Spas: Preventive Measures

<< Back to Robb Report, September 2007
  • Shari Mycek

Like most people who are diagnosed with cancer, Oklahoma City real estate

developer Warren Thomas was shocked when he received the news four years ago

that he had the disease. “I work hard, I play hard, and I’m a type A

personality,” he acknowledges, “but I’m also an avid runner and have always been

vigilant about my health.”

Since being successfully treated for prostate cancer, Thomas, who is in his

60s, says he has become even more health conscious. So he was particularly

intrigued when he heard about Biophysical250, a comprehensive blood test that

measures more than 250 elements in the blood that may be affected by disease or

other medical conditions. This year, Canyon Ranch became the only spa company to

administer the test. According to the company that patented the test, the

Biophysical Corp. of Austin, Texas, by using one blood draw that fills five

vials, Biophysical250 can detect various indicators that a person is at risk of

developing cancer, heart disease, or autoimmune disorders. It also can reveal

rare conditions such as excessive storage of iron, which usually goes undetected

until a person suffers liver or heart damage. “Based on test findings, the spa

staff works closely to customize a lifestyle plan and road map to health,” says

Dr. George Rodgers, a cardiologist and the president of Biophysical Corp.

Such a technical approach to holistic health probably would have seemed like

a science fiction ideal to Mel Zuckerman when he opened Canyon Ranch in 1979.

Then a 49-year-old builder and real estate developer, he was carrying 40 extra

pounds and suffering from asthma, high blood pressure, a hiatal hernia, ulcers,

and diverticulitis. “I was sedentary, never exercised, and had poor nutrition,”

he says. But following his father’s death from lung cancer (the elder Zuckerman

was a cigarette smoker), Zuckerman checked into a California health spa. He

planned for only a 10-day visit, but then he extended his stay for another

month. Afterward, he purchased a former cattle ranch in Tucson, Ariz., and broke

ground on what he described as a vacation fitness resort. “My banker puffed on a

cigarette and said, ‘No booze, no smoking? Who’d go to a resort like that?’ ”

recalls Zuckerman, who nevertheless received the loan he requested. Soon

thereafter Zuckerman opened a second location in Lenox, Mass., and more recently

he established SpaClubs at the Venetian in Las Vegas; at the Gaylord Palms near

Orlando, Fla.; and aboard the Queen Mary 2.

In Tucson earlier this year, a group of executives test-drove the

Biophysical250, which Rodgers calls “the biochemical version of full-body

imaging without the radiation.” Rodgers says the test provides an extensive

survey of what is going on in your body to help address conditions before they

become health problems. “Usually our medical paradigm is symptom-driven,” he

explains. “We get a headache or we experience chest pain, and we go to the

doctor to figure out what’s wrong. Biophysical250 shifts the paradigm by helping

to catch illnesses while they’re still asymptomatic.”

Thomas, who did not take the test at Canyon Ranch, received results that

confirmed he was cancer-free. However, the test did raise some concern about

potential cardiovascular health problems, which he is diligently addressing with

a controlled diet. The Biophysical250 test costs $3,400, and it is not covered

by medical insurance. But as Thomas notes, “That’s still less than one day in

the hospital.”

Canyon Ranch, 800.742.9000, www­
Biophysical Corp.,

800.532.7092, www­

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