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'Water therapy offers amazing health benefits including detoxification, relaxation, and rejuvenation, in that order.'

What’s it like to own a spa? A Q&A with Laura and Rena Polley, the sisters behind Body Blitz Spa for Women

Body Blitz is our favourite spa escape in downtown Toronto. Have you been? YOU MUST GO! For years we’ve been heading to its Adelaide Street West location when in desperate need of a relaxing break from chaotic daily life.

Recently, Body Blitz opened a second location on King Street East. Like the original, the new Body Blitz offers a breathtaking space where you can lounge and rejuvenate on five split-levels exquisitely laid out over 22,000 square feet. Dead Sea warm salt water pool, hot Epsom salt pool, cold plunge pool, aromatherapy steam room, and an infrared sauna make up the water therapy circuit; we usually order a smoothie, do three or four laps,
and take breaks to read on the lounge chairs in our robes. It’s called Body Blitz, but we think of it as body bliss.

Running a spa sounds so tranquil and dignified, but we know there is a ton of work going on behind the serene setting. So we caught up with Body Blitz founders Laura and Rena Polley to see what spa life is really like, and find out why the sisters were headstrong on keeping it a space for women only.

SDTC: What made you decide to open a water spa?

Laura and Rena: We had visited numerous thermal spas in Europe and believed there was a market for this type of spa in Canada. The Body Blitz concept is based on the Asian and European baths, but with an urban twist.

SDTC: Why have you chosen to keep Body Blitz for women only?

Laura and Rena: It was never a consideration to have men at Body Blitz. I wanted to keep Body Blitz a place where women can feel comfortable and relaxed. We don’t, however, blame guys for being jealous!

SDTC: In countries like Sweden, Germany, and Iceland, spa life and water therapy are part of people’s everyday routines. Why, in Canada, do you think we’ve been a bit slow to embrace spa culture?

Laura and Rena: The difference, certainly in Toronto, is that most Canadian cities do not have natural hot springs, which are everywhere in Europe, Iceland, etc. We also tend to be more conservative in embracing the “bathing ritual.” I think educating our clients on the health benefits of Body Blitz (as well as word of mouth) has helped Canadian women embrace the importance of water therapy and the experience of communal bathing.

SDTC: You run two water therapy spas—is that relaxing? Do you ever get time to enjoy them?

Laura: We have very good people who are involved in the day-to-day business, so it is easier for us to relax. Rena and I use the waters and have treatments regularly. That is how we relax—that, as well as surrounding ourselves with family, friends, and lots of laughter.
Rena: Yes, we often take our families to the spa when it is closed for holidays.

SDTC: How do the body treatments at Body Blitz differ from other local
spas?

Laura and Rena: We scrub, massage, and moisturize — head to toe. They’re simple, excellent body treatments and massages. Our clients say they haven’t been that clean since their mothers bathed them.

SDTC: Why is water therapy something we should do?

Laura and Rena: Water therapy offers amazing health benefits including detoxification, relaxation, and rejuvenation, in that order. If the body is healthy, it shows from the inside out. It is very important to sweat out toxins for long-term health (and beauty as well). Dead Sea salt helps promote pain relief and improve joint mobility, as well as gives relief from skin and rheumatic disorders, aids in the elimination of toxins, helps replenish the body with vital nutrients, and helps relax tired muscles. The Epsom salts help relieve muscle pain, reduce inflammation, and help muscles and nerves to function properly. The magnesium content improves sleep and concentration, and helps regulate more than 325 enzymes in the body. Finally, the cold plunge pool increases the body’s energy level and tightens pores. Alternating between hot and cold keeps your temperature and heart rate at healthy levels.

SDTC: As a successful entrepreneur, what’s your best advice for someone starting a business?

Laura and Rena: Have a business plan! This is an absolute must. Also, have the financing in place before you start any new business.

SDTC: What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Laura: Rena and I love to hear the beautiful stories of our clients. We are so happy we can make women feel so good! And obviously financial success is important to me as well.
Rena: Watching women of all ages and race, laughing, soaking, resting and filling our spa with humanity.

SDTC: What would you like to say to women who have never been to Body Blitz, or never indulged in a spa treatment?

Laura and Rena: For women who don’t indulge in spa treatments because they don’t usually have the time or resources: find some time and take the plunge (literally). Come try our water circuit; it’s a unique and relaxing experience. You’ll be hooked on the first visit! Once you have been Blitzed you will understand how important it is to take time for yourself and feel the benefits of Body Blitz. You just have to try it once to realise how important it is to relax and replenish. Also, an afternoon of quality time with your girlfriends at Body Blitz is a spa treatment in itself.

Body Blitz East is located at 497 King St. E. (east of Sackville St.), Body Blitz West is located at 471 Adelaide St. W. (east of Portland St.) 

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