Wellness Watch

  • Cold-Water Swimming Is Not Just for Crazy Polar Bears

    Polar Bear Plunge - The Plunge Brrrr

    Racing into frigid Coney Island water New Years Day

    {3 minutes to read} Cold-water swimming boosts your immune system and provides stress reduction and resiliency by shocking your system. Many studies have found that cold water swimming not only de-stresses the body physically, but also mentally. It can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine — neurotransmitters that can help reduce depression. Many cold-water swimmers have been able to increase their life expectancy and their overall quality of life. The intense shocking of the system increases antibodies and puts your body on alert. It boosts your immune system by increasing your white blood cell count. It increases blood circulation. In a warm environment your veins are enlarged, or vasodilated, but when you hit the cold, your veins vasoconstrict. However, the same amount of blood flows through your more restricted veins, arteries and capillaries, forcing a clean out with the blood flowing through restricted openings. Therefore, it is a great cleanser to your circulation system.

    Polar Bear Plunge Mascot


    Given all these benefits, I decided to join the Polar Bear Club in Coney Island, the oldest cold-water swimming club in North America. What an invigorating way to start the year. People ask, “How do you get past the initial shock where every cell in your body is telling you to get out of this abnormal environment?” Once you stabilize your breathing, you reach a calmer state. But after 10 minutes you need to get the hell out of the water to prevent hypothermia. On colder days, I swim as fast as I can in order to stay warm. After 5 minutes in frigid waters, I come out of the swim feeling so alert. There’s just such clarity — almost like a new dimension.


    Polar Bear Plunge - Thermalism

    Thermalism at home


    A friend recently asked, “What if you’re not a Polar Bear? Is there a way to reproduce the health benefits?” You can easily implement this “thermalism” at home to achieve a similar effect. Take a warm shower, then turn the dial over to the extreme cold and stay there for 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle three times, staying under the cold water for as long as you can, increasing the time under the cold water with each cycle.
    What are you waiting for? The Polar Bear Club meets every Sunday at 1pm during the cold months, so come join us! Or practice “thermalism” at home.



    Robert Henry

  • Wellness Architecture and Interior Design : The Rumson Residence

    Last month a new magazine called Well Home made its debut. Robert D. Henry Architects was invited to discuss wellness architecture and a recently completed estate in Rumson, New Jersey for a young family.

    The Living Well Home by Robert D Henry

    Wellness (Rendering: Molly Satterfield)


    Michael and Michelle Kutsak approached us with the goal of creating a healthy home for them and their three children. As the founder of a successful sleep health company, longevity and wellness is in Michael Kutsak’s DNA. He later sold the business and embarked on a project to create his dream home with his wife, Michelle. Their goal was a home featuring a range of wellness facilities, including a couple’s massage suite, hydrotherapy exercise pool, fitness arena, steam and sauna and the desire to focus firmly on wellness as a lifestyle. Michael discovered the perfect location, a three-acre parcel of land in New Jersey, with views of the Atlantic.

  • “Wellness Design” for Multi-Family Housing

    Wyndham Condominiums, Garden City NY.

    Wyndham Condominiums, Garden City NY.

    {3 minutes to read} Why are we integrating wellness-design for the multi-family housing sector?


    It’s not just about updating finishes today… Residents want “wellness” architecture and interior design that promote a healthier lifestyle. We are designing the amenity spaces for three notable 150+ unit buildings in the New York City area. The original purchasers were baby boomers, who are obsessed with quality of life and longevity, in addition to increasing the value of their real estate. This “personal sustainability positioning” (PSP) is very appealing to both younger and older purchasers alike. (more…)

  • ISPA Conference + Expo Speaker = Bob Henry


    {1:42 minutes to read} I was recently invited to speak at the International Spa Association (ISPA) conference and expo, which was held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.


    The title of my presentation was Design Trends that Bring Clients + Revenue.


    During the session, I presented seven different spa and wellness case studies, where revenue and client share were increased by design. The trends discussed included:


    1. Make-Over – Mandarin Oriental – Miami, FL
    2. Problem Solver – Jumeirah Talise Spa – Guangzhou, China
    3. Tale of Two Cities – Obagi Beverly Hills / Palm Integrated Health – St Louis, MO
    4. Full Immersion – Setai Wall Street – New York, NY
    5. Guest Circulation – Vdara Health and Beauty – Las Vegas, NV
    6. Less is More – Old Post Office – Washington, DC
    7. The Future of Spa – QC Terme – Governors Island, NY


    Each facility provided strategic touch-points, while a common thread emerged: a spa’s regionally based treatments and programs should ultimately drive the design of your business, while providing an impactful guest experience.


    Do you have other insights about increasing profits through design to be shared with architects and designers?


    Healthy regards,


    Robert Henry


  • Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule

    Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule The 16,000-square-foot space has been transformed into a healthy living mecca for the mind, body and soul! Saks scoured the “wellness industry” and created a comprehensive list of their favorite wellness related brands, eventually selecting just 20 vendors for their loyal clientele. Everything from boutique fitness classes, manicures + meditation and athleisure gear; yet the winner went to Breathe and our Salt Capsule™ designed by “wellness architect” Bob Henry:

    Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule


    Halo-therapy, or salt inhalation therapy, appeals to my wife, Nancy, who has eczema and my son, Bo,  who suffers from allergies and asthma; for me it is a mood enhancer. After trying a series of sessions at Breathe – NYC, my family experienced benefits, so I decided to design a custom booth for salt inhalation that supercharged the delivery system. Spending 10 minutes in our 4’x 3’ Salt Capsule™ provides my family with the same health benefits as spending 2 hours at the ocean.



    Saks Fifth Avenue Loves Our Salt Inhalation Capsule 

    I ordered a capsule for our home. It takes the same area as a shower and requires only a 110v. outlet connection. Our family decided that we didn’t need another car in the driveway and instead opted for the health benefits of salt inhalation. The cost is $14,800. It’s improving Nancy’s eczema, and Bo is no longer sleepy from his allergy medication, which he has since stopped. I’ve decided that I will do my daily 10-minute meditation each morning in our new Salt Capsule.™


    Try out the Halo-therapy at Breathe on the 2nd floor of the Saks Wellery and let me know if getting “Salted” helps your psoriasis, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections, snoring, or just helps reduce your stress and fatigue, as it has for me and my family!”


    To read more about the Saks Wellery, click the link below:

    Now at Saks: Salt Rooms, a Bootcamp and a Peek at Retail’s Future