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Wellness Features by Emily Ashman

A selection of spa, wellness and environmental awareness articles written for Asia Spa Magazine

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Wellness Features by Emily Ashman

  1. 1. spadestination 134 AsiaSpa 2010 1352010 AsiaSpa134 AsiaSpa 2010 1352010 AsiaSpa london’s A city seeped in history, buzzing with culture and brimming with innovation, London has some of the best spa experiences in the world. Londoners take their home city’s incredible history for granted, but as a tourist, it’s impossible not to wonder at the millions of stories each cobbled street could tell. There’s the grandiose pillared buildings of Knightsbridge that evoke all the glamour and elegance of the 1920s socialite scene, the dingy railway arches that inspired many a horror story and the towering muse houses that still have separate entrances for the servants from their hay day in the Victorian era. Indeed, London has been dramatised so much in film, theatre and literature that it is literally a living storybook. Alongside this historic gravitas, there is a vibrant culture and a population renowned for innovation and the spa world is no exception. The city has some of the most exciting new spa concepts in the world and is paving the way for new technologies and treatments… spadestination writer Emily Jones spasanctuaries
  2. 2. spadestination 136 AsiaSpa 2010 1372010 AsiaSpa spadestination this page: Having a massage at the Soma Centre; Cowshed mani pedi stations; and Ushvani spa pool. opposite page:Liz EarleVentnor Bay treatment room;and Bliss London store photographed by Patrice Maurein. opening pages: Man walking through rain in London © day spas BLISS The “girls night out” of London day spas, Bliss is a truly unique experience. Guests are lead through the signature aqua and white pedicure area to wait in the relaxation room where instead of boring green tea and celery sticks, you’ll find trays of warm chocolate brownies, cheese platters and even be offered a glass of wine. You can forget hushed voices and gentle music here; the therapists are loud and lively with a clear passion for what they do, offering a truly uplifting experience. They start with a consultation providing practical and constructive advice on everything from what skincare you should be using (it’s refreshing that they recommend a range of brands, instead of just hard selling their own products) to how your diet and suncare habits will impact the long-term quality of your skin.The treatment approach is to focus on results, so the latest modern technology is used in facials, including microdermabrasion, extraction using Bliss’ patented “pore-fector gadget”, and a triple oxygen mask that bubbles on the skin pushing moisture deep into the pores. The results are truly incredible; fine lines are visibly reduced from the moment you step off the treatment bed and you leave the spa not only looking considerably younger and healthier but with some good tips for the future to lengthen the impact of your treatment. THE COWSHED The Cowshed has been making waves in London since its launch in 1998, thanks to its social approach to day spas. Combining a coffee shop with a day spa, it’s a place to meet friends, eat homemade cupcakes, drink coffee and enjoy a spot of social grooming. With a range of express packages, it’s the kind of place Londoners drop into on a regular basis for a post-work glass of wine and a quick pedicure with friends, and that social environment makes for an invigorating and laid-back experience. Therapists wear jeans and t-shirts and are warm and friendly as they usher you into the simple treatment rooms. The Cowshed facial is highly recommended – a hydrating treatment that uses SkinCeuticals products, a brand that pioneered the original topical vitamin C formula that protects skin from premature signs of ageing caused by environmental damage. It’s a classic facial programme, with cleansing, toning, steam extraction, scrub and mask and has fantastic results, leaving you feeling cleansed, hydrated and ready to return to the coffee shop to show the results off to your friends. LIZ EARLE Since its launch in 1995, Liz Earle has developed a huge following of dedicated fans both in London and throughout the globe. Liz Earle is a renowned specialist in botanical ingredients, natural health and wellbeing. As a beauty editor, author of over 30 books and a TV presenter, she became a well-known and respected authority in these areas and decided to launch her own range of products using naturally active ingredients. Located at the flagship store just off the bustling King’s Road, a trip to the Liz EarleTreatment Rooms will take you via street cafés and fabulous boutiques, making it a destination must-visit in itself. The décor is an extension of the brand values, with simple natural white-washed wood complementing the friendly fresh-faced therapists. There is a range of bespoke naturally active skincare treatments available with a focus on personal pampering. London Kensington Gardens Buckingham Palace Royal Albert Hall Earl’s Court Harrods Oxford St Westminster Abbey London Eye St Paul’s Cathedral Tower of London Tower Bridge British Museum Hyde Park Soho Mayfair Southbank Southwark Barbican Strand Islington BloomsburyMarylebone Paddington Victoria Euston King’s Cross Waterloo Liverpool St Camden Westminster Pimlico Vauxhall Chelsea South Kensington Knightsbridge Piccadilly Circus Covent Garden Bayswater Belgravia Kensington Regent’s Park Green Park