There is no better place to visit this time of year than sunny Aspen, Colorado. Nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountain range, Aspen is like traveling to other parts of the world without leaving the Unites States. My birthplace was Colorado, and growing up in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, I feel home no place like the small towns of the high Rockies. This was however wasn't just a vacation, but a trip of a lifetime meant to move my consciousness into the world of Spas and Wellness from around the world.
So a little background. Three years ago I became part of an amazing team of local and successful business partners who envisioned a resort lodge and holistic wellness spa at the foothills of the North Cascade Highway, or the Mountain Loop, right out of the small town of Granite Falls that we live in. Granite Falls is a bedroom community, urban sprawl of Seattle, but it's like that small town that hasn't moved forward much, since logging and mining has changed, we are mostly known for our gravel pits, rednecks, and crystal meth. Oprah even named us the Meth capital of the US, and quickly destroyed our little town image. Yes we've had drug problems (like everywhere else) and yes we are "country", but most people when they visit can't believe the amazing beauty of the natural surroundings, thus the city folk flock like seagulls here to get their Christmas trees, kayak in the Spring, and camp and hike in the Summer. The Mountain Loop has some of the most amazing scenery in the North Cascades, and even though it never seems to stop raining, the majestc beauty that inspires outdoor enthusiasts is right at our fingertips. Over 600 people per weekend day visit the Ice Caves- the original location of the Monte Cristo Lodge that burned down early last century. It's the perfect setting for a destination lodge and wellness retreat. Watch our video here to learn more...
Working with GFC, LLC for the last three years has been a challenge. The market has been horrible for any investment opportunities, the city hasn't always been up for change, and the every day dealings of bringing this to fruition has been tough. But things in the last 6 months have begun to change for us, and now as we look to the future, we realze it is time to begin the process, and all the stars have been falling into place. So with the eventual project moving forward, I have been digging for what I want to manifest in our place of Wellness. The Global Spa and Wellness Summit is a very prestigious event where you have to apply to go, and is by invitation only. Our team has a former delegate who suggested this as one of the best events for making connections in the Wellness field from around the world. So after applying, I was accepted and off to Aspen I went to spend a week with some of the best minds in the fields of innovation, wellness, medicine, and spa development and manufacturing from all over the world.
This trip was everything I could have imagined and more. The people that I met and enjoyed many good meals, conversations, and ideas with were both enlightening and stimulating. Pinch me, was all I could say. Delegates from Europe, Asia, Indonesia, North and South America who are shaping the Wellness industry and how the world is seeing the spa culture. I have to say that every single one of these people took me in and make me feel like an old friend, and even though I didn't meet all of the 300 delegates, the connections I've made will be valuable to my life, practice, and our spa project. I've made lifetime friends, no doubt.
The most intersting part of the conference was the discussion of anti-aging and how the discovery of telomere length is revolutionizing the future of how we age. Telomeres are the little ends of our chromosomes, that get smaller as we age. Research shows that the longer your telomeres, the slower you age, thus the 40 year olds who look 20. Dr Elisa Epel MD presented on her research with telomeres and the power of mindfulness and meditation. Having worked in this field for many years, Dr Epel was bringing this concept to the the Summit delegates, and basically giving them a glimpse of what is to come in anti aging medicine. I found it interesting since we have been talking about telemores for years now in Naturopathic medicine, but to many this is a brand new concept. The correlation to not only lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, but the power of meditation as a way to lengthen your telomeres is powerful proof that how and what we think affects our aging. Dr Eppel is a kind, generous, and brilliant woman who I hope to keep connected with, and as I told her, she is on the brink of what will be the largest test used in anti aging clinics in the future. To learn more about how to find out how fast you are aging visit her website, www.telomehealth.com.
What I gained from this conference was invaluable, and I feel that the Naturopathic physician is primed to be the leaders in the Spa and Wellness markets. (In Europe and abroad, Spa has a very different meaning than in America- health and prevention, not just massage and nails) Our education prepares us for what each and every one of these places are looking for, and our broad spectrum of services and expertise are desired all over the world. As the world of medicine continues to move towards prevention and complete wellness, markets will begin to demand doctors such as ourselves. We are the future.
All I can say, after being back in the humid rain of Seattle, I miss the high mountain sun and the memories I made in Aspen. Now it's time to put what I learned into action!