The Ranch’s Health Centers are always filled with gratitude. Guests appreciate the physical and mental transformation that results from bodywork, and our Spa Therapists and Holistic Practitioners are honored to contribute to their wellbeing. In the interview below, Claudia Sugey Villalon, our Spa Manager, shares her wisdom about how gratitude is infused into The Ranch’s spa and holistic experiences.
November is Gratitude Month at Rancho La Puerta, and during this time, we encourage guests to find reasons to be grateful in every area of their lives. Gratitude is an integral part of the Health & Beauty Center culture at Rancho La Puerta. How do Spa Therapists and Holistic Practitioners infuse it into their practice?
Claudia Sugey Villalon:
All of our treatments represent gratitude and thanks. Our Holistic Practitioners and Spa Therapists act as a channel where universal energy flows to aid the healing process. It does not matter the nature of the treatment – the action of touching others creates this interaction. As therapists, we feel gratitude for being able to heal others, and at the same time, we give thanks too because we heal ourselves. The Ranch Spa Therapists and Holistic Practitioners are grateful to have the opportunity to work closely with guests in this special way.
We also feel gratitude for using herbs from the garden. I’ve noticed that every time a farmer cuts any type of herbs for the Herbal Wraps it is done in a mindful way. And when the Spa Therapists cut the herbs for the Rosemary Loofah Salt Glow or Ancestral Energy Cleanse, we offer gratitude to mother nature for providing these healing plants. We ask [the plant] for permission, and also forgiveness. So, I can see how our Spa Therapists feel gratitude all the time, whenever they are touching our guests or gathering natural elements for the treatment.
What treatment would you recommend to guests to increase their gratitude and appreciation in general, and why?
Embodying Wellbeing Spa Ritual is the key treatment for gratitude. First, it’s outside, surrounded by nature. If we are surrounded by nature, it is easier to connect with ourselves. The other element is when you start the treatment, you’re invited to think about an intention. And then we do a beautiful energy cleansing before we begin blowing the conch shell. It’s a beautiful way to connect with yourself and the place where everything is happening.
And the other element is, in the end, you take the stone you had chosen at the start of your treatment and think about the original intention you had set. Then you put the intention into action – you drop it next to the fountain. You are grateful for the intention itself, and you are thankful for the opportunity to ask.
When I think about how we treat our body and what our body needs for gratitude, I also think about the Head-to-Toe Relaxation Massage. It’s a complete treatment, and there is a focus on the hands and feet. Our hands are always giving something – it doesn’t matter if we are therapists or not – we are always holding hands, we comfort someone by touching them, so our hands are giving a lot. And our feet are always there for us, when we’re walking long distances, standing on our feet for long hours, or working out. Tension and stress will always go to our feet, which are like our body’s foundation and our connection with the earth. They ground us.
Finally, any treatment that our expert Holistic Practitioners provide uniquely connect the body, mind and spirt. This exchange of energy often fosters a deep sense of gratitude.
How does gratitude play a role in the four phases of The Ranch’s natural spa process/cycle?
When I think about the cleansing phase, I feel that it is a time for my body to get rid of what it doesn’t need. This is not only about a physical cleansing, but also mental and emotional. Our body will be really grateful to us for making this kind of decision, and when we detox, we will have more room for gratitude. The relax phase gives us the opportunity to be grateful for the new things we are now open to receive. The restore phase is a time to reset, to let gratitude sink in. The energizing stage helps us be thankful for all the things we allow to let go, so new things can come in.
How can guests incorporate gratitude into their own home spa rituals?
Apply products mindfully. Say you make a yogurt and honey face mask, which is really stimulating and skin restoring. Be grateful for the process – it feels feel nice and helps to heal the skin. And be grateful for wherever the ingredients come from – get to know and learn where your products come from -certain products are created with a mindful process. When we do this, we connect with our own nature. You can say words of gratitude silently or aloud.
When I know the source of where something came from, I can be more consciously grateful. Maybe it’s an export, maybe it came from a store, or maybe it is from the farm. When we have this in mind, we are more consciously grateful for the things we experience every day.
Do you think that gratitude can promote overall health – from a spa perspective?
Definitely. Just think about those toxic words that we heard when we were little, “No, you can’t,” or, “It’s not for you.” Those are toxic words that we learn as we grow up. And at some point, we believe those words. And it’s hard get rid of that kind of mentality when we keep it with us for so long. So, consider changing these words into mindful words of gratitude. Believe it or not, that will start to heal us internally. It will start to help us to be more aware of what is happening around us. Words of gratitude will help us also to be more patient with those around us.
Even if we think we are in a bad situation, try to feel gratitude for it. It will make us understand that maybe the problem is teaching us something that we have to learn.
We are humans, of course, and we will get mad. But what if I start to retrain my brain with thoughts about gratitude? I believe it will affect how my body’s healing and impact my nervous system. I always call it a sedative word. If I’m getting angry, I need to think about the opposite. If I think, “Just be calm,” maybe I won’t be calm, but I can try to feel gratitude. This internal conversation can take me to the right answers. I always speak out gratitude, so that is what I receive. That’s the power of the word.
In addition to gratitude, what are the other core values of the spa?
You know, the word gratitude is so big. It is linked to so many things, but I will say the other value is love. What we do here, we really do with love, with a lot of love and consciousness. And by consciousness, I mean being present in the moment. When the therapists are working, they are there. They are paying attention to each moment.
Thank you so much for your time!
Claudia Sugey Villalon is grateful to manage the Health and Beauty Centers at Rancho La Puerta. She is from Mexico and has been in the spa industry for over 18 years. Claudia Sugey has achieved tremendous results in the spiritual side of the entire wellness experience and shares her powerful wisdom with guests to guide them in healthy directions. She encompasses the expertise and leadership needed to run a world-renowned spa.