St. James Park Theatre District Financial District Academic District The East End Museums R i v e r T h am es THE SOMA CENTRE Providing Londoners with a sense of inner calm in the heart of Kensington, The Soma Centre is a luxurious private health club with a focus on whole body wellness. It therefore combines complementary therapies and mind body exercise to provide a complete retreat from a hectic lifestyle. The brainchild of Carolan Brown, former personal trainer to Diana, Princess of Wales, the Soma Centre recruits specialist-visiting therapists to provide a range of expertise, from dermatology to meditation. For example, Doctor Jules Nabet specialises in aesthetic anti-ageing techniques, while Joanne Evans provides treatments in rejuvenation, deep cleansing, vein removal, pigmentation, hair removal and peels. There is also a full time make-up artist on hand to perfect your look after a treatment. With a holistic approach to treatments, you may arrive to simply have a facial and end up taking a yoga class. USHVANI A Malaysian day spa in Chelsea, Ushvani is one of London’s most luxurious day spas. Guided by the principles of nurture, total well being, relaxation and healthy indulgence, Ushvani aims to bring the exotic treatments and levels of service from Asia to London. Its range of treatments called “enhancements” focus on end results but also use natural ingredients to create a relaxing experience. It includes an indulgent cocoa and coffee scrub for ultimate skin hydration or a detoxifying ginger and kaffir lime scrub. These treatments are then followed by body wraps of cocoa, coconut milk, hibiscus or banana and honey.The entire experience brings guests a little closer to nature and has fantastic results.
  3. 3. spadestination 138 AsiaSpa 2010 1392010 AsiaSpa urban retreats MANDARIN SPA As you walk up to the spectacular home of The Mandarin Oriental in London, doormen in red coats usher you into a world of marbled opulence, setting the bar high for the spa experience to follow – and it doesn’t disappoint. Having recently been voted “Best UK Hotel Spa” by Condé NastTraveller, it is a decadent experience that draws on the brand’s Asian heritage. Set in the basement, the clean, stone finishing and statues of Asian gods complement a softly lit Jacuzzi, steam room and solarium, as well as a tranquil relaxation area. Using ESPA products, the treatments are each tailored towards the individual, from the deep tissue massage, which uses fragrant ESPA oils, to the pampering pedicures, which are done while the guest lies on a heated bed. AMAN SPA AT THE CONNAUGHT The Aman Spa in London is the first spa to open outside of an Aman resort and is already a huge hit with Londoners seeking an exotic escape without leaving the city. Bringing a little piece of Aman resorts to London, the spa is decorated with natural light wood, clean lines and subtle lighting to keep the focus on complete relaxation. Treatments are inspired by countries where Aman has a presence, including India, China, Thailand and Native America. All products and techniques used in these treatments are then sourced from their country of origin.The “Inspired by India” treatment is the ultimate of these experiences for complete relaxation. With a deeply meditative approach, the experience aims to balance the energies of the body leaving you feeling “calm and harmonised”.The experience begins with an aromatic Indian footbath, followed by a body scrub with relaxing essential oils, a Chakra balancing treatment and a Samadara facial.The entire experience is an otherworldly lesson in tranquillity. this page: Spa Intercontinental treatment room; Mandarin Oriental spa reception; the Aman spa at The Connaught; and COMO Shambala Spa glass oil bottles atThe Metropolitan. opposite page: A synchronized massage at Mandarin Oriental. ALCHEMY THE CENTRE Located down a hidden alleyway in Camden Market, Alchemy The Centre is an oasis of calm in amongst the clamour of this busy district. The centre takes a holistic approach to wellness, focusing on discovery and transformation of body and mind. Some of the newest and oldest methods sit side by side on the treatment menu and guests can take meditation classes or enjoy a range of holistic therapies. A huge range of yoga classes are also available from Ashtanga to Hatha, as well as life counselling. The Holistic hot oil massage combines techniques from all over the globe, while the acupuncture sessions are conducted by Chinese medicine professionals. The centre provides Londoners with a calm and welcoming community, where they can escape the busy rush of the city and find inner harmony. SPA INTERCONTINENTAL This cool and elegant urban retreat has a Middle Eastern vibe with deep mahogany furnishings and mosaic tiled treatment rooms. A speciality of the spa is the steam temple, a treatment where a combination of mud and clay is applied to the body and face and then left to be absorbed by the skin as guests sit in a crystal steam room. The ocean wrap is also a must try. Clay and then oil are applied to the skin before cocooning the body in a wrap and lowering the guest into a dry floatation tank for the ultimate relaxing experience. The Elemis facials are also expertly executed, with special day packages, such as the “English Rose” experience tailored to include local products and oils. The spa cuisine is the perfect way to end the experience. Bento boxes of healthy, wholesome lunches are offered along with a glass of Champagne to complete the pampering. spadestination
