Turning Off and Tuning In

A weekend retreat at The Sanctuary Wellness Experience provides an opportunity to refocus and unwind

BY Robin De Ryckere and Tracy Duhs

In a world of constant connection and instant communication, the thought of a weak WiFi signal sounds to some like a horrifying hellscape. So how in the world can one completely and totally “unplug?”

At the beginning of the year, I was offered the opportunity to attend a 3-day local wellness retreat. While I was initially hesitant to attend, I found the experience to be utterly refreshing. Over the course of the 3-day retreat, I participated in daily yoga and meditation; received pampering treatments such as facials, body rolling, and other rejuvenating procedures; and enjoyed instruction on healthy eating and cooking. It was easier to unplug than I had anticipated.

Following the transformative weekend, I decided to have a postretreat chat with Tracy Duhs, Director of The Sanctuary Wellness retreat.

Robin De Ryckere: How did you come up with the concept for this retreat?

Tracy Duhs: The Sanctuary Wellness Experience was born out of necessity, Robin. As you know, San Diego is a city focused on health and wellness with savvy individuals who understand health. We have served the city for over eight years with our wellness therapies. Many of our clients didn’t want to go home after their treatments, though. They wanted the experience to continue, and it got me thinking: What kind of transformations could take place if our guests had time to let go of the world and just be for three days of complete mind, body and soul nurturing? That is where The Sanctuary Wellness Retreats began.


RD: How is The Sanctuary Wellness Experience different than other wellness or detox retreats?

TD: Our therapies are customized, integrative and therapeutic for the mind, body and soul. We appeal to all of your senses for an overall relaxation experience. We couple relaxation with therapies that are intentional and meant for long-term wellness goals to be reached. We are not just a fluff-and-buff type of place. If you are looking for real transformation, that is what we specialize in.

RD: How do you select your team of therapists?

TD: I hand-pick each therapist. All therapists, regardless of their training, spend three to six months in intensive one-on-one training with me before they are allowed to take clients. This ensures that our proprietary wellness modalities are congruent with each and every therapist. All the therapists we have here have been chosen because they are a master in their area of expertise.

RD: What are the benefits of the Castor Oil Treatment on the Bio Mat?

TD: The mat is actually an infrared mat that uses 30 pounds of amethyst crystals as the heat conductor. The warmth relaxes every muscle in your body while the castor oil is strategically placed in areas where the body needs to find freedom from stagnation and toxic build up. This is all done while you drift off to sleep with guided meditation. This treatment truly brings the mind/body experience to life.

RD: What’s the difference between a structural integrative massage and other treatments?

TD: The structural integrative massage seeks to help you find balance and alignment in your body. Many times, our body is out of alignment because of scarring in the tissue and fascia that is pulling muscle groups out of place. This kind of misalignment can be very painful for people and is a source of chronic back issues. We have had great success with pain relief in our structural sessions.

RD: Can you explain the benefits of the Accuscope treatment?

TD: Accuscope is like acupuncture but without the needles. It is a highly intuitive instrument that is designed to scan and treat pain without puncturing the skin in any way. The Electro-Accuscope system measures tissue conductivity and treats pain by introducing a gentle current similar to the body’s own electrical system, encouraging electrical conductivity and cell-to-cell communication in the body to enhance overall well-being.

RD: Why did body rolling make me feel longer and leaner?

TD: Your experience with YAMUNA body rolling was essentially a workout in conjunction with a personal massage. It encourages body elongation and toning. We focus on origin to insertion points of the musculature and elongating the shortened and tight muscle groups. It’s fun, transformational, and exciting all at the same time.

RD: Can you explain why stretching, yoga, and guided meditation are so important?

TD: Every body function is influenced by the mind. Negative thoughts, worry or anxiety can greatly impact our well-being. Beginning your day with a calm and intentional mind is essential for effectively receiving all of the healing modalities we offer here.

RD: Please tell me more about the Secret Celebrity Facial.

TD: Since opening The Sanctuary doors in 2008, this luxurious and exclusive facial has been a lock-and-key secret only offered to our celebrity clientele—until now. The facial includes a gemstone aromatherapy facial massage. That magnificent massage helps drain stagnant lymph nodes and reduce inflammation. The facial massage was followed up with a Myopulse, or microcurrent, treatment. Forget poisonous injectables. This is our famous NOTOX treatment. The myopulse instrument reads the muscle tissue in your face and determines the frequency needed to help encourage your musculature to awaken, leaving you with smooth and lifted skin. After myopulse stimulation, we apply Danne’s protein lifting and tightening mask. This mask hardens on your face, causing vaso-dilation which helps to wash the cells of impurities, encourage cell renewal, and offer a more lifted appearance. We finish off the treatment with an O2 infusion of CryoStem™ cells to help with the appearance of wrinkles and to hydrate the skin at a cellular level.

The Sanctuary Wellness Experience offers only a limited amount of retreats per year. Please contact The Sanctuary Wellness Experience to set up your transformational visit. About Town readers will receive a $250 credit toward extra spa services and products with a 3-night stay if they mention About Town Magazines at the time of booking. 

[ Visit, TheSanctuarySD.com or call 619.861.8351 for more information.