THE
S A N C T O R U M
STORY

In the mid-1980s I served for about five years The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as its founding Director of Professional Development. It was my conviction, then, that if our guests paid upwards from $250 per night, they were owed more than a tastefully appointed room and tantalizing menu. In other words, we, as Ritz-Carlton employees, needed to deliver a comprehensive “wellness experience” that would linger, with the desire to come back and experience more of it! And, if that experience was to be authentic, “genuine,” as we stated in our Credo, then it had to begin within the organization, with all members of the hotel’s staff. As a result, I positioned the course on Stress Management and Human Wellness as the very bedrock of the 16 subject Manager’s curriculum.

It was during this time with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company that I became familiar with the newly emerging, high-tech healing phenomenon called “vibro-acoustics” (Olaf Skille, Norway). I was introduced to Barry Oser, a conservatory-educated musician, who was experimenting with a recliner called Sound Chair. Frankly, I was “blown away” by the profoundly relaxing, even healing sensations of not only hearing, but also, feeling the rich texture of both music and nature’s sounds. Barry and I collaborated on the design of the SerenityChair, now in use in SANCTORUM SOUNDSPA.

Soon I began experimenting with various styles of music genres combined with sounds of nature, engaging the successive stages of beta, alpha, and theta sound frequencies, causing mind, body and spirit to be delivered into profound relaxation and that rare sense of deep personal peace, being centered, and truly “present” to the moment.

Perhaps strangely, I don’t find it mere coincidence that I found myself helping to shape a unique, genuine hospitality service culture in one of the world’s most prestigious hotel companies, while at the same time exploring ways of being more “hospitable” to the self through the medium of vibro-acoustics.

From the early 1990s on, I was privileged to be consultant to a number of leading global companies, in helping to guide their respective service cultures to be more intentionally hospitable, i.e., more joyful, hence more creative and productive. For more information on my consulting history in Transformational Development of fine hotel companies as well as other corporate cultures, please visit www.hospitality-consult-intl.com My consulting career allowed me to invest significant time, money and energy in my extensive R&D for SANCTORUM SOUNDSPA, producing impressive results.

My oldest son, Andy, fortunately recognized the immense value SANCTORUM could contribute to the well-being of people from all walks of life. He has been a huge help to me personally and professionally in launching SANCTORUM as a viable, if initially modest, spa-like enterprise in the spring of 2012. We decided to grasp the opportunity of joining an already established day spa, Rejuvenate Spa, in the downtown area of Atlanta at SunTrust Plaza, in “The Garden Offices.”

Upon entering either of our two “treatment rooms,” our clients usually express surprise, awe, and a little curiosity as they take in the darkened, yet cozy, expansive sight, sound and fragrance of this place. Curiosity aside, they want to settle in and “take off” – either on the “spacey” Sogno Massage Recliner, or the equally spacey SerenityChair. Though the actual SANCTORUM space is confined, once settled into either of our “magic chairs,” and several minutes into the sound/music, the feeling of one’s own “vast oneness,” one’s connection to the infinite universe, subtly comes into play, and just possibly, the hint of experiencing a sense of timelessness.

By the way, the word SANCTORUM is Latin for “holy,” and “whole.” We also get the word heal and health from the concept. As in “sanctuary,” a place set apart, to be in touch with what is whole in us and in the world, we seem increasingly to yearn for more “sanctuary” in our lives. The time of the late 20th and early 21st century has ushered us seemingly into an ever-expanding life experience marked by global change with the by-product of “information overload.” It is my hope that the SANCTORUM experience will contribute, in some small measure, to helping us find, and build, on our own wholeness, i.e., holiness, reconnecting us to what often feels like our disconnected selves and relationships.

Finally a few words about the selections of our music and sounds: The soundscapes for SANCTORUM differentiate from traditional spa-like music. The latter is calming, e.g., for massage or aesthetic treatment, to allow the client to “dis-engage,” to simply feel the soothing effects of the massage or facial. SANCTORUM soundscapes, on the other hand, are designed for the client’s engagement. These soundscapes are intentionally evocative, eliciting cherished memories, visions, and generally feelings of comfort, but also adventure, mystery, and, yes, deep, inner peacefulness. Each person experiences SANCTORUM’s vibro-acoustic sound-journeys in a very personal manner, whereby endorphins, those “feel-good neuro-transmitters” are released from the hypothalamus, the innermost part of the human brain.

Another prominent feature in almost all SANCTORUM soundscapes is the frequent interspersing of nature sounds and their respective vibratory sensations, e.g., gentle, rolling thunder and rain, sweeping wind, the crashing of ocean waves, etc. It has been said that along with ADD, many of us today seem to experience NDD (nature deficit disorder), hence, SANCTORUM's total sensory immersion experience.

Jurgen Ahlers,
Creator and President, SANCTORUM, LLC