  4. 4. spadestination 140 AsiaSpa 2010 1412010 AsiaSpa where to stay THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL An incredible and historic building, the Mandarin Oriental in London provides an unforgettable hotel experience. The building was originally a top London gentleman’s club and there is still an atmosphere of a colonial establishment, with maps and travel memorabilia decorating the walls and traditional furnishings providing a truly five-star experience.The suites overlook the whole of London and one glimpse out the window provides a sweeping view of Big Ben, The London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral, which provide a glittering backdrop to the mahogany furniture, Persian rugs and sparkling marble bathrooms. THE METROPOLITAN A truly chic experience, The Metropolitan has been a celebrated hangout for the rich and famous since its opening and The Met Bar is a place to see and be seen. The décor is elegant and minimalist, peppered with touches of modern art and splashes of vibrant colour. The rooms take full advantage of the beautiful views over Hyde Park with huge windows providing a light and airy space and décor kept simple and modern to provide a tranquil, urban oasis. THE BERKELEY Like a resort in the middle of Knightsbridge, this hotel may be just a stone’s throw away from the celebrated department store Harrods but with a rooftop pool.The fabulously intimate Blue Bar and white wood panelled rooms, makes it feel like a luxurious country home. The Berkeley expertly fuses traditional hotel values from its long heritage in London with modern service – the perfect example of this fusion is the way ipads are provided on the oak desk alongside the embossed notepaper. beauty boutiques PENHALIGON’S Appointed by the Prince of Wales himself, Penhaligon’s flagship store in Covent Garden is like a trip back in time with Victorian fragrance bottles lining the wallpapered walls and traditional leather cosmetics cases dotting antique chests. Shoppers enjoy a uniquely personal experience and pick up traditional scents, candles and bath and body products. SPACE NK Space NK sources the latest cult beauty products and offers a carefully edited selection of high quality, original and effective ranges from innovators and specialists around the world, such as NARS cosmetics, Aromatherpay Associates skincare and Maison Francis Kurkdhian candles. NEAL’S YARD Born in 1981 in Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard was one of the first pioneers of natural remedies in skincare, which launched the push against the synthetic chemical approach to skin and healthcare.Their vision was to provide a holistic approach to health and beauty and all products are still made naturally in their headquarters in Dorset. spadestination this page: The Berkeley rooftop pool. opposite page: COMO Shambala Spa back massage at The Metropolitan; Outside Mandarin Oriental; and Six Senses Spa hydrotherapy pool at Pan Peninsula. SIX SENSES SPA AT PAN PENINSULA Providing busy Londoners in Canary Wharf with a 650 square metre spa escape, Six Senses provides a retreat from city life with its range of rejuvenating Asian-influenced therapies combined with holistic lifestyle guidance. An airy yet relaxing space, the spa fuses elements of traditional Asian architecture with modern facilities such as a luxurious bio-thermal circuit with a chromotherapy steam cabin, crystal laconium, traditional dry sauna, sensory shower and hydrotherapy pool.The spa recently launched a range of pioneering treatments, which use Voya products, the first genuinely organic seaweed-based cosmetic products in the world. Originally from Ireland, the brand uses hand-harvested seaweed, which is organic certified in a range of traditional Irish seaweed baths and treatments. The Voya body treatment is not only incredibly effective but also completely relaxing. The skin is polished to glowing perfection, while the seaweed products infuse the skin with natural oils that both intensely moisturise the skin and relax the muscles. THE BERKELEY Like walking into a Saint Tropez-style hangout, The Berkeley has a fabulous rooftop pool overlooking Knightsbridge. Surrounded by white pillars, with classic aqua tiling, this spa is an oasis of calm that feels more like a rustic countryside getaway. Using [comfort zone] products, most of the treatments provide a classic spa experience. The “ultimate spa ritual for her” starts with a rejuvenating fruit full body peel, which is left to naturally absorb dead skin cells and is then showered off to reveal incredibly smooth skin. Essential oils are then massaged into the body and a customised facial hydrates the skin leaving it glowing. COMO SHAMBALA AT THE METROPOLITAN The COMO Shambala Spa is both minimalist as well as comfortable. The moment you walk through the door, you are greeted with the COMO Shambala’s notoriously welcoming service and the therapists are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about what they do. There’s a practical approach to the spa experience, with simple steam room and treatment rooms, where the focus is on the end results – this means it appeals to men as much as women. The signature massage is not to be missed. Guests choose one of the six signature blended oils that have been specially created for COMO Shambala and are applied using a massage combination of long strokes and deep-tissue massage. The technique was developed in London drawing influences from Thailand and Scandinavia and is constantly updated with new methods garnered from the COMO Shambala resorts around the world.
