Green Valley Spa was established in 1986 by Alan & Carole Coombs. Carole, a Master Esthetician, has been called the “Grandmother of Spas” and has worked in the spa business for more than thirty years. Carole has played a vital role in the development of the Green Valley Spa and the Green Valley Laboratories where all of the products used at the spa are manufactured.
Green Valley Resort & Spa caters to guests from the U.S. and around the globe. It has been named 3rd best Spa in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine. I had the chance to ask Carole about Green Valley Spa, and some of products that are made from ingredients harvested directly from the nutrient-rich red rock country in Utah where the spa is located.
JHR: Last night I took a bath with your Sweet Dreams Fairy Dust and I was so relaxed I almost slipped into a coma. Do you think you should have a warning label on the package that says “may delight and relax you into oblivion?” What’s the secret?
CC: That’s a good question. Our bath salts contain ancient sea salts in powdered form that were fossilized a long time ago and now offer a full spectrum of mineralized elements that we need to operate at a top level. When used before and after physical activities, our bath salts can lighten and strengthen muscles and other tissues crucial to mobility, flexibility, and reflex response capabilities.
Our Fairy Dust Bath Salts come in seven colors and are a testament to our color therapy philosophy in which every color offers a different healing power with a special blend of pure essential oils. How do you choose a color? By your mood, of course.
Red — For a romantic evening, to enliven the senses and turn the heart toward magical moments of affection and delight.
Orange — To celebrate life’s special moments and to arouse warm feelings and bridge the space that holds us apart from others.
Yellow –- Clears troublesome thoughts and mental confusion, while pulling the past into the light of day where new possibilities appear.
Green –- Helps prepare for a busy day or lively evening while energizing tired muscles and reviving the spirit.
Blue –- A heart remedy that chases away the blues and discouragement for emotional stability.
Indigo –- A sleeping potion for peaceful dreams and visions.
Violet –- Reaches into the spiritual realm and appeals to artistic and creative endeavors.
JHR: Your Good Medicine product line comes straight from the red rock country of Southwestern Utah . Can you tell me how you discovered the rejuvenative properties of the ingredients you use?
CC: In the beginning, our Green Valley research team began hunting for ingredients that would not only beautify the skin’s precious surface, but also allow the body’s natural systems to function fully to release toxic waste, absorb nutrients, activate the cell’s innate ability to rejuvenate, and enliven the sensory components.
Our team was composed of a plastic surgeon, an ethno-botanist, a consultant specializing in organic formulations, highly-trained therapists, and Native Americans, among others. Their discoveries eventually led us back to the wild plant life in our local, red rock desert. We call our skin care line “Good Medicine,” which is a term used by the Indian Nations to describe anything that uplifts the spirit and brings pleasure and wholesome nourishment. We thought it was fitting.
Our Good Medicine products include extracts of desert botanicals, such as Larrea, Sage, Juniper, and Yucca. These plants grow in the wild, are nurtured by sunlight and rain, remain free of many harsh chemical substances so prevalent in plant life today, and are neither crossbred, chemically fertilized or even irrigated. This is why we say our skin care products are “wildcrafted” straight from nature.
Because our products are made with organic ingredients, they not only neutralize toxic waste materials, but their nutritive properties are easily broken down and assimilated by our cells. We gather our desert ingredients locally, combine and prepare them in our on-site laboratory, and then bottle them with loving care to preserve their beneficial properties. Every Green Valley Spa product is fresh with no preservatives.
A variety of our products include aqueous extractions from native plants that grow in the nearby foothills and uplands of the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts . These plants include Utah Juniper (Juniperus utahensis), Banana Yucca (Yucca baccatta), Larrea (Larrea tridentada) and Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentada). Gathered from their native habitat, the raw botanical materials retain their natural qualities and are truly organic.
Some of our products, including the Breeze, Radiance, Sand and Clarity products from our Good Medicine line, consist of compounds extracted from Larrea –- often called Chapparal. These compounds, including Nordihydroguiaretic Acid (NDGA), are powerful antioxidants and have been found to have strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and even anti-protozoan properties. While the healing properties of these Larrea compounds have only recently come to light in modern medicine, its traditional Native American use is thousands of years old.
NDGA is actually one of the most highly antioxidant substances known to man –- a concentrated extract form of the plant may immensely help several types of tumors, and it can inhibit several enzyme reactions, including lipo oxyginase, which is responsible for some unhealthy inflammatory and immune-system responses. It has also been shown to reduce inflammatory histamine responses in the lung, which is good news for asthma sufferers.
JHR: What sort of experience can people can expect when they visit Green Valley Spa?
CC: Our vision for the Green Valley Spa Treatment Center was a place where the senses combine to create that magical state within ourselves. The process used here at Green Valley is really very simple: It is a total sensory experience, one that uses the senses as a guide to discover that special condition of lightness and clarity. It is simple because it just happens — the senses respond and carry us along without our having to figure out or understand the process. We simply feel.
Each day we refashion the Treatment Center with fresh flowers, aromatics, music and even subtly-flavored and scented water to tantalize and impress the senses. All the sounds, images, smells, and tastes correspond to a certain color that represents a quality or dimension of life around us — one we may not have noticed or experienced before.
As the senses respond with pleasure, they bring impulses of delight deep into the innermost part of ourselves, dissolving all that is tense and tight into a condition of repose, resolution, satisfaction and contentment. We hope a Green Valley Spa visit will leave you feeling fit and full — like a vase filled with special moments that continue to bloom long after you leave. When you see a craggy mountain top rising above the desert floor or a flower brushed with dew, I hope you will remember with affection and delight the walks, majestic moments, and the colors, smells and tastes you experienced here.
JHR: Have there been any surprise “big sellers” in your product line and what’s your current favorite?
CC: Along the way, we have had several best-sellers that surprised us all. Two such products that really took off are our Muscle Balm and Essential Oils. Our Muscle Balm is infused with intense, muscle-heating pure essential oils to rejuvenate sore joints and muscles. These carefully chosen oils target the nerve tissues and effectively heal and warm the affected area.
Our Essential Oils come in all colors of the rainbow and are created around the spa’s color therapy philosophy as explained above. Our studies indicated that essential oils differ in molecular structure and metabolic function, and when blended together, the activation of multiple response centers simultaneously is much greater than that of single oils.
Our essential oils fulfill a particular function, which include sedating the respiratory rate or stimulating the rapid response mechanism. Each special blend recharges receptor patterns where they are disengaged or blocked, and clarifies emotional upset and mental confusion to make way for new insight and understanding.
JHR: What is true beauty?
CC: When we see aliveness, we see true beauty.
JHR: What are a few books that have influenced you in your life that you would like to share with readers?
CC: Anything by John O’Donohue – Anam Cara, Eternal Echoes and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.
Visit Green Valley Spa’s online beauty store, www.goodmedicineshop.com, to receive 25% off all green-colored essential oils, soaps, Fairy Dust bath salts and bath teas in celebration of Spring renewal. Discount is good through April 30, 2009.