapeutic touch in a deeply positive way. This can help them re-connect with their bodies after trauma.'

Borgman dislikes the word 'pampering' used to describe spa treatments.

''Pampering' just sounds so frivolous,' she explains. 'Spa treatments have an array of very profound benefits. Stress relief is obviously a huge benefit, but another benefit is enhancement of self esteem. We think spa treatments can have lasting benefits for women who have been in an abusive relationship.'
'The power of healing touch can't be underestimated,' she contends.

Next Door's services include a 24 hour emergency shelter, a 24 hour hotline and emergency response, a Family Violence Center, individual and group counseling for women and children, in-school education and intervention services, legal services and a certified Batterer's Intervention Program. Like all non-profits that have been hit hard by California's economic downturn, Next Door must rely increasingly on community and private support.
Two weeks of shelter, food and services for one victim cost Next Door $710. Food and personal supplies for the entire shelter's residents for a month costs $2,200. Borgman is confident that programs like Preston Wynne's Healing Touch Project can make a significant difference.

'I think businesses in the wellness sector, like spas, have a special imperative to contribute to organizations that are battling domestic violence. It's a massive public health crisis in the US,' explains Borgman. 'And it's all around us, whether we recognize it or not.'

Contact Preston Wynne Spa at (408) 741-5525, or via e mail at [email protected] Visit the spa's website at www.prestonwynnespa.com. Anyone can make a donation to the Healing Touch Project via phone or e mail.