Last week, I had the pleasure of trying out the latest business venture of my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Christine McDannell. Walking into ecoChateau is like discovering a hidden oasis among the rows of drab office buildings of Mission Valley.
While there, I tried out their infrared sauna, sweated a ton, and felt incredible afterward. They sent me home with 4 days’ worth of organic green juice to drink on an empty stomach in the morning and before lunch and dinner to continue my body’s cleansing. I own a juicer and hate all the mess of keeping it clean, so having organic juice at just $10 for a 32 oz container works great for me!
Infrared saunas, and their close cousin, the detox footbath, have their share of naysayers that think they aren’t doing much for the body. Personally, I use these treatments as a nice add-on to enhance the diet, exercise and cleansing program I design for myself and my clients. Does infrared work? I like to base my results on how I feel.
After leaving the infrared spa, I initially had a slight headache from being dehydrated from all my sweating, but then continued drinking more water and the headache quickly went away. Then, while driving home, I felt happy and energized. It felt similar to a runner’s high.
To come fully prepared, I’d recommend wearing light, comfortable clothes and bringing a reusable water bottle that they can fill for you before and after your sauna time. If I were to improve the experience even more, I would love it if ecoChateau added a small shower to the private sauna room.
To learn more, I sat down with Christine for an interview about ecoChateau. Scroll down to read a transcript of the interview or click here to listen to an audio clip from the interview.
Here’s what I found out:
- San Diego Health Nut: Christine, I would love to hear what got you started with this new venture. I know you as the Eco-friendly Cleanology business, then you had a social media business. Every [business] has been a success. What started you with this third?
- Christine McDannell: Thank you – actually, this is my seventh venture, and all prior six are still in business. I essentially see something missing in the marketplace, and I want to start it. A lot of wellness centers are very dated, not luxurious. I wanted to take wellness and infuse luxury in it. Especially with Colon Hydrotherapy. It’s very clinical, it’s not luxurious – but I knew I could make it that way.
- SDHN: You say that’s now your most popular treatment? Is the clientele more women than men?
- CM: Yeah, I would say about 90% women and 10% male.
- SDHN: What would you say to men out there who may not have considered something like this before?
- CM It’s amazing, especially people into fitness. The men that come in are very fit, they’re military. It’s a great way to take care of your body from the inside out.
- SDHN: That’s how I see these wellness procedures – not vain and pampering, but helping my machine work more efficiently so that I can have more fun when I’m out there.
- CM: Exactly. We focus on detox vs beauty. We do have a few beauty services like waxing, but the majority like ion foot detox, ion cleanse, sauna, colon hydrotherapy – they’re all detoxing.
- SDHN: This juice looks awesome too.
- CM: Chef E, she’s a local organic chef here in San Diego, she delivers it fresh to our spa 3-4 days per week. It has all your power greens: kale, collard, chard, spinach, and some apple to take out the bitterness. Everyone’s surprised it tastes good.
SDHN: Yeah, I’ll buy something like this at the farmer’s market, so it’s awesome you can get a whole 32-ounce jug for $10. It’s all organic, no preservatives… So, I just finished a 40-minute infrared spa treatment. Can you tell me how this is different from a usual dry sauna?
- CM: The infrared penetrates your body on a deeper level. It puts it into almost a fever-state, and it speeds up its metabolism and sweat rate.
- SDHN: I was drenched after 15 minutes. I was thinking about in a traditional sauna, they’ll say, “please limit to 15 minutes”.
- CM: Right, because those are 160-170F, whereas these are 130F roughly, so you can stay in it longer. I don’t like to say it heats you from the inside out, but that’s kind of how it works.
- SDHN: I’ve heard about how doing saunas are good if you have a cold; you’re helping your body sweat out toxins the way you would if you had a fever, but you don’t have to be sick to get healthy.
- CM: Exactly. I had someone who came in with a horrible flu, and he literally emailed me 3 hours later saying “oh my gosh, I’m fine…”
- SDHN: The infrared is heating your body up for you so you don’t have to use your own energy to heat it when you have a fever.
- CM: Yes, and everyone says they have the most amazing night’s sleep. Your skin will be so soft too, it just opens everything up.
- SDHN: You said you started ecoChateau to fill a need in the industry. What about you personally? Do you feel like you’re a fan of these treatments?
- CM: Oh, so much so that I canceled my health insurance. I don’t know if that’s the smartest, but – I was spending all this money every month, I didn’t use it, I don’t believe in pharmaceutical companies, they’re a big racket – maybe I’m going too far off the cliff now. But being in this environment, changing my diet, drinking green drink; I have energy, I’m healthier, it’s awesome.
- SDHN: You definitely believe in it then.
- CM: Yeah, maybe too much! But it’s been huge. I was definitely a junk food eater and didn’t really – especially when you’re young, you think it’s fine; but over time, it breaks your body down.
- SDHN: For those of you who don’t know Christine, she’s 32. What got you back on track to being super healthy like you are now?
- CM: Being in this environment.
- SDHN: It wasn’t prior to starting the business?
- CM: No! It was all being in this environment.
- SDHN: Anything else to add?
- CM: I just love all the phone calls, emails, and Yelp reviews of how we’re actually making a difference in peoples’ lives and their health. I’ve never gotten calls like that – it just makes my day.