A Metaphysical Moment: Canyon River Spa

When Canyon River Spa was destroyed by fire in January 2010, Heather Ripplinger’s vision of a holistic and proactive full service spa did not go up in smoke with it. “Everything was destroyed. Only a few things were salvaged such as the copper basin for the water wall at the entrance and an orchid plant.” Without missing a beat Heather saw the fire as an opportunity to re-work many of the original details of the Spa for better use. “The fire gave me an opportunity to change some of the things that I wanted to optimize from the first time around like installing a curved granite counter at the espresso bar instead of an angled one and the addition of another eucalyptus steam shower in the men’s dressing area. It gave me a chance to make the Spa even better.” Another positive outcome of the fire was the outpouring of support from the Bozeman community. “I had phone calls, even calls from my competitors, asking how they could help. Our community is truly special, it is so wonderful to know how many people cared.” The thought of not rebuilding the Spa didn’t cross her mind. “I had to do it, for the staff who are like family, my passion, my investors, the community. The fire made me grateful for my health, for my family. It’s just a business. It can be rebuilt. No one was injured.” Exactly 5 months from the day the Spa was destroyed it was re-opened.

When you walk into Canyon River Spa today two words come to mind-total relaxation. The soothingly familiar scents of sandalwood and chamomile fill the air from an essential oil aromatherapy blend. The sound of water gently splashing down the wall behind the reception area invites your mind to wander and let go. Pitchers of water dotted with organic fruit sit on counters and tables throughout reminding you that every little detail is looked after for your comfort-just like home.

“We are full service so that the client can come in, enjoy the spa and not have to go back to work feeling like they should go home and do their hair, makeup or take a shower. We provide all those amenities for them. This is a home away from home for our clients”, Ripplinger explains. The homey feel is evident in the high-end décor with its classic, timeless lines right on down to the sustainable cork flooring and warmed massage beds. Relax, it has all been taken care of, sink in and let go. And Canyon River Spa’s clients are able to do just that with incredible holistic benefits. A eucalyptus steam shower before or after a service brings the extra bonus of warming the muscles, providing flexibility and opening the pores of the skin. A glass of reverse-osmosis water after a lymphatic drainage massage provides hydration, helping the body to de-toxify.

“Instead of focusing on anti-aging we focus on aging gracefully,” Ripplinger continues, “If the body is hydrated it is more flexible, the elasticity of the skin is increased and the a “ches and pains are eased.” Other techniques like acupuncture, reflexology, shirodhara, vichy shower and body wraps are used in combination with products including essential oils from Europe and FDA approved homeopathic oral sprays for synergistic results. Ripplinger’s spa focuses on treating the mind-body-spirit through integration rather than as individual parts.  As a former Montana State University Nursing student Ripplinger learned valuable tools such as nutritional support and rehabilitating the body after an illness, but she wanted something different.

“The training I got in nursing school was useful and valuable but I wanted to focus on hands on techniques that are proactive and on preventing illness. Nursing studies alone weren’t the right fit for me.” She decided to take the knowledge she had gathered as a Nursing student and pursue holistic education. She found this education in Bozeman at Healthworks Institute. After graduating from Healthworks Institute as a Certified Massage Therapist her work expanded to include pre-natal massage, ayurveda, aromatherapy, reflexology and Doula services. Working as a massage therapist for 6 years she often referred her clients out for services she did not provide such as acupuncture and skincare. “I began to think that it would be great to put all of these services under one roof” and with that the planning for a Spa began. At the same time her husband, Chad Ripplinger, was deployed with the U.S. Navy to the U. A. E. and her days working with clients or taking care of their child begin to lack a feeling of connection, of family. She had things she had learned that she wanted to share. Ripplinger believed that she could fill the void through creating Canyon River Spa.
With her vision in focus the idea of a spa became a reality. Canyon River Spa originally opened in February of 2008. Ripplinger then concentrated on ongoing intensive staff training and team building. She provides instruction for her staff in product knowledge, aromatherapy and essential oils, basic reflexology and other modalities to ensure every client’s experience at the spa was complete.

In addition to an array of holistic healthcare services Canyon River Spa provides skincare and makeup services, a hair salon, nail technicians and an espresso bar. “This small team functions like a family. I provide support for my team like a family would to include pro-active holistic health activities like group acupuncture sessions. We are so proud to have such a wonderful and knowledgeable staff. The interaction with my great team and our fabulous clients brings me so much satisfaction.”

With Canyon River Spa operating in full swing again Ripplinger can shift her attentions to family and volunteer activities such as her position on the Board of Directors for the Intermountain Children’s Home. And of course, the always-evolving growth of Canyon River Spa is on her mind. “In the near future we will enjoy hosting more group activities like Ladies Night Out and bridal events, making them fun and affordable. You can bring a friend and enjoy the services we offer. I have also started to blog on the website.”
To keep up to date on Canyon River Spa’s services and upcoming events follow them on FaceBook and visit their website at www.CanyonRiverSpa.com.

Kathleen Johns is a Bozeman Holistic Advisor and Psychic with a desire to bring Bozeman’s metaphysical/holistic community into the spotlight monthly with her column “Metaphysical Moment”. Kathleen can be contacted at Kathleen@KathleenJohns.com