Do Deep Dive Into Our Partnership with Wellness Pioneers, THE WELL: A Conversation with Rebecca Parkeh, Co-Founder of THE WELL
A Conversation with Rebecca Parekh, Co-Founder of THE WELL
If we’ve learned anything from this tumultuous year, it’s that the joys of life are wholly dependent on our good health. That’s why there has never been a better time to announce THE WELL, a new holistic wellness destination at The Mayflower Inn & Spa that’s bringing an innovative approach to health to western Connecticut.
THE WELL is the brainchild of co-founders Rebecca Parekh, Kane Sarhan, and Sarrah Hallock, whose health club in New York City brings together all aspects of the wellness journey into a single space. There, doctors, practitioners, and health professionals (including yoga instructors and nutrition experts) treat guest ailments in a pioneering, integrated approach to maximize full-body wellbeing.
Now, a second location at the Mayflower Inn & Spa has brought THE WELL concept out of the city. Along with a new infrared sauna, cryotherapy chamber, and pool house, THE WELL at Mayflower Inn now offers custom-designed spa treatments, expert-led health coaching sessions, daily workshops, comprehensive weekly programming, and seasonal retreats to the Connecticut Countryside.
We chatted with Parekh, who dreamed up the original idea of THE WELL, about the inspiration behind the brand, the new collaboration with Mayflower, and what guests can look forward to in the coming year.
Where did your vision for The Well start?
The idea for THE WELL was born in 2009. By then, I had been working in finance for eight years. I’d grown up around meditation and Ayurveda (my mom was teaching yoga in the 70s when she was pregnant with me) so I was already familiar with and had an appreciation for wellness. However, as a 20-something person working at an investment bank in New York City, it was very challenging to find one place where you could do all of those things – to see a practitioner and take a yoga class, for example – and integrate them into my day to day.
During a business conference in Arizona, my coworker suggested that we go to a spa in Sedona for the weekend. There, I was really inspired by the powerful, transformative nature of integrated destination wellness and wanted to figure out how to bring that model to an urban environment.
So how did you get from idea to full-blown wellness brand?
It wasn’t until the spring of 2015 that I dusted off the idea. It became clear that not only did I still crave this experience as a consumer, doctors and healers were also looking to practice medicine this way. Functional medicine doctors wanted to collaborate with Chinese medicine and ayurvedic practitioners, physical therapists wanted to learn from yoga instructors.
Sarrah, Kane and I had all known each other socially and officially came together as co-founders in late 2016 to launch THE WELL in New York City. And now here we are!
It’s so exciting to see the brand grow beyond the original flagship. The setting at Mayflower Inn & Spa is obviously very different from the big city. Can you talk a little bit about the collaboration?
In some ways, the concept has come full circle in the best possible way. The property was already looking to bring in a wellness partner and what we were doing resonated. The partnership has allowed us to bring our integrated approach to life in a beautiful countryside setting, enabling guests to go deeper on their wellness journey through overnight retreats and experiences.
THE WELL New York, our flagship club in Manhattan, has acted as a kind of focus group for our community’s health needs and growing care team. With THE WELL at Mayflower Inn, we’ve been able to build upon what we’ve learned to enhance what is already an incredible spa experience by adding acupuncture, health coaching, ayurveda, physical therapy and stretching protocols, and even new approaches for the restaurant menu.
To be able to have a weekend retreat at such a world-renowned brand and hotel just a few hours outside New York City is a dream. There is such an amazing wellness community here in Washington, Connecticut. There’s something very special happening energetically – you can almost see the trees breathing.
What new treatment at THE WELL at the Mayflower are you especially excited about?
The Forest Craniosacral, one of our signature bodywork sessions for THE WELL at Mayflower Inn, is something that is near and dear to my heart. It is similar to the treatment I received in Sedona 11 years ago that created a powerful shift and switched on a lightbulb in my brain that led me down this path.
Craniosacral is a light-touch form of bodywork and very different from a deep-tissue massage. Your therapist taps into the rhythm of the Craniosacral fluid flowing in between the cranium, spinal cord, and sacrum to restore a sense of balance and ease, improve overall health and well-being, and release any energetic blockages.
Unique to the Mayflower, this powerful healing method is combined with the benefits of Forest Bathing and is delivered outside on an infrared heated table near five trees that are naturally arranged in sacred geometry. Evidence-based studies show that being in nature has a profound impact on your nervous system. During our Forest Craniosacral, guests can enjoy the benefits of the treatment alongside this gorgeous view on the property.
Are there any treatments that incorporate pieces of Connecticut or the property itself?
One of the signature treatments at the property is a Garden Scrub, which incorporates herbs and anything that’s seasonally grown in the chef’s garden. Evergreens, for example, are used during the winter. For the Milk, Honey, and Lavender massage, we’ve partnered with a nearby lavender purveyor and sourced the milk from a local farm. Lactic acid is a great exfoliator for the skin.
How do you feel about launching during such a turbulent time?
It’s certainly challenging to launch or do anything new amidst everything that’s happening in the world right now, but we feel so fortunate that we can offer these services at a time when people really need them. We have a vibrant community of guests in New York City and so to be able to offer day trips and overnight retreat experiences for those who are able to travel, it feels like a nice way for us to show up for folks when it’s been a really hard year. We all need more wellness.
Anything new on the horizon, especially in terms of more immersive retreats?
Yes, we are really excited about retreat programming and will offer a variety of seasonal experiences. Our first retreat – Reset 2020 New Year’s Experience – is being held over New Year’s Eve and is designed to help guests break free from stagnant energy and connect with their intentions for 2021 through movement, meditative reflection, rituals, and treatments.
We are also launching THE WELL Cleanse which is a 15-day, whole-foods-based reset. You can experience radical changes in the way your mind and body feel over the course of days (not weeks) thanks to gut-supportive supplements, a detoxifying protein powder, healthy recipes, and personalized Health Coaching. Created by our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frank Lipman and guided by a certified Health Coach, it’s designed to optimize digestive function, increase energy, and make losing weight more manageable. We’re very excited to bring this program to the Mayflower and will add more experiences like this in the coming months.