With its Executive Health Program, Canyon Ranch Resort raises the mind-body fitness bar.

Many trips, the good ones at least, leave lasting memories. Very few, though, have the power to really change your life. My visit to Canyon Ranch was a life-changer. It’s affected how I eat, how I work out, and most importantly, how I balance work, play, family, and health.

I was lured to the Canyon Ranch Resort in Tucson, Arizona, not for their world-renowned spa treatments, fitness classes, and healthy cuisine, but for their Executive Health Program, an amped-up total body physical and health package that leaves you with a complete picture of your overall health and well-being, with recommendations on how to improve both.

Even weeks before I left, the prep work began. I filled out questionnaires about my health and my goals and spoke at length with the Clinical Nurse Manager in Tucson, Lu Lockwood, who reviewed the paperwork and helped me navigate the resort’s 78-page guide to services and 24-page schedule of activities — the latter, I discovered, being an indispensible tool for planning your day once at the resort.

Shortly after our conversation, Lockwood provided me with a day-by-day itinerary that included not only my requisite tests and appointments, including meetings with a nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and life coach, but also a suggested roster of classes, treatments, and lectures. Would a 100-minute “Nature’s Anti-Aging Ritual” treatment after a packed day of physical exams suit my liking? And how about a facial following the exhaustion-inducing cardiacmetabolic stress test? Clearly Lockwood had learned a lot about me on our call.

I got my first taste of Canyon Ranch on a brisk but sunny Sunday afternoon. The grounds of this desert resort are expansive, with various one-story buildings dotting a hilly, well-manicured landscape populated by the occasional reflection pond. The two-story spa building is the nucleus of the resort; it’s where the gyms are located, classes are held, the spa is housed, and group walks and hikes begin. It’s also where I officially began checking services off my schedule with a private meditation session — a great introduction to the mind-body connection that Canyon Ranch so emphasizes.

“The mind-body connection is seemingly new to medicine, yet it is a tradition that is rooted in 5,000 years of experience,” said one of Canyon Ranch’s on-site physicians, Dr. Param Dedhia, who added that we need to “realize that the power of our thoughts and emotions such as love and laughter can offer much healing.”

My 75-minute appointment with Dr. Dedhia was the longest face-to-face appointment with a physician I have had in my life (and mind you I have given birth three times). This first meeting — and there would be a final review meeting to go over my week at Canyon Ranch — included a consultation, complete exam, and a bone density and body composition analysis that involved taking a ghastly-looking but informative head-to-toe X-ray scan of me to get an accurate fat and bone density reading of every region of my body.

The results of the next day’s blood tests, plus a grueling cardiometabolic stress test that looked at my heart and lung functions, prepped exercise physiologist Dr. Michael Hewitt to devise an accurate-to-the-heart-rate workout plan for me, one that he made sure fit into a busy schedule that includes a job and a family, to get me from “healthy” — my diagnosis, thankfully, from the Executive Health Program — to truly fit. Fortuitous, then, that I was at Canyon Ranch, with an almost endless array of classes and hikes and healthy food, to start my new and completely customized plan for a healthy lifestyle, one that I am quite pleased to note still remains a part of my life.

The Executive Health Program is offered at Canyon Ranch’s Tucson, Miami, and Lenox, Massachusetts, locations, with prices beginning at $3,500 in addition to standard package rates. 

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