July 31, 2008

Experience Rosehip Oil at Hills Health Ranch, Canada

Juanita Corbett could be Canada's answer to the Body Shop's Anita Roddick. Corbett, who owns the unique Hills Health Ranch in 108 Mile Ranch, B.C., has a touch of the eccentric, just like Roddick. She's a former Grand Ole Opry singer from Kentucky who found her calling as a homeopathic esthetician. The ranch is a weight-loss and de-stressing spa that's just like a good old-fashioned fat farm. Corpulent CEOs sometimes stay for months at a time.

It's also the place where Corbett manufactures her Canadian Natural Oils line of curative and beauty products, including her cult rosehip oil. When she and her husband bought the ranch in the B.C. Cariboo that so inspired artist Emily Carr, Corbett didn't know what to do with the 20,000 acres of prickly rosehips growing on the grounds. She thought the prolific plants an unwanted nuisance.

But you know the old saying, if God hands you rosehips, make rosehip oil. Corbett did some research into the weed and found it to be one of the Earth's most powerful healing herbs, with a high concentration of vitamin C. She began making rosehip oil using a cold press.

The rosehip-oil wrap and facial Corbett gave me is not a treatment I will soon forget. It started with a massage with a dry brush that looked a lot like a horse brush. (Very possible. Riding is one of the activities offered here.) Starting with my feet, Corbett dry-brushed her way up my body. She advised me to administer the same treatment to myself daily. (Invest in a natural bristle brush, she said. "It costs about 50¢, takes a few minutes a day and will not only increase blood circulation and remove dead layers of skin, but stimulate glandular hormones as well.") After I was sloughed soft, out came the rosehips. The oil was massaged into my body, then I was wrapped in a plastic sheet and heated blankets to warm me up. While I was slow-cooking, Corbett gave me a facial with more rosehip oil. Then she left the room for 15 relaxation minutes. The sweet aroma of the rose oil filled the small treatment room. I felt like Jeannie inside a perfume bottle.

Corbett and her staff are highly specialized and have a very Old World attitude to health. Beauty treatments are as much rehabilitation as indulgence. The facial included much examining of my skin with a magnifying glass and suggesting internal remedies for what ailed me. Liver and digestive problems, she guessed (correctly, as I do a lot of traveling), were giving me circles under my eyes, so she advised me to drink lots of water and eat yogurt with acidophilus, a friendly intestinal bacteria. After she unwrapped me, my skin was soft and fragrant and I felt so relaxed that I missed that afternoon's workout session.

Hills Health Ranch

Karen Burshtein, Weekend Post

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