While skincare certainly has much to gain from DNA testing, so, too, do other areas of health and wellness, such as nutrition and physical fitness. At the Ultima Gstaad (Switzerland), guests can benefit from a collaboration with the Aesthetics Clinic, which offers nutrigenetic testing with a saliva sample. The test helps determine what foods a person should consume and avoid. “A lot of chronic diseases and cancer are related to nutrition, and if the patient has a clear map of what he or she should or shouldn’t eat, it will have a serious impact on the patient’s health,” says Xavier Tenorio, M.D., founder of Aesthetics Clinic.
Spa-goers at Cal-a-Vie Health Resort (Vista, CA) have access to advanced blood testing analysis, personalized consultations, and intuitive online health and habit tracking with WellnessFX ($1,575), a technology that helps them measure cardiovascular, metabolic, hormonal, and nutritional health with a simple blood test. Says Kathrin Nikoluss, chief business development officer of Thorne/WellnessFX, “By combining blood, genetic, and microbiome testing, practitioners now have powerful data points to provide recommendations for lifestyle, diet, and nutritional supplements that are specific to each guest.” Neal Kitchen, Ph.D., chief geneticist at HydroPeptide, views such testing as “the next wave of technology that will allow us to improve and optimize our health.”
DNA and genetic testing allow spas to customize programs in new and exciting ways. According to Nikoluss, its popularity is growing as people become more sophisticated in their knowledge of wellness and more comfortable with the technology. “This type of testing can prove which nutritional supplements have benefits for some people but might be harmful for others,” she says. “Vitamin D is a perfect example. We now know that low vitamin D levels alter gene expression—it influences more than 200 genes in our bodies. Knowing your vitamin D levels and associating genes allows you to optimize your levels that are specific and unique to you. It’s a one-size-does-not-fit-all approach. Spas can use this to their competitive advantage, because it allows them to personalize the wellness experience in a very unique way. And it allows for continuing communication and involvement with guests long after they’ve checked out.”
According to Kitchen, there is much to be learned about how the information can be used to improve health. “The important step is to use the DNA testing as a building block for developing treatments and protocols for the client while also acknowledging that DNA tests are best served right now as risk assessments rather than providing a complete understanding of your genetic makeup,” he says.