This week we visit Chateau Elan and their incredible spa.
As everyone's lives become more hectic the spa industry
is returning to its' roots of preventative medicine. Michelle
Ufer-Herold is the Spa director and tells us and shows us
how the industry is still interested in pampering but incorporating
more wellness into the spa. Old standards like facials,
massages, manicures, pedicures and hot stone treatments
are still popular but now added are wellness programs that
include educational seminars, fitness consultations and
This is a gardening show, so Dr. Rick
wonders how plants are involved in a spa. Many wellness
techniques, ranging from aromatherapy, skin care and mental
well being, are often made possible with the use of common
garden plants. Michelle thinks people will be surprised
at the amount of plants and flower extracts used in a spa.
This Resort has a wonderful winery, thus they use a lot
of grape products. Crushed grape seeds are used for exfoliation
and for mud wraps. Roses are used for aesthetic purposes
and a number of other treatments. For example, they have
a warm milk and Rose petal pedicure. Roses are an ingredient
in hand creams and facial products. Lavender is a great
ingredient for soothing skin and for moisturizing dry skin.
Lavender salt scrubs are popular and effective. Lavender
is used in aromatherapy. Even stones are found in spas.
Hot stones are used for facials, in massages, in pedicures,
they help increase circulation and heated stones can be
The Rose, Rosa Scentifolia, in particular,
has vibrant colors and great aromas. Roses and Rose products
are some of the most widely used in a spa. They have many
wellness properties. They are anti viral, they're antiseptic,
they have sedative qualities. Rose oil is a great antidepressant,
great for lifting the spirits. Rose oil is especially effective
in dealing with aging, sensitive or dry skin. For this,
the Rose petal is the part most used. The petals go through
a distilling process that results in the pure Rose oil used
in many treatments, especially Rose oil aromatherapy and
body massage. The distillation process is an extremely long,
tedious process requiring many, many Rose petals to get
even a little bit of oil. Thus, it is not something most
would try at home.
The Rose hand treatment begins with a
misting of Rose water spray. It has a fantastic smell and
sets the mood. Next pure Rose oil, costing about $100 for
a small bottle, is mixed with Rose hand cream and body lotion
and massaged in. The massage activates certain pressure
points, relaxes the muscles and increases circulation. Once
the hands have been massaged with Rose oil and hand cream
they are wrapped in plastic bags, then placed in warm mittens.
This increases circulation, heats the body, opens the pores
and allows the body to absorb all the great benefits of
the Rose. The mittens stay on for 15-20 minutes to help
the product penetrate into the skin. After they're removed
there is a little more massaging, then they're ready to
We next look at a warm milk and Rose petal
pedicure. A sugar, crushed Walnut and oil scrub is used
to slough off dead skin cells and soften the feet. The sugar
provides a little texture, the Walnut also provides friction
and oils. At the end a Rose moisturizer is utilized, leaving
a wonderful scent and great feel.
Grape seeds are the latest fruit utilized
in the skin care industry. Grape seeds are truly food for
the skin. They contain high amounts of antioxidants. Grape
seed polifinals go out and hunt free radicals, things like
UV light, smoke, pollution, things that accelerate aging.
Grape seeds then protect the skin from free radicals. Grape
seeds are crushed very fine, almost like sand and mixed
with grape seed oil. The skin is massaged with this mixture,
it exfoliates the dead skin cells. After applying all over
the body, the crush is removed with a grape seed shower
gel that contains Lavender, which soothes the skin. Next
a grape seed lotion mixed with grape seed oil is applied
to hydrate the skin. This is also good for Collagen production,
it stimulates Collagen synthesis. Collagen is responsible
for keeping skin firm and elastic. By increasing the tone
of the skin, it helps combat wrinkles, thus is effective
in fighting aging.
Sages, or Salvias, thrive in hot, dry
areas. There are about 900 cultivated species but in most
areas one will find only about 50-100 different sizes and
shapes. It is a member of the Mint family and that means
it has square stems and opposite leaves. Their flower is
tubular and has two lips, an upper and bottom lip. Some
of the flowers may be in whirls or spikes others have tight
clusters with many flowers that often appear as one flower.
