Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th U.S. Surgeon General (2002-2006), was a keynote speaker at the 2008 Global Spa Summit held at the Waldorf Astoria here in New York City last month.
He received a standing ovation!
Here is why I think there was such spontaneous and enthusiastic response to his remarks. Dr. Carmona, who is now Vice Chairman, Canyon Ranch and president, Canyon Ranch Institute, Arizona, said what many of us in the spa industry have been saying for years. The thing is that hearing Dr. Carmona say the words is different than you or me saying them. He spoke with complete conviction, authority, and enthusiasm to ‘make good’ on his words. We believed him. He ‘gets’ spas and the value they bring to society. At last. This is what we have been waiting for.
Here are a few quotes from notes taken during his session, Prevention and Global Health: The Vital Role of Spas.
“We are living in a ‘sick care’ system where we reward providers to wait until we get sick, and then we need to pay more to get better.”
“Most things I have treated as a doctor were preventable and due to sedentary lifestyles, negligence in life, poor diets, smoking, and drinking.”
“Health should not know any geographical borders.”
“Everyone can contribute to change the general health situation. The key is changing people’s behavior. Let’s embrace health and wellness. How do I stay healthy and how can I prevent myself from diseases? Everyone needs to come together as a team to change the health issues globally.”
“Awake the sleeping giant. Combine spa and wellness to prevent the reactive effect to sickness.”
And then his final observations which were music to all of our ears: “The spa industry is taking a very key role in changing the global health situation.”
After his remarks which included his expressed interest in a working relationship with our entire global spa industry, I responded on behalf of the delegation present that we would be very interested in working together as well.
I am happy to report that there is progress. His office called last week and we have a meeting set up next week to begin the dialogue and conversation. Dr. Carmona and the Global Spa Summit working together should be able to accomplish what neither would be able to do as well alone.
Hurray. Good news indeed.
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