  5. 5. wellbeing 104 AsiaSpa 2010 1052010 AsiaSpa wellbeing 104 AsiaSpa 2010 1052010 AsiaSpa When carbon offsetting programmes first gained popularity in the late 90s, you could almost hear the sigh of relief echoing down from the plane-scoured skies. Millions of global nomads suddenly realised they could continue to live their luxurious lifestyle, safe in the knowledge that for every flight they took or resort they visited, trees would be planted, wind turbines would be built and the world would become a cleaner place. It was like one giant transcontinental “Hail Mary” – commit the sin and then pay for absolution. It seems absolution is a persuasive draw card and what began as a wacky concept pioneered by a few environmentalists has now become a multi-billion dollar market that involves everyone from the world’s largest transnationals, governments, the World Bank and the UN, down to mom- and-pop offset companies, consultancies, and NGOs. In 2009, 8.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent changed hands Do carbon offsetting programmes help to ease the toll of the tourism and spa industry on the environment, or are they simply a means of soothing our own personal sense of guilt? Emily Jones investigates… conun drum TRAIL OF FOOTPRINTS ACROSS GRASS © INMAGINE.COM * According to a study by carbon-market re- search firm Point Carbon. THE CARBON worldwide, up 68 percent from 2008*. Carbon is officially a hot commodity but as the industry grows, the cracks in the concept appear. RIDING THE CONTROVERSY Technically the idea of carbon offsetting is rooted in sound ethics. Instead of trying to transform the behaviour of billions of people, why not simply find a means of encouraging them to invest in environmental projects? But for all its green-coated promises, the carbon offsetting industry is now riddled with controversy. Everyday there seems to be another report in the press about the ineffective- ness of these schemes. There was the offset project in India that cleared hundreds of plots of traditional tribal farmlands to build windmills for green electric power, leaving many farmers without a livelihood and – in the end – generating significantly less power than expected. Even more sinister, a California promoter launched a carbon offsetting programme to spread iron dust in the South Pacific in order to grow carbon- sucking algae. It was only after the plan was launched that the Environmental Protection Agency said it would amount to illegal dumping at sea. And perhaps, one of the most high-profile cases was when news came that Coldplay’s 2002 album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, would be offset with 10,000 mango trees in Karnataka, India. But a year later, a report in the SundayTelegraph stated that, of the 10,000 trees that were sup- posedly distributed to small farmers, only a few hundred were found to still be alive. All these well-reported stories have done nothing to improve the image of carbon offsetting programmes. But do a few teething problems mean we should all forget the concept entirely? Geoffrey Lipman, Special Advisor to the UNWTO Secretary-General does not believe we should be so quick to judge. For the past four decades, Lipman has been heavily involved in advising how the tourism industry can support governments to lower carbon emissions. “There is no magic answer to this problem,” he says. “In essence, carbon offsetting is a good concept and it would be a great shame if a few mis- informed rock bands and cowboy carbon dealers destroyed an idea that, in principal,
  6. 6. wellbeing 106 AsiaSpa 2010 1072010 AsiaSpa wellbeing If nothing else, the very fact you can offset everything from your flight to the production of your washing powder is raising people’s carbon footprint awareness. impact on the local environment during their visit. Following the El Nino disaster, The Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives launched a comprehensive coral transplant project, which encourages guests to sponsor and transplant coral whilst on holiday in the resort. The guests can name their own coral trays and track progress through weekly photographs posted on the project website. Since the project launched in 2007, 18,612 coral fragments have been successfully transplanted in the waters sur- rounding the island and in future the resort hopes this project could even be expanded to help protect the islands from erosion and rising sea levels – it’s like their very own voluntary carbon offsetting scheme. “Many of the spa fans actually plant their coral beneath the treatment rooms so while they have their treatments, they can watch their coral through the windows in the floor,” explains Luisa Anderson, Senior Director of Spa, for Four Seasons Resorts in Asia Pacific. “What started off as a nice activity for guests has become a hugely popular means of building awareness about the risks to coral in this area. The guests love the novelty, and go home with a little more sensitivity towards the planet – it’s a win-win situation.” Like all efforts to improve human impact on the environment, carbon offsetting is an ever-evolving idea that will not necessarily provide an immediate solution