Passion Points: Spa/Wellness
In many ways, London-based aesthetician Eve Lom has been a citizen of the world since she was ninteen, in 1968, when Russia invaded Czechoslovakia and she left her native country for Paris. After living in France for twelve years, Lom moved to London with her husband, the actor Herbert Lom (best known for his roles in The Pink Panther) and launched her business as a skin-care consultant. Today, her highly rated line of beauty products is sold worldwide, and her distinctive facials are offered at the spas of such top hotels as the Dorchester, in London, and Killarney Park, in Ireland. Fluent in English, French, Italian, Czech and Russian (she wrote her thesis on Tolstoy), Lom considers herself a permanent student, whether she’s learning about different cultures on her travels or studying alternative medicine to develop new treatments. In a recent conversation with Indagare, she spoke frankly about what defines a great spa and why Winvian, a new resort in Connecticut, was the perfect place to introduce her facials to an American audience.
What do you remember about arriving in Paris in 1968? The beginning, when I was trying to learn a new language and way of life, was difficult because I felt extremely isolated. But something interesting happens when you lose your country: you become driven to forge a new identity for yourself. Once I met my husband, we traveled all the time, and it was then that I began to grow accustomed to the idea that I would be at home in many places . . . kind of like the clothes I wear are always changing while the person underneath doesn’t.
How did you become interested in the field of beauty? On a trip to Austria in the early 1980s, I happened to sit in on a meeting about lymphatic disorders and learned about lymphatic drainage massage, a technique that was being explored in countries like France and Germany. I brought it back to England and was one of the first people who offered this type of massage there. I still use it in my facials.
What exactly is lymphatic drainage? As you know, the lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system. The lymph nodes clear the body of toxins and infections. With a gentle massage, you can stimulate these glands and unblock the channels. For example, a puffy face can be drained and relaxed with this type of massage.
How does this technique fit into your overall philosophy? To me, beauty is not about how many products you pile on but about the relationship between the body and the skin. You know the expression, Show me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are? I have always thought of it as, Show me how you feel, and I’ll tell you what your skin looks like.
Have you explored other skin-care techniques? I’m always studying in conjunction with my work. I’ve tried aromatherapy, reflexology, Rolfing—lots of different things. I also went to China to learn about acupuncture, which I know is popular and successful, but I found it a bit invasive. Right now I am fascinated by CranioSacral Therapy, a method of alternative medicine based on membrane manipulation that was primarily developed by Dr. John Upledger, who heads the Upledger Institute, in Florida. It’s a bit like discovering a key to the human body, an endless source of information I’m still learning about.
What in your eyes makes for a successful spa experience? I don’t understand when people plan their spa retreats as though they were punishing their bodies, whether it’s weight loss or toning or detox. I don’t want anyone but me to fuss about my health. I prefer to try and eat well every single day so that I don’t have to cleanse my body at a spa once a year. A spa experience should be about truly enjoying yourself and indulging in things you don’t normally have time for.
How did your facials end up on the spa menu at Winvian? The couple who managed the resort until recently knew the general manager of the Dorchester, and he recommended me to them. I was reluctant at first, but as soon as they told me about the project and about how unique it was, I wanted to be a part of it. I went to Winvian for about a week to train six therapists at the spa. In my opinion, the resort has everything a successful spa should have: luxurious treatments, good hands that perform the treatments, great food and a beautiful setting.
Do you sample and try different beauty regimes when you travel? Yes, and it always makes me appreciate our differences. For example, a friend and I recently traveled to India for a week of Ayurvedic treatments. Turns out, this philosophy really doesn’t suit me. I love meat, so the idea that we should eat only vegetables didn’t make sense. I also wasn’t a fan of the oil treatments. Which is not to say that I don’t respect and appreciate a person who subscribes to this lifestyle. It just wasn’t for me.
What are some places in the world that you love? I feel very comfortable in Japan. My products are sold in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kyoto, so I visited these cities and discovered that the Eastern culture really suits me. I was also amazed at how serene I felt. Tokyo is one of the most hectic, polluted and noisy places in the world. But the Japanese have such an enormous sense of color, shapes and textures, and the exquisiteness of the details made me feel quite peaceful. And tasting Kobe steak for the first time was a transporting experience!
I also love Vienna and Munich, mostly because I am a huge opera fan. In Munich, there’s this little jewel box of a theater called the Cuvilliés, where I saw a performance of Strauss’ Capriccio. When I retire, I want to tour all the major opera festivals for an entire summer.
Where did you travel most recently? I visited Mauritius, where I stayed at Hotel Prince Maurice (www.princemaurice.com), and for once in my life I didn’t try to learn anything new or do too much. I just went to relax, which was probably a first for me. My favorite part was doing Tai’ Chi on the beach at 7 A.M. every morning.
And where are you going next? This July I’m going on an Oceania cruise with my sister. We’re going to see Denmark and Sweden, as well as St. Petersburg. I have never been on a cruise, and I’m one of those people who constantly need to discover things and be challenged. So I’m curious to find out whether I’ll like it or whether I’ll want to fly back to London two days after departure.
Read a review of Winvian
Read an interview with spa experts
Read a member’s postcard on the Ashram
For advice or information on spa programs or to book a spa trip, contact our bookings department by calling 212-988-2611 or by sending an inquiry.
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