Monday, April 16, 2012

Sustainable Beauty via Slow Beauty

I was recently featured as a guest blogger in SpaRitual founder Shel Pink's new site Slow Beauty... I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Spring is among the greatest testaments to nature's glory.  Wildflowers pepper the sides of hillsides and highways, leaves and fruit blossom from formerly barren trees, and flocks of birds head home once again in their annual journey to escape winter.  It is a natural cycle that even our bodies follow.  During the winter months, we stay indoors, move less, eat our most beloved comfort foods and put up with our dehydrated skin from the cooler, drier temperatures. Instinctually, the arrival of warmer weather drives us to desire more activity, increase the circulation within our bodies leading to sweat and detoxification of stored fat, expel dormant energy and slough off dead skin cells. Whether we realize it or not, our bodies connect with nature the same way plants and all mammals do.  We look to nature for inspiration.

The spa industry has long been driven by this knowledge, mindful of the fact that nature dictates what our bodies need – hence the seasonal treatments and wellness rituals that allow us to reconnect with our bodies the way nature has always intended.  The clarion call for natural products is not a fad; it is an acceptance that true nurturing needs to start with what we put in and on our bodies.  And this all begins with an awareness of the choices we have.

In the last five years, the Green Spa Network has evolved to become nature's cheerleader and one of the biggest proponents of the spa industry.  Inclusive of everyone, it has raised awareness slowly but surely, among those ready to understand how the greener choice – when available, viable, and authentic – can allow us to slow down and capture our true natural essence.  Spas answer the call by offering everything from hammock massages and reflexology paths to light and sound therapy.  LEED-certified spas take this intention to the highest degree – from site selections that optimize public and alternate transportation, designing with energy management in mind, building with recycled and low emitting materials to sourcing local suppliers, utilizing rapidly renewable resources and purposefully developing services and rituals that use the most natural ingredients and conserve water and energy – not to mention, educating and raising eco-consciousness for both staff and guests.  That intention translates to a more sustainable system of operations and a significant reduction in costs without having to necessarily spend more at the onset.  Most importantly, both staff and guests are truly nurtured in the best possible way.

The most majestic creations of nature took time, and so will awareness, commitment and the transition to a healthier lifestyle.  Reconnecting with ourselves and nature, while at the same time being mindful of our choices, leads us down the path of finding true wellness and beauty within.  In essence, we need to stop, slow down and smell the proverbial roses in order for this to take place.  To quote Ferris Bueller, one of my favorite American teen characters, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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