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Comfort Zone outlines its new safety procedures as spas start to reopen
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Lemi launches specialist hydrotherapy treatment bed
Lemi launches specialist hydrotherapy treatment bed
Natura Bisse reveals 'masterplan' for the neck and décolleté
Natura Bisse reveals 'masterplan' for the neck and décolleté
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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
Everyone’s talking about
CBD

CBD products are flying off the shelves in the US and the trend is spreading in Europe and Asia. However, when a product is popular but unregulated, big claims can be made. Is this a gimmick which will fade out or is CBD the future? Kath Hudson reports…

By Kath Hudson | Published in Spa Business 2019 issue 3


An active, yet non-psychoactive, ingredient derived from the marijuana plant, in its purest form, cannabidiol (CBD) oil is believed to help treat a host of problems including stress and anxiety, inflammation, joint pain, muscle soreness and insomnia, as well as children’s epilepsy.

Cave men and women used it and Queen Victoria is believed to have used it to alleviate menstrual cramps. However, because another part of the marijuana plant – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - can cause a psychotropic effect, cannabis was banned in the 1930s and a stigma was attached to the plant.

Now the tide is turning after CBD was legalised in 50 US states and medicinal cannabis was legalised in the UK last year. It’s made an appearance on a growing number of spa menus and CBD products are available to buy to use on the skin, ingest orally and vape. This month, American Spa magazine is even hosting a three-day CBD Summit.

However, despite being legal, CBD is still coming up against issues. A lack of regulation means product quality varies widely. In a 2017 study Marcel Bonn-Miller, a professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, found that close to seven out of 10 CBD products didn’t actually contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 per cent of products contained too little, while 26 per cent had too much and, alarmingly, about 20 per cent of them even had traces of THC. Meanwhile, hemp-based products will not be allowed on the show floor at the ISPA conference in Las Vegas in September as the host venue, The Venetian, says the relevant state bill has not yet been updated.

So are CBD products and treatments something spas should be embracing? Are they safe? Are they effective? If you want to offer them, what are the issues and how do you find a credible supplier? We investigate…

Helen Brown area director of wellness, Auberge Resorts Collection
Helen Brown

We introduced CBD products and treatments about a year ago, and they’ve quickly become an important part of our business. We assumed we would have to do a lot of education with both our team and consumers, but our therapists were very comfortable with the products from the outset and media coverage meant there was widespread awareness among consumers, which expedited the success.

The response to the products has been overwhelmingly positive, with reports of reducing inflammation and pain, as well as skincare benefits. Many made the initial purchase out of curiosity, but have since returned for more and recommended them to friends.

"We’ve generated US$11,000 and US$28,000 in CBD treatment and retail sales in the last 12 months"

Our number one selling treatment is a CBD body balm add-on which costs US$10 (€9, £8) and targets sore areas. Also adding a US$10 CBD facial mask to our mud treatment is a popular choice. Between them, these adds on have generated US$11,000 (€9,814, £8,829) in the last year. We’ve generated US$28,000 (€24,982, £22,474) in CBD retail sales in the last 12 months.

For operators wanting to introduce CBD products, firstly be aware of the regulations which vary across states. Also speak to your insurance company, as I know some have forbidden spas from offering CBD products. Ensure suppliers have a history of working with these products and haven’t just jumped on the bandwagon when CBD started to get successful. We chose Healthy Lotus and Bloom Farms. You need to know that it’s a clean product, which has been sourced responsibly and mixed with good quality products.

Brown has been in the industry for nearly 10 years and oversees two spas for Auberge in the US

Kim Collier co-founder, Collier Concepts
Kim Collier

CBD is an effective plant-based healing therapy. Period. People are experiencing relief and benefits from CBD. Period. CBD healing is here to stay. Period.

An ancient plant, dating back to 2700BC, and the original cash crop, hemp offers 50,000 documented uses and may lead the way to modern day agricultural renaissance. Although specific research is still needed – and underway – we may rely on the 50-plus years of research by Dr Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist and professor at Hebrew University. He says ‘we need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain’. 

"People are experiencing relief and benefits from CBD. Period. CBD healing is here to stay. Period"

Spa professionals ready to come on board will need to advocate through education, and learn the difference between the poodle / hemp and the wolf / marijuana. I highly recommend www.green-flower.com for online cannabis knowledge delivered in 1,000 hours of video content and featuring more than 600 cannabis industry experts, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders. 

From a holistic health perspective, it’s best to start using CBD topically to awaken the endocannabinoid system receptors. Then a CBD tincture or oral oil could be taken at bedtime, combining the two in the evening, for about a week. If you ingest too much CBD you may need a nap: this is your body talking to you, encouraging rest and repair time. If other medications are being taken, healthcare providers should be consulted, but expect amazing results with CBD and forthcoming cannabis wellness!

With 30 years’ industry experience, Collier relaunched her company to educate spas on wellness, cannabis and sustainability products in 2018

Dr Aamer Khan co-founder, The Harley Street Skin Clinic
Dr Aamer Khan

Cannabis is one of the oldest plants on the planet, it’s even represented in cave drawings. Genetically we are made to respond to CBD and human bodies can produce an endocannabinoid – anandamide – during meditation, breast feeding and exercise.

