Stretching beyond yoga and Pilates, clubs are changing the definition of mind-body wellness.
Cutting-edge health clubs from coast to coast are no longer confining their mind-body wellness offerings to Pilates and yoga classes alone. Instead, these innovative clubs are taking an inclusive approach, throwing salon and spa services into the mind-body mix. By doing so, members are given the opportunity to achieve a fully restorative experience, both physically and mentally. For clubs that take this approach, the results can be highly lucrative.
However, what exactly does “mind-body wellness” mean? According to Steffanie Anderson, the yoga and Pilates director for Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) in Newtown, Pa., NAC defines the term as anything that improves members’ lives by helping them balance their day through mindful movement that nourishes the body, mind and spirit.
A few years ago, NAC’s members may have taken a Pilates and yoga class and found that was enough to nourish their “body, mind and spirit.” Nowadays, they have the option of making a stop at NAC’s Urban Allure Salon & Spa on their way out the door. There, they’ll find a number of additional wellness offerings, including facials, massages, sunless tanning and more.
According to Kimberly Levins, the director of Urban Allure Salon & Spa, spa services encourage relaxation, stress release and relief from the “tedium” of daily life, and are a complement to mind-body classes. “A better life is a life which achieves success in all seven dimensions of wellness and we try very hard to promote this success with every service we offer,” she said.
Urban Allure Salon & Spa’s doors are likely the first things members see when they enter the club. In 2011, NAC renovated the entire salon, to improve the aesthetics of the space — a wise investment. According to Jim Worthington, the president and owner of NAC, the spa brought in around $1.2 million in revenue in 2013.
As a result of both the spa and NAC’s expansive Pilates and yoga offerings, mind-body wellness has become a major attraction. “There is absolutely no question that having great mind-body offerings is attractive to prospects and members,” explained Anderson. “In the last few decades the popularity of mind-body has caught fire, resulting in more and more people seeing the obvious benefits and joys of participating in these classes. These offerings are just one more way of tending to the needs and desires of our members and ultimately the community, by bringing in people who may not ordinarily join a health club, and balancing out the programming.”
Although NAC’s mind-body wellness portfolio has grown over the years, some clubs have been mind-body focused from the get-go. This includes Zenergy Health Club & Spa in Ketchum, Idaho. “Mind-body is really the basis of the club,” said Kerry Samudio, the marketing director for Zenergy. “The mind-body connection is what Zenergy is all about.”
In addition to a full-service salon and spa, Zenergy Health Club & Spa boasts a variety of mind-body classes such as Pilates, yoga and even a group cycling class called Rythmatic Meditation, which combines cycling with meditation.
“The mind-body offerings at Zenergy are really the icing on the cake,” said Samudio. “Often times, individuals are not exposed to (or aware of) the benefits of mind-body practice. Many members and clients attend what they expect to be a traditional indoor cycling class — they consistently return once they have experienced the restorative value added through training the mind in this meditative state.”
To encourage cross over between Zenergy’s salon and health club, customers who participate in an hour-long spa service are considered health club members for the day. After their appointment, they can use any of the health club’s services, including the indoor and outdoor pool, café or participate in a group exercise class. “This sets members up for a full day of health and fitness,” said Samudio.
This is beneficial for both the client and Zenergy. “The goal is to offer the overall experience to each individual, understanding that everyone’s needs are different,” explained Samudio. “A client coming in for a massage, acupuncture, or any other spa service, is able to enhance their treatment by participating in a cardio workout, a swim, a yoga class, or simply relaxing in the Jacuzzi or eucalyptus steam room. The two-fold benefit of this is to expose non-members to the full benefits of all that Zenergy Health Club & Spa has to offer.”
A full day of health and fitness is something that members of boutique yoga and Pilates studios are unable to take advantage of. The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers recognized this, and has invested in both a mind-body studio and Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa, to compete against small studios and salons.
“Previously, many people purchased additional yoga or barre classes at smaller boutique studios on top of their health club membership,” explained Caitlin Callebs, the marketing and PR assistant for Chelsea Piers. “We now offer members this programming, along with all the amenities and equipment of a state-of-the-art health club facility.”
In 2013, the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa opened at The Sports Center to positive reviews. “The space is inviting and very comfortable,” said Paul Labrecque, the owner. “We have assembled a talented team of experts in all areas of the beauty business, offering unique and results-driven treatments. We also carry amazing retail items including La Mer, the Paul Labrecque Hair care lines, Biologique Recherche products, lovely candles, gift items and more.”
All in all, the Sports Center has recognized the growing popularity of mind-body wellness — both spa and class offerings — and capitalized on the opportunity.
“In today’s environment of so many customized and unique fitness programs to choose from, it means sports facilities and clubs like Chelsea Piers need to have specialized areas and programs that appeal to clients who are looking for that exact type of targeted exercise and focused workout,” said Labrecque. “The mind-body offerings help give these facilities extra appeal.”
By Rachel Zabonick