Salvias come in a variety of heights ranging from one or
two feet tall to seven or eight feet tall. Salvias are drought
tolerant, a good soaking once a month or so will keep them
blooming and looking good. They tend to get a little top
heavy and fall over. A little support, a cord around the
base, something to keep them supported is a good idea. They
attract Butterflies, Bees, even Hummingbirds. Occasionally
snails or slugs can be a problem but baits work well. The
Giant Mexican White Fly in rare cases can be devastating,
they can be found underneath the leaves. Aphids early in
the season can be a concern but a general insecticide can
remedy this problem. Generally Salvias are insect and disease
free, however. Salvias are a wonderful addition to a garden,
they're water efficient and provide a lot of color.
Lavender, Lavendula Agustifolia is a beautiful
herb for the garden and provides a restful presence. When
massed it is particularly beautiful. It is often grown for
aesthetic purposes but it has many properties that promote
wellness. Lavender is antiseptic, it helps heal cuts and
wounds. It's antibacterial. It's calming for irritated or
inflamed skin and it's great for moisturizing dry skin.
It is calming and smells wonderful.
Lavender comes from the word meaning "to
wash." Body exfoliations, utilizing Lavender salt and
Lavender oils, will remove dead skin. As well, Lavender
baths are very relaxing.
A blend of essential oils are burned for
aroma therapy throughout the spa. They are very soothing,
Michelle employs an herbal, linen wrap.
Plants, with essential oils, such as Eucalyptus leaf, Rosemary
leaf, Allspice and Clove are utilized. Linen sheets are
steeped in the mixture, placed in a hydroculator and heated.
The client is wrapped in the saturated, hot sheets for detoxification.
First, however, the client starts with a warm cup of grape
seed antioxidant tea. They are then placed in a steam room,
a sauna, for about 5 minutes. This encourages them to sweat,
their body core temperature warms. When done they're quickly
wrapped in the hot sheets, like a mummy. The body sweats
and the pores open. The client stays in this cocoon for
about 20 minutes, or as long as comfortable, with a cool
rag on the forehead because it gets quite warm. The warmth
and herb mixture helps pull toxins out of the system.
Men need to take time and refresh and
rejuvenate as much as women. To this end, Lavender is popular
in men's facials and found in many men's products. It helps
heal cuts and abrasions and is calming for irritated skin.
After shave herbal water, after shave lotion and men's facial
cremes, all contain Lavender. Lavender is used in the men's
luxury facial. First a foaming facial cleanser, with Lavender
is used. This cleans off surface impurities. A deep pore
cleansing, follows. After that masking is utilized to get
some ingredients back into the skin. Then a massage. To
finish, an after shave and lotion, with Lavender, is applied.
The face feels completely rejuvenated after this process.
Hot stones are one of the oldest, and
still, most popular treatments. The hot, smooth stones are
heated in a crock pot to about 130 degrees. They are then
used in body massages, in facial massages, manicures and
pedicures. The hot stones are good for arthritis in the
hands, they're great for increasing circulation and for
Plants and herbs are important in the
garden and as we've learned today, therapeutic, as well.
We look at some products that use plants. Calendula is used
for skin care, it's a multi-purpose soothing cream for delicate
or sensitive skin. Arnica cream is good for bumps, bruises
and scars. The Elder from Box Elder is used for lightening
skin, skin with problems such as sunspots or pigmentation.
Honey cream is a gentle exfoliator, it's good for ingrown
hairs in the beard. We've talked about Rose and Lavender
and have seen their therapeutic benefits. Dr. Rick thanks
Michelle. He is amazed at the number of garden plants that
used for healing purposes. Thanks Michelle.