Illness comes about through an imbalance in the body and while medicine can fix the symptoms, the cause requires a system reset, which CBD can achieve. It balances and stabilises, protects cells and improves their resilience to a toxic environment. Going forward, I think it will be huge, not just for treating illness, but for managing health, as it fits with the trend of living medicines.

"A compelling 10 year study by WHO found no contra-indications and concluded CBD was safe"

The hemp plant has been used in many industries and there’s a huge amount of research into it. The most compelling is a 10 year study by the World Health Organization which found no contra-indications and concluded CBD was safe as a food supplement. The UK’s national health service cautions that it might impact certain medications, in the same way that citrus fruit does, by potentially interrupting the enzyme system in the liver. As a result, it’s advisable for clients to seek medical advice if they take other medication.

After personally using CBD for pain relief when I fractured my finger, I introduced it at my Harley Street practice as soon as it was legalised. I chose Maripharm products because the company has a long history with CBD and worked with the Dutch government to change the legislation in the early 90s, and it also supplies luxury spas such as The Cowshed and Rudding Park.

Dr Khan’s London clinic focuses on cosmetic and non-surgical procedures to preserve youth. He counts many celebrities among his clients

Martina Crkonova spa director, Budock Vean
Martina Crkonova

As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I know the benefits of the hemp family so I was eagerly waiting for it to be legalised in the UK. Budock Vean was one of the first UK spas to get CBD on the spa menu this April, when we introduced a 60 minute full body massage, priced at £79 (US$100, €88), and a 60 minute healthy ageing facial for £69 (US$86, €77).

We don’t make massive claims about the benefits, but the treatments have been popular – since introducing them, our revenues have increased by 17 per cent. We attract a lot of baby boomers who report that they feel more relaxed, able to cope and that it lessens chronic pain and pain in the joints. Equally, we have noticed that the younger generation, who are pushing the wellness trend, are interested in the use of hemp as a prevention to ill health.

"There’s a lack of knowledge about what a powerful product CBD is and there’s not enough regulation"

However, people are confused at the moment: there’s a lack of knowledge and education about what a powerful product CBD is and there’s not enough regulation. Finding the right supplier can also be difficult. I spent a lot of time and money trying different products and eventually chose to work with an organic hemp farm based in California.

New research is helping us to understand CBD in more depth, but spas wanting to work with this product should educate themselves. Although too much CBD is not dangerous, it’s worth bearing in mind that too much of any herb or dietary supplement – even lavender or vitamin C – is not advisable.

Crkonova has been a pre-opening consultant for many spas, working for the likes of Bath Thermae Spa, UK and Kandima Maldives. A qualified herbalist and TCM practitioner, she’s currently studying for a clinical qualification in cannabinoid therapy

First-person experience
Full body massage with CBD oil Kath Hudson
Kath Hudson

In middle age my life has been getting busier and more stressful, leaving me with less time to chill out. I rely on adrenal energy, consistently over-riding tiredness to pack too much into each day. I never let myself stop and sometimes wonder if I’ve lost the ability to relax altogether. So when Budock Vean – a hotel in Cornwall, south UK – invited me to try a treatment I jumped at the chance to see if CBD really can help insomnia, stress and anxiety.

An experienced herbalist and a fan of “the wisdom of the hemp plant”, spa director Martina Crkonova was the driving force behind Budock Vean adding the CBD treatments to its spa menu. I felt in safe hands: she works intuitively and it was one of the most powerful treatments I’ve ever received. Afterwards, I felt supremely relaxed and at peace with both the world and myself.

"I felt noticeably lighter in both spirits and body, with improved mental focus and more energy"

Usually, I would have wanted to take advantage of some of other experiences the hotel has to offer – a walk or a kayak along the Helford River, a swim in the pool, a game of tennis, or at the very least sit and observe the magnificent gardens. Instead, I allowed myself an afternoon sleep for the first time in years.

The following day, I felt exhausted but instead of fighting it, I submitted to doing nothing. I’m not sure if I didn’t want to over-ride the tiredness, or actually couldn’t. However, the day after that, I felt noticeably lighter in both spirits and body, with improved mental focus and more energy – real energy, not adrenal. I think the benefits came from having stopped and relaxed, but without the CBD I probably would have stayed busy.

Budock Vean was one of the first UK hotels to offer a CBD spa treatment
Hudson says it was one of the most powerful treatments she’s ever had
Dana Kingsborough, founder of Healthy Lotus which supplies spas in the US with a full spectrum of CBD products, gives her advice on how to find a supplier

• A reputable company will have a certificate of analysis to ensure the quality and potency of the CBD

• The proportion of CBD oil per product varies between manufacturers but 25.5 per cent is about the right amount

• Ensure your CBD is organic, non-GMO and not chemically extracted – look for CO2 extraction

• Ensure the supplier’s quality of CBD by checking the ingredient list, the protocol created by the company and product training created by the supplier for their therapists

Credit: shutterstock
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