The Powers That Be
A 90-minute drive from Beverly Hills, Ojai Valley Inn draws on cutting-edge science and ancient wisdom to inform a variety of healing spa treatments.

We may not have to think about it every day, but we have at some point considered our gut microbiome. From research published over recent decades, we can imagine the diverse communities of microbes living in the GI tract. When we suffer from digestion issues, there’s a probiotic to try or a diet to adhere to. Less common, however, is imagining such a community holed up on our faces.

Of all the various philosophies surrounding skincare, from hydration to exfoliation to regeneration, the school of thought focused on caring for the microbiome living on our skin is that less is more. The less we scrub and disinfect, the more our microbiome can thrive. Products should include just a few, clean ingredients to foster balance and diversity. Oils, for example, can remove makeup and sunscreen while leaving the skin’s lipid barrier intact.

Such is the science behind Marie Veronique skincare, at the 303-room Ojai Valley Inn with a 60-minute Lift & Tone Microcurrent Facial (from $275). The product line by chemist Marie-Veronique Nadeau, in collaboration with her daughter, a physicist and biomedical engineer, launched in 2002 and is formulated on the efficacy and safety of ingredients supported by years of academic research. The new treatment at the Spa Ojai includes an esthetic assessment and customized treatment plan to heal and rebuild the natural barrier of the skin.

Guests will soon see additional Marie Veronique treatments on the menu at the resort’s Spa Village, complete with a 31,000-square-foot spa with 24 treatment rooms, a gym, movement studios, two swimming pools, Spa Café, Artist College & Apothecary, and a colorfully tiled Kuyam. The latter is original to the complex, opened in 1997, and echoes the sweat lodge tradition of the local Chumash people. Individuals and small groups can book a 60-minute Kuyam Experience (from $125 per person for small groups; $250 for individual sessions) for access to the healing dry heat environment. During a self-guided detoxifying ritual that follows a traditional Chumash narrative, guests apply desert clay infused with essential oils and afterward drink herbal tea while their body temperature cools.

For another approach to mind-body healing, schedule a visit with Spiritual Counselor Nancy Furst, who began seeing clients at the resort in 2012 and in her work draws on the area’s Native American roots. Furst trained with Native peoples for seven years, learning traditions and ceremonies to inform sage rituals and meditation journeys featuring drumming and Native American prayer song. Furst also specializes in psychic readings using Native American wisdom cards and crystals.

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