Purely You Spa: Providing a Path to Balance, Beauty and Well-BeingAug 31, 2011 04:16PM ● By Linda Sechrist
In 2002, Jennifer Alvarez, owner of Purely You Spa, in Naples, received a misdiagnosis of cancer that led her on a path toward making the world more “balanced” and healthy. She was a 21-year-old student at Florida Gulf Coast University when doctors gave her the diagnosis, after a biopsy revealed that the lump in her left calf was a type of benign desmoid tumor, also known as fibromatosis, that doesn’t metastasize, but can grow quickly and damage nearby tissues and bones. By the time Alvarez had surgery to remove it a month later, she could no longer walk.
A year of chemotherapy followed, and Alvarez informed her physician that she wanted to end treatments and do research so she could create a plan for healing that would include more gentle and natural methods. She has been free from symptoms for more than five years, and credits these alternative measures.
“This experience was probably one of the most challenging obstacles I have ever had to overcome, and certainly the most rewarding,” says Alvarez. “It was an opportunity to become more health-conscious and, through my own experience, help others on a grand scale.”
A self-described overachiever, Alvarez channeled her energy into a new career. After working at The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, as a massage and fitness supervisor in charge of the recreation department and training more than 150 employees throughout the hotel on exceeding guest expectations, she launched her own business, Purely You Spa. Starting with a handful of clients, the licensed esthetician and body-wrap therapist now heads a staff of 18 that uses only certified-organic products and is the official spa for the Florida Everblades hockey team.
Alvarez graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. In retrospect, the Neapolitan native recognizes the stressors that led to the breakdown of her immune system and deterioration of her health in college. While the successful scholar made time for studying, as well as extracurricular college activities and clubs, she forgot to schedule three important components of well-being. “My research taught me that sleep, balance and an alkaline, organic diet are essential for a healthy immune system,” notes Alvarez, who found her true passion for skincare while researching how to handle the acne caused by her chemotherapy.
Alvarez says that, despite the hardships, she wouldn’t give up any part of her past. “Not only did I need all of it to teach me that a balanced lifestyle is a necessity in order to enjoy good health, but it also led me to my own business, where I can use my entrepreneurial skills to create something I dreamed about: a place that men and women consider an aspect of their lifestyle, not just a place to go for an occasional facial, massage or manicure on a special occasion,” says the bi-linguist, who is fluent in Spanish. She now helps teens and adults by offering acne and anti-aging treatments and derives great satisfaction from helping them achieve clear skin and improve their self-esteem. “Skin care is a way of life,” advises Alvarez. “Everything you put on your skin enters your body. If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”
The spa also offers monthly classes and seminars on subjects such as an alkaline diet, anti-aging and detoxing from technology, among others. Annual memberships are available for individuals interested in achieving a balanced lifestyle. “Helping people look and feel their best is our goal at Purely You Spa,” says Alvarez. “Guests are offered important self-care tools that last a lifetime.”
Location: 3066 Tamiami Trail N., Ste. 302, Naples 34103. Call 239-331-8266 or visit PurelyYouSpa.com.