Swedish Spa Specialists

Raison d’Etre – ‘the reason for being’ – is a Swedish based company specialized in setting up tailor-made spas for leading hotels all over the world, such as the world-renowned Aman resorts, which shares their vision to get healthy and feel good about yourself.
Within this industry they are recognized as a high-profile spa developer and operator striving for excellence in customer care.
“Our geographical location in Sweden is – with today’s technology – really of little importance,” says Jenny Hagberg, Director of Business Development, who visited the Wellness Summit in Hua Hin as guest speaker.
The spa consultant’s kick-start came already in 1999 when the first spa opened in the Maldives and was voted the Best Resort Spa in the world by Conde Nast. Raison d’Etre has since been involved in numerous projects, including the spa at spa at Amanpuri in Thailand, and received many awards. The Hotel Tylösand, which recently re-opened in October, was the team’s first project in Sweden.

Lightning up people’s lives
While people are increasingly caring about their own well-being and as spa guests are increasingly seeking wellness beyond just pampering, Raison d’Etre has been going much deeper already since its start to heal imbalances caused by our demanding modern living, and to assist their customers in finding balance and regaining harmony in their lives. Holistic environments are created that address the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual sides.
It is their basic outlook where meditation and healing is one of their large pillars which permeates their whole business, making this spa consultancy standing out from most in an industry which is in it self expanding in continual overdrive to meet the ever increasing market demand.
At Raison d’Etre they walk their talk, in assisting customers and each others with a better quality of life.
“It’s about learning to embrace our own existence, to find contentment and joy in just ‘being’. It sounds simple but it’s an enormous challenge for many,” says Jenny.
Jenny, who had a life-changing experience some years ago, believes that so many people are living their lives with true awareness; without consciously reflecting on their actions and decisions.
“That is why we believe in lighting lights. To us this simply means helping to illuminate the minds of the people we meet; helping them to ‘open their eyes’ and heighten their awareness – both internal and external.”

Healing starts with listening
Raison d’Etre teaches its therapists to listen to their clients’ stories. The clients, on their side, learn how to connect the emotional to the physical and listen to their body languages.
“Everyone has their own path they need to follow. We’re all different with different needs. For some yoga may be the best way, for others it may be healing treatments, going for a walk or simply taking a little time out for reflection. Our role is to be a catalyst. Our gift is helping people to find their path,” she says.
“Listening to the guest is the one of the most important aspects of therapy. It’s not just about the verbal communication; it’s also about listening to what the body is saying.”
She explains that Raison d’Etre differ from other spa consultants in that they actually work with healing in a natural way, and make everything customized for each place.
“Each concept is developed from scratch and tailored to blend with the property. As professionals in both business and therapy we understand all facets of the industry. As such we never promise anything that we can’t deliver.”
Whether or not healing is on the menu, it is always there in the therapists’ ability to heal.
Jenny gives the following example regarding the healing difference:
“Different therapists can give identical treatments, stroke for stroke, using the same techniques. One, however, may leave you feeling indifferent while the other blows you away. The difference comes from the hands and heart of the therapist. There is such a clear distinction between a therapist who loves what they’re doing, nurtures their guests and truly wants to help them and one who just goes through the motions, performing the massage mechanically. We select our therapists very carefully, train them in various healing techniques and ensure they are passionate about their work.” 
At their spas, customers coming only for an escape or pampering gets the healing as a deeper meaning, which often results in increased numbers of much sought-after returning guests.
But depending on the location, the word ‘healing’ can be a bit frightening and it can sound a bit strange and way out there. So sometimes it is not on the spa menu and instead there unexpressed.

The passionate spa-guests
There is an increasing ‘Spa IQ’ group – those “extremely knowledgeable and thirsty” guests looking for a health-enhancing, or even life-changing, spa experience and expecting more than just a manicure.
“Statistics still show that the majority of guests do want to be pampered. But the numbers are changing. There is a large group of passionate spa-goers who still expect the same level of service but also want to see and feel results. They are looking for a tangible change. They also come to learn; to be shown something practical they can do for themselves at home, a way to continue the healing process,” according to Jenny.
Tailoring their services to this core group Raison d’Etre stands ready to heal 21st century man and goes the extra mile in always settling for great, not only for good.
“Spas have so much to offer people, but it is important that the guest understands the limitations of the therapists – they are not doctors or psychologists. For people who are pushed to their limits, who are surviving on adrenaline, a spa is still the perfect place to begin to change. They offer such a wide variety of therapies and exercises to suit all tastes and needs. Most people leave saying: ‘That felt amazing. It was just what I needed’. They feel an immediate difference and want to know how to take it further. We are more than happy to create a programme for them during their stay and offer suggestions as to how they can continue when they return home.”
Finding and keeping the balance is increasingly a challenge in general for society and people, agrees Jenny.
“We are becoming increasingly disconnected from our own bodies. The mind somehow detaches and we loose our sensitivity. We begin to ignore the small warning signs until it’s too late. Health is about finding a balance; it’s about creating a unity in mind, body and soul.
At the same time Jenny is seeing strong new awareness and she finds that most people live a healthy lifestyle in major cities like Stockholm these days.

The Yoga Wave
Jenny’s own background is the gym and fitness industry which she still keeps one foot in and does some instruction from time to time (and also gives massage as a therapist). This sector, she confirms, has changed character in Sweden during the last four years and developed into a more sound and health-oriented business, where yoga has simply exploded as the ‘new’ modality.
“There’s nothing new about yoga. It’s one of the world’s oldest practices. What is new is its global popularity. The resurgence of yoga no doubt reflects the increased need for people to find balance within their lives.”
Yoga and mediation are large elements today everywhere and sought-after also at the spas. In fact yoga can be found as a morning activity at hotels. Raison d’Etre has them on offer in most places.
Asked bout the company’s role in society Jenny replies that the impact is big.
“Every encounter has an affect on the people involved. It sounds trivial but it’s very important in what we do. Our purpose is to help people change their lives for the better. Our contact with people, therefore, must always come from a healing space.”
On the drawing board is Raison d’Etre’s own place.
“We have a very clear vision of what we want. I’m not sure ‘spa’ would be the right word to describe it, but it will certainly be a place of healing”

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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