Georgia visits with Katie Brown a landscape
designer on the East Coast. We visit a beautiful sea side
garden that Katie designed. This is a garden with very strong
yellows. Yellow is a sunny color, it looks happy and is
great by the water. Katie shows us some tough plants that
thrive by the seaside. Yarrow is stunning as it blows with
the wind. Scotch Broom is beautiful, particularly with the
sun shining on it. Yellow Coreopsis is great because it
has a long season, if deadheaded. That is the secret to
many of these plants - dead head. For example, once the
Coreopsis is finished and the flowers begin to brown, give
it a haircut and it will last most of the season. The Yarrow
and Coreopsis are tough plants, they even do well in drought
Another area in this beautiful landscape
also picks up the yellow and green theme. Katie didn't want
to use traditional plants like Peonies, Roses or Hydrangeas.
She thinks of this area as a more sophisticated landscape.
Here she planted Yucca, Golden Sword. The idea was to play
the yellow Hynoke Cypress against the Green Cryptomeria
and reflect both with the Golden Sword Yucca which has a
green edge and yellow center.
Katie has placed Evergreens in such a
manner as to direct the eye, thus people flow towards the
front door, not the back door. The Evergreens also act as
a privacy screen. They perform multiple functions and are
In another part of the landscape there
is again a yellow theme. This has textured plants such as
Ocuba Japonica, an under used plant in this area, according
to Katie. It looks great all winter. Gold Dust, is utilized
because it stands out in the sun. Katie likes to repeat
plants and colors because that tends to unify a landscape.
Thus the Golden Sword Yucca is used again. Yellow Acuba,
Yellow Spirea, Golden Sword Yucca, all with yellow, look
great with Barbary and Purple Corbels.
Katie has done a wonderful job utilizing
yellow throughout the garden. It is a unifying theme, it
makes one feel good because it is so sunny. Thank you Katie,
your work is stunning.
As relaxing and wonderful as spas are,
there is no way to stay there everyday. There are ways to
bring a beautiful, relaxing, contemplative space into our
backyards. Dr. Rick has some tips on how to create this
First think about healthy plants. If our
plants aren't healthy, if they're not free of disease, they
won't succeed. The most important criteria for healthy plants
is matching the site. Make sure the plant chosen will succeed
in the chosen site. Will the plant succeed in sun, in shade,
Secondly, think about your passions. What
plants make you happy? Make a list of plants that are your
favorites and, if possible, plant those in your garden.
Think about plants that appeal to all
your senses. For example, select plants that have fragrance.
Plants that one can touch like Rosemary or Lavender, provide
interest. Some plants may have fragrance but don't look
great. You may want to plant those further away, but downwind.
Sound in a garden is very important, incorporate
some type of water feature. This could be a slow moving
stream, a babbling brook or a still body of water. These
seem to slow everything down, it creates a sense of restfulness
Texture is also important. Textures that
are fine, leaves that are small, leaves that are dull colored
and leaves that are close together provide a restful feeling.
Coarse textures are more uplifting, more energizing.
Color is the most personal, the most immediate,
the most emotional quality of plants in our garden. Use
cool colors, a lot of purples, greens, blues. They add lushness.
Green is the color of meditation and contemplation. If one
uses a lot of greens, lots of rich foliage and colors, a
peaceful space will be created. It will provide a sense
of unity and harmony. One doesn't want a garden to stick
out, it should fit in and be harmonious with the surroundings.
Blend the colors, forms and textures of
plants in your wellness garden. One way to do that is to
utilize a consistent visual theme. To accomplish this, look
at the edge where the plants touch the turf. The best approach
for a meditative space is a curvilinear theme, something
with undulating forms. The bed lines should go in and out
very gently. They shouldn't be like a snake in the grass
but exhibit bold simple curves. The curvilinear approach
creates an informal, very relaxed, pastoral feeling.
Finally, create this space near your house.
One doesn't want to be carrying food to all corners of the
property. Keep it as close to the normal living space as
Don't forget about creating spaces like
this. As our lives become more hectic, we become more stressed,
we need to cocoon, we need a place to get away and enjoy.
Often we need some time by ourselves. A garden with these
characteristics can be utilized frequently and will provide
Link :: Château
Élan Hotels & Resorts
Back to Top