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Journey To Wellness

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By: Kerri-Lynn Swanson, Kelly Taggart and Jim West
Photos: Allen Carrasco
Courtesy of California Health & Longevity Institute

Welcome to California Health & Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California…A whole new approach to health, wellness, longevity and service that’s truly one of a kind.

Founded in 2006 through a partnership between David H. Murdock, owner of Dole Food