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OPINION


DETOX Ask an expert


The opportunities for aligning with detox are huge, but it’s more than just picking the right treatment say the experts KATIE BARNES, MANAGING EDITOR, SPA BUSINESS


Como Shambhala is one of a handful of luxury spas off ering all-organic food


N


ew year. The time when detox kicks in and people abstain from alcohol or resolve to eat more healthily. Yet technically speaking, detox can be


anything that helps to remove toxins in the body which build-up and lead to numerous problems from harming the endocrine system to even changing the structure of our DNA. The best approach is to prevent the toxins reaching the body to begin with – eating organic food and not frying it in oil which is toxic at high temperatures, avoiding polluted air and drinking fi ltered water. The list is endless and so are the potential (lucrative) business solutions. “With a history of fat farms, fi tness, fasting and being connected with nature and clean water, spas are well positioned to offer detox,” says Marc Cohen, a professor, medical doctor and researcher of complementary medicine and health sciences at Australia’s RMIT University. “The world is becoming a lair of toxicity and the spa industry seems to be the only one taking it seriously – and there’s


room for it to grow and snowball.” But at the moment, he says too many operators are only paying lip service to detox. If spas are going take detox seriously, the menu needs to consist of more than just a one-off colonic. In fact, Cohen says no credible scientifi c studies prove the effi cacy of colonics and there’s a host of other pseudo therapies under the detox umbrella. So how can spas choose the right treatment, or avoid the wrong one? Sceptics such as Edzard Ernst (see p38)


would argue that there’s no proof behind any form of alternative detox treatment. However, that could say more about how under-researched the fi eld is rather than if it does or doesn’t work. Either way, there’s a call for spas that are offering detox to start recording the impact of the treatments. Providing measurable results could put a business ahead of the curve – but what should spas be assessing and how? The offering should be more than just about the treatment too. Cohen says: “Detox is a lifestyle not just a spa treatment”.


36 Read Spa Business online spabusiness.com / digital


Therefore, there’s a need for spas to


provide education – whether for free or sold as a package – about the best ways to detox and avoiding toxicity in the fi rst place. In addition, Cohen says there’s huge potential for aligned products and services such as homecare neutraceuticals, foods, teas or homeware items which present lucrative business opportunities On the topic of avoiding toxicity, could spas


take the same stance as allopathic medics: fi rst do no harm? Are the skincare, cleaning and laundry products they’re using free of chemicals? Are shoes being removed at the threshold to avoid tracking in pesticides and other toxic substances? And what adjust- ments can be made to building materials such as PVC (used in fl ooring, ceiling tiles, carpet backing and pipes) that can release chemical by-products in the water and air? The work of Delos, a US fi rm that’s creating buildings that are healthy for humans, could be of particular interest in this debate and makes for great reading on p28. Here, however, we ask the experts for their views.


Spa Business 1 2014 ©Cybertrek 2014


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