Canyon Ranch - Land and Sea Immersion Destination

| November 17, 2008

The story behind Canyon Ranch embodies the evolution of the health and fitness industry in this country.

Canyon Ranch is not just a spa or even a resort, it is a unique, inclusive "immersion destination" according to owner and founder Mel Zuckerman. Founded in 1979, today Canyon Ranch has developed into a well-respected international brand in the health and wellness industry. It includes two life-enhancement destination resorts, the original in Tucson, AZ. and another in Lenox, Mass. There are three Canyon Ranch SpaClub facilities, and scheduled to open in late November 2008 is their first living residential community in Miami Beach, Florida.

The Zuckerman Story In 1936 an eight-year old boy, Mel, had an asthma attack. His mother rushed him to the emergency room where a 400-pound doctor, smoking a cigarette, gave her boy a shot and then told her something that would negatively affect her son's health for the next four decades. He told her to NEVER let her boy exercise or it could make him very sick. She followed the doctors' advice and Mel grew up afraid of physical activity.

After college, Mel worked as an accountant for eight years. In 1958 he and his wife Enid moved to Tucson where he became a successful homebuilder. Even though he loved his profession Mel's attention to detail contributed to mounting health problems exacerbated by stress.

Exercise had never been an option for Mel, and not knowing any better, he let the rest of his health picture deteriorate as well. By age 35 he was being hospitalized every 18 months, had high blood pressure, ulcers, diverticulitis, and a hernia. At 40 he was fifty pounds overweight and his body was functioning at the level of a 65-70 year old. Yet it still took him ten more years till he was 50, before Mel decided to try a "fat farm" in California.

It was here that a young fitness director named Karma took Mel under her wing and showed him that personal attention could make his fitness goals attainable. When he checked in it took him 28 minutes to walk a mile, on his 10th day he could jog a mile and a half in 11 minutes and 38 seconds. He called his wife and said he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He wanted to create a resort environment that dealt with weight, involved pampering and fitness, and engaged mind, body, and spirit.

Mel Zuckerman and wife Enid

In 1979 Mel and his wife Enid embarked on that journey to create not just a spa, not just a resort, not just a health and wellness facility, but an immersion destination in the Southwest Desert, called Canyon Ranch. As for Mel, he has followed his dream and walked the talk. Today he is healthy, slim and trim. By his photograph, you can see at age 80 he is a testament to what can be achieved through healthy lifestyle choices. Just this year he has decided to stop going to the office every day. In describing his manifested vision called Canyon Ranch, he has said when your business becomes part of your total makeup, part of your soul, you can never really leave it. By the way, that young fitness director that changed his life, Karma Kientzler, is still on his staff at Canyon Ranch in Tucson.

Canyon Ranch and a Cruise Ship So, what does this have to do with cruising? I mentioned there are three Canyon Ranch SpaClubs, one is at The Venetian/Palazzo resort and casino in Las Vegas, one at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee, FL and the last unlikely place is aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 ocean liner! Those who are avid cruisers may be aware Steiner Leisure is the company that usually runs spa operations on most cruise ships.

I was fortunate to get a taste of Canyon Ranch treatment when my husband and I sailed on a transatlantic voyage from South Hampton U.K. to New York on this beautiful ocean liner. When I returned home to Phoenix I traveled to the original Canyon Ranch in Tucson to see how the complete "immersion destination" as they call it, compares to the version I experienced at sea. Article continued below....

Canyon Ranch SpaClub in Las Vegas

New Canyon Ranch Development in Miami

Lenox Massachusetts Facility

Continue Article >> A Week at Canyon Ranch in Tucson (Part 2)

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