Q & A with Leah Strohecker, spa director at L'Auberge Del Mar (CA)

Leah StroheckerMeet Leah Strohecker, spa director at Spa L'Auberge at L'Auberge Del Mar (CA).

How many years have you been involved in the spa/hospitality industry?

I have been involved in the industry for 12 years.

What was the path that led you into the spa industry? 

I was drawn to massage therapy because of the positive effects it has physically, mentally, and emotionally on people. Who doesn’t want to make someone feel better?

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My eight-year-old son, he is always happy and continues to make me laugh.

Where do you think the industry is heading?

This industry is growing with leaps and bounds. Spa is no longer a luxury but a necessity with focus in overall well-being. We are finding that alternative health solutions and preventive measures are leading to healthier and long-lasting results. Hotels, hospitals, grocery stores, and other major markets are making changes to incorporate more positive, relaxing experiences to deal with the populations everyday stressors, and what better leaders to follow then the spa industry itself.

What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?

When I was therapist, I once had a guest ask if I could hum to her a particular song throughout the duration of the entire massage. I thought it was odd at first, but once I learned that her mother used to sing it to her when she was having a bad day, I understood and asked no further questions. Just knowing that I could be there for her in a time of need made me feel honored.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?

I don’t know if I would call this a treatment, but My Laughing Yoga class was definitely a different experience. Seriously, it was one of the best classes I have ever participated in. The yoga instructor teaches you how to laugh from your gut and we all take turns practicing laughing from our diaphragms—you can’t help but laugh at everyone else’s laugh—and next thing you know it’s this contagious laughter that can’t be stopped. I was crying. One lady had to run to the restroom. It was such a positive uplifting class. I highly recommend it to everyone.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

I love massage and heat treatments. I would say an 80-minute hot stone massage is my go-to spa treatment—50 minutes is never enough.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

For the body, pure cocoa butter and for my face, I love the OSEA Black Algae Mask—it’s amazing!

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I am a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan—face paint and all. And my favorite movie of all time is Dumb and Dumber.

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?

Being a massage therapist has made me appreciate all kinds of people and what the power of giving can really do.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?

I would love to have Jimmy Fallon's job. It looks like its 100 percent fun.

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?  

Laugh and surround yourself with positive people.—Compiled by Jessica Morrobel