The San Francisco Chronicle recently visited The Refuge Spa at Carmel Valley Athletic Club. Axel Binneboese, General Manager, has a very clear and experienced understanding of many of the elements the authentic sauna experience. We applaud his efforts as we preach the rubber band theory and have spoken at length about the escape elements and reset button.
Here’s an excerpt from the article and quotes from Axel:
“It requires you to shut off from the world,” says Refuge general manager Axel Binneboese, originally from Germany. “The Refuge is designed to take you out of it, and that’s hard for many people.”
Binneboese helped owner Scot McKay refine his concept of a relaxation spa during the athletic club’s recent rebuilding. Patrons are encouraged to raise their temperature in the large wood sauna or smaller eucalyptus steam room, then to cool down quickly in one of four rock-lined cold pools (marked “cool” and “cold,” which might feel more like “bracing” and “arctic”), and last to recline outdoors around one of many fire pits, or indoors on lounges designed to hug the body and ease the pull of gravity.
“That’s where it all happens, when the body rebalances itself and finds equilibrium in terms of circulation,” Binneboese says. “If you just go from hot to cold and cold to hot, you steel your body, but you’re not getting the relaxation effect.”