but will contribute to a gradual shift in the way we view and behave towards our planet. As more and more people take action into their own hands, the industry can only evolve, ensuring the good programmes are sorted from the bad, opening the channels of com- munication to assure integrity and ultimately empowering tourists themselves to make a positive rather than negative impact on the special places they visit. While not everyone will want to spend their holidays offsetting their carbon by planting trees or transplanting coral, the tourism industry has always had a powerful positive impact on our develop- ment, and it now has the opportunity to lead a positive change in behaviour. Time will tell if carbon offsetting proves to be the ultimate solution, but for now the best thing we can do as tourists is to make the right informed decisions and support the people genuinely trying to change the way we enjoy our world. can be a solid component to help us ease the toll we take on our environment.” Die-hard environmentalists often turn away from carbon offsetting programmes as they feel these programmes are an excuse for companies to continue with “business as usual” when it comes to emissions and pass the responsibility to someone else. Lipman agrees that carbon offsetting should not be used as a replacement for industry best practices. “The solution to this issue is going to be a combination of many differ- ent techniques, technologies and concepts. This includes everything from incentives and taxation to environmental proofing of buildings. It’s a global change of all pro- duction and consumption and because we can’t change the mindset and behaviour of everyone immediately, I think carbon offset- ting programmes provide one of the pieces in solving the puzzle.” If nothing else, the very fact you can offset everything from your flight to the production of your washing powder is raising people’s carbon footprint awareness. “For one rea- son or another carbon offsetting has struck a chord with the average consumer,” says Lipman. “The popularity of the concept is helping us to persuade the tourism industry that these kinds of changes will not only be well received by consumers, but will actually help businesses prosper as travel behaviours change and evolve.” THE POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL Louis Thompson, director of green building and sustainable practices at Six Senses Resorts & Spas believes that the future of carbon offsetting will lie in how each individual educates himself. “Resorts and spas should lead the way in providing guests with environmentally-friendly options but ultimately, it is up to the guests themselves to do the research and make responsible decisions,” he says. “That can include everything from asking the operator the right questions to ensure the carbon offsetting scheme you choose has a gold standard of approval and is properly regulated, to choosing a spa that is built with solar panels for heating water and natural forms of cooling to avoid using air conditioning.” Geoffrey Lipman agrees that while governments can regulate the schemes and reduce consumer deception, it is the indi- viduals that will iron out these false schemes. “With the rise of social networking platforms, we live in a word-of-mouth world,” he says. “Ultimately, the bad programmes will be ironed out by the consumer, who will comment and feedback and continually monitor the solution, forcing the industry to develop and become more efficient and reliable if it is to survive.” THE FUTURE OF CARBON OFFSETTING Part of the current problem with carbon offsetting programmes is that from the companies that manage funding, right down to the local farmer who executes the tree-planting, each link in the chain assumes little or no responsibility for proper execution and no one is ultimately responsible for ensuring the promises to the consumer are actually delivered. “With many of these schemes, it is very difficult to ensure promises of carbon off- setting have been followed through,” says Louis Thompson. “So I believe the future of carbon offsetting could lie in people taking the offsetting into their own hands. People are already taking holidays to go tree planting or help work with local wildlife. In the future, I can imagine tree planting programmes being offered within a resort, allowing the guests to offset their carbon emissions there and then.” Indeed, many resorts and even spas now encourage guests to make a positive BOYLYINGDOWNPLAYINGWITHPLANEANDWOMANPLANTINGSAPLING,BOTH©INMAGINE.COM
  7. 7. wellbeing 108 AsiaSpa 2011108 AsiaSpa 2011 wellbeing ecopreneur writer Emily Jones
