Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Body and Soul Re-energized: A chiropractic-based medi-spa

By Jack Kohane   

Features Business Marketing

Jennifer Pitre believes the right
path to good health is as much about looking good on the outside as it
is about feeling good inside.

Photo by Megan Morgan, Manouche Photography

Jennifer Pitre believes the right path to good health is as much about looking good on the outside as it is about feeling good inside.

“So whenever I visit my chiropractor, it’s to take care of my body as well as my soul,” says the City of Toronto public health nurse. “And that’s what I love about spending the day at My Chrysalis Medi-Spa –  it’s a great one-stop-shopping concept for wellness.”


In fact, she always looks forward to the long drive from her home overlooking the shoreline of Lake Ontario in west-end Toronto to have her monthly maintenance treatment for recurring back pain at Dr. Sheleena Jinnah’s office located near the foothills of the Oak Ridges Moraine in Markham, Ont., a distance of about 30 kilometres.

“I pass by other clinics en route to My Chrysalis, but I’ve been Dr. Jinnah’s patient for over 15 years, I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else,” nods Pitre, pointing out that after every medi-spa session she feels better about her total self. “The experts at My Chrysalis are so good that I now bring my whole family here. It’s a treat for us, we get re-energized again, and again, coming here.”

Having opened its doors three years ago, My Chrysalis Medi-Spa is riding the rising wave of popularity for spa therapies that’s sweeping across North America, and already has a long and noble history in Europe. But the notion of chiropractic-inspired spas offering patients a relaxing atmosphere of soft music, candlelit lounges, and calming waterfall features, and to indulge in luxurious treatments that have clinical value, is a relatively new phenomenon. My Chrysalis is among the first to introduce its benefits to Canada.

Dr. Sheleena Jinnah, DC, is a chiropractor and the founder and owner of My Chrysalis Medi-Spa, with its 4,700 square feet comprising two chiropractic rooms, an acupuncture treatment area, two massage rooms and ample headspace for aesthetics. The philosophy behind the spa is that inner peace is achieved through the harmony of mind, body, heart and soul and that one cannot be achieved without the others.

The staff at the spa currently includes a range of highly experienced drugless practitioners in chiropractic, orthotics, massage, acupuncture, nutritional counselling and weight loss.  As well, and equally important to the spa’s mission statement, for the outer self, clinical aestheticians, master stylists, hairdressers and colour technicians, full manicure and pedicure services, cosmetic acupuncture and a wide range of facials, anti-aging and full body skin treatments are available. 

“It’s the wow factor that generates discussion among people coming to our beauty and wellness centre,” smiles Dr. Jinnah. “Many are walk-in clients for our massage therapies, acupuncture (including anti-aging cosmetic acupuncture), hairdressing, aromessence facials, as well as the tea tree waxing services, and most are pleasantly surprised that we’re also a chiropractic clinic. That’s our philosophy – beauty and health go hand in hand, all of it provided under one roof.”

Spa Terminology

A full body, face and scalp treatment that helps reduce fatigue, stress and tension. It combines massage techniques, including Thai and Shiatsu, with the application of warm, enveloping aromatherapy balms. It can ease such conditions as colds, flu, bronchitis, headaches, PMS/menopausal complaints, poor circulation, and sinus issues.

Hot Stone Massage:
A healing therapy using warmed, smooth stones placed on the body at acupuncture points. Volcanic basalt rock is most commonly employed as these stones absorb and retain heat well. It is a soothing, relaxing form of massage in which the heat helps release tight muscles.

Indian Head Massage:
An alternative medicine massage therapy in which the head, neck, and facial areas are massaged with the purpose of manipulating energy channels. The goal is to clear blocks in these energy channels that cause a buildup of negative energy that is purported to cause ailments. The belief is when the energy does not flow properly, negative energy builds up, causing common ailments, including stress, pain and nociception pains and aches, and baldness or hair loss.

A holistic healing science, based on the concept of balance representing health. It focuses on living life naturally, addressing not only illness and treatment but also a complete way of life that describes the activities, diet and lifestyle that enhance life.

A big part of this clinic’s strategy to team building hinges on cross-referrals, which can be initiated by any of Dr. Jinnah’s 24 staff members, including aestheticians, hairstylists, nutritional counsellors, and massage therapists.

“It’s a kind of mutual benefit society we’re developing here,” nods RMT Lena Tchakmakian. “We are constantly educating our clients about My Chrysalis’s other services and products. Dr. Jinnah sends her patients to me, while I, in turn, suggest an appointment with Dr. Jinnah for those clients experiencing prolonged pain or suffering due to illness. We work together to expand our clientele base.”

Dr. Jinnah sees this cross-referral approach as the cornerstone of her medi-spa’s growing success. “I have worked with RMTs from the first practice I ever owned,” she states. “I feel they are a valuable tool in treating patients both with acute and chronic conditions. I  educate my patients so that they will understand, also, why massage therapy is important to their healing and how it makes a difference. And if patients understand and, therefore, comply with their treatment plan, you’ve won half the healing battle.”

But bringing the innovative concept of a medi-spa to reality is quite another battle, Dr. Jinnah admits, pointing out there are a myriad of challenges involved in starting a facility like My Chrysalis, which runs seven days a week.

One of the first things to do, she recommends, is to recruit the right specialists for the project – from architects who can design the right plan for a medi-spa, to product and service mix, branding, layout and design, spa staffing and management, and marketing.

“I have a good sense of these, though I am, by no means, an expert in all of them,” remarks Dr. Jinnah.

In order to cement the My Chrysalis Medi-Spa brand in the community, Dr. Jinnah’s marketing team has put together an effective campaign that includes a specially designed website that’s also an educational tool to reach new patients. As well, the marketing team has organized mailouts, newspaper notices, local Yellow Pages and Board of Trade magazine advertisements, and sandwich boards placed along main thoroughfares.

By far, the most effective marketing tool in this enterprise is word of mouth, according to Dr. Jinnah. She says it’s paramount to recognize the importance of looking at what your potential market wants and how that dovetails with your own strategy and vision.

“In the end, it’s about promising service excellence to your patients and then
staying focused on delivering that promise. Building trust does get people through the door, so you have to offer them what they want, while listening and discerning their needs from a holistic point of view.”

Mahboobe Ghorbani, a case manager for a local home care agency, agrees.
“I was having my hair done at My Chrysalis over a year ago and, in chatting with the stylist about my shoulder and back pain problems, she suggested I contact Dr. Jinnah. Well, she did such a marvellous job on relieving my aches, I’ve been a loyal patient ever since.”

As for new services Dr. Jinnah plans to incorporate into her mushrooming registry of remedies, she sees Eastern health and beauty treatments such as Ayurveda massage and mud baths as ideal fits for My Chrysalis.

“I’d like to expand the range of products we offer, and create some specific products of my own,” she says. “We already have proprietary recipes for some of the products we use in the salon area, for example. I’d love people to be able to take them home. When you take a whole person philosophy towards health and beauty, like we do, the possibilities are endless. There’s absolutely no shortage of ideas.”

kohaneJack Kohane is a Toronto-based freelance journalist who writes for several national health-care magazines and the National Post newspaper.

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