  8. 8. 1092011 AsiaSpa It was in the beautiful hills of Laos that Adam decided he needed to make a change and turn his passion for sustainability into a full-time career. Upon returning to Singapore, he handed in his notice at Molton Brown and then had a six-month notice period to work out what his next step would be. FROM BOARDROOM TO BICYCLE SEAT Adam decided to set up Osmosis Ventures (, a business consultancy service that helps companies to operate in a more sustainable way and promotes conscious living. The initial idea was to have a business that would help fund his non-profit activities. However, many new business owners struggle to find the time to do anything outside of their company, let alone set up a non-profit foundation, so rather than going from one long office day to another, Adam focused on removing some of the financial pressure To any outsider, Adam Horler was living the “dream expatriate lifestyle.” At the age of 36, he had worked his way up from commercial director at L’Oréal to CEO and international board member of Molton Brown and when he wasn’t jetting around the region globalising western brands, he was playing rugby at a national level for Hong Kong. But as his career grew and his expat perks blossomed, he became increasingly unnerved by the way his businesses were impacting our planet. “My job took me to many places that a western businessman doesn’t typically go to,” Adam describes. “And while I had some fascinating cultural experiences, I was appalled to witness the way many of these small towns were sacrificing their way of life to grab some of the export market. Many of these places had a long history and beautiful natural surroundings but they were now shrouded in foul-smelling air, fringed with black and bubbling rivers and littered with plastic and pollution.” As he climbed the career ladder, Adam’s sense of indignation grew – he was becoming highly successful at launching western brands in Asia but at the same time, felt his very role in the company could be having a negative impact on the com- munities he lived among. “I felt we were just adding fuel to the fire and destroying cultures and communities in Asia,” he says. “Throughout my career, I became more and more conscious of this and subsequently became an internal eco warrior, champion- ing sustainability within the companies I worked for. I think I became a bit of a thorn in the side of the people who just wanted to focus on short-term profits.” by addressing his lifestyle and the way he spent money. “I was nervous that you build up a lifestyle around what you earn,” he says. “So I made a conscious decision that I needed to downsize.” Adam began to cycle around Singapore instead of taking taxis, he found ways of repairing his clothes instead of buying new ones and generally, got creative in the way he lived to reduce the amount he consumed. “It’s amazing to realise that you collect so much stuff that you just don’t need when you are earning a comfortable salary but all this stuff doesn’t have much impact on your overall happiness – so what is the point? You’re just working hard to buy more stuff that you don’t need!” Six months into the launch of his new company, Adam stumbled across the US- based movement, LOHAS. LOHAS stands for ‘Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability’ and is a social movement focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice. Adam saw the potential to launch LOHAS in Asia so he contacted the US organisers and was soon up and running. He now spends 70 percent of his time working on LOHAS in Asia, using Osmosis Ventures to help fund his activities. “If I had to describe LOHAS in a few simple words, I would say we are an accel- erator to sustainability,” Adam explains. “So I look at all the pressure points and areas that we can work on to make our world move towards sustainability faster. At the moment, the areas we are focusing on are finance, promoting small sustainable businesses and providing consumers with the education and communication tools to let businesses know what they need.” this page: Adam Horler. opposite page: © Three years ago, Adam Horler left his high-profile job as CEO of Molton Brown Asia to save the planet. Emily Jones charts his incredible journey from corporate boardroom to crusader’s bicycle seat…
  9. 9. wellbeing 110 AsiaSpa 2011 THE ECO AND THE ECONOMIC Adam was not the first person to launch LOHAS in Asia, he discovered that a Japanese publishing group had been using the term in Japan since 2002. Equally, Asian consumers were aware of the term, which had become synonymous with green living. “In Asia, the LOHAS movement almost had a cult following. It was seen as something outside of the norm, something that conscious, trend leaders were behind. Essentially, it was ‘cool,’” he describes. Adam immediately saw the marketing potential for a movement that was already deemed ‘cool.’ “The fact that it’s a consumer-led movement that no one is driv- ing really excited me,” he says. “I thought ‘now I have a great opportunity to take this one step further and give it shape and structure. I could make it the common language between businesses and consumers and ultimately, leverage this movement to make sustainability happen faster.’ Markets are all about finding a way to speak to people in a language they understand and here was a movement that was already doing that.” While Adam doesn’t take ownership of LOHAS as it is essentially a people-led movement, he has put in place a regional team of volunteers that know the most about LOHAS and are able to help businesses be- come more sustainable. He personally works with everyone from private equity funds to help them invest in sustainable businesses to small start-ups to help them launch in a sustainable way. “The ambition would be for our logo to be a free accreditation that consumers look for.” Two months ago, he launched “THE HUB by LOHAS” (, a free online networking portal for sustain- able businesses. The hub allows members to share ideas and information and tap into like-minded people to market their business. “I see LOHAS almost as a kindly uncle to many of these businesses,” Adam says. “Everyday I meet so many inspir- ing people who are not only setting up businesses but trying to do it in the right way. Through THE HUB by LOHAS we are trying to champion these people and help their businesses grow because if they do well, it proves to the world that we can continue to enjoy our way of life but we don’t have to destroy the world in the process.” Indeed, what makes Adam’s campaign so engaging is that his approach is intrinsi- cally different to the standard eco warrior; he understands that worrying about the planet is all very well, but ultimately, businesses and people still want to make money. Essentially, if it doesn’t make commercial sense, the whole concept will never really fly on a grand scale. “Operating sustainably is all about using less resources, which makes sense from an economic perspective as much as it does from an eco perspective,” says Adam. “I think we’re moving into a very different era now. There are more and more people in the world and more and more resources are needed. Those resources are becoming harder to find so if you rely on resources as a business and you don’t have the strategy to mitigate that, you are going to make less and less money.” FUSING THE SPIRITUAL WITH THE COMMERCIAL If anyone is going to change people’s approach to our world’s resources it is likely to be someone like Adam – a person who has been a key player in the corporate world, someone who has made decisions that have an impact on the planet and who has himself gone through a shift in the way he perceives our world. “Over “I am a believer that there is such a thing as global consciousness and I think that as much as we try to deny it, we are part of the natural fabric of the world.” – ADAM HORLER wellbeing
  10. 10. 1112011 AsiaSpa work in Asia. He is a genuinely persuasive character, so full of passion about what he does that he is able to sell his ideals and ethos to the very businesses that have been responsible for much of the destruction. He flits between discussing spirituality and profitability with the same positive tone, meaning his passion is infectious. Among all the dark stories in the press that suggest the human race is career- ing towards self destruction, the LOHAS movement is a ray of hope. It’s about empowering like-minded people to come together and bring about change. It’s about conscious people trying to educate those with a short-term view and it makes you genuinely believe that those black bub- bling rivers around Asia do not need to be a grim forecast of our future – people with good intentions can make a difference and breathe new life into our weak world. You can find out more about LOHAS in Asia by visiting the last 10 years, I’ve gone from being a rugby guy, who was very driven to climb up the career ladder as fast as possible, to taking a step back and considering what is important to me and what I’m really here to do.” Adam attributes part of this mental shift to meeting his wife, Ann, a yoga teacher. “Ann helped open my eyes,” he muses. “I remember visiting her at a yoga ashram once and as I walked in everyone was eating watermelon in absolute silence with an intense look of rapture on their faces. I discovered later that they were eating ‘consciously’ and thinking about all the different elements that had gone into creating that melon.” In instances like this Adam says his “rugby lad instinct” made him think these people were all “a bunch of hippies” but as he got to know them, he discovered that they were interesting people from all walks of life, who all shared an eye-opening view of the world and tried to live in a conscious manner. EVOLVING MENTALITIES “For me, it was incredibly inspiring to meet people who were so open and so in touch with their surroundings and the way they wanted to lead their lives. It made me change my mentality and I think that mental shift is slowly happening to a lot of people. I am a believer that there is such a thing as global consciousness and I do think that as much as we try to deny it we are part of the natural fabric of the world.The world is clearly in pain at the moment and at some very elemental level, I believe people’s mentalities are shifting and we are realising that something is not right.“ Indeed, Adam’s work with LOHAS is rooted in this idea that if the people that have already gone through this mental shift connect together, they can help other people reach this level of consciousness much quicker. Adam clearly has a deeply spiritual sense of our responsibility as humans to care for our planet but he doesn’t express himself like an “eco-hippie.” He speaks like a CEO and that is what is so exciting about his this page: Images courtesy of © opposite page: A LOHAS tree planting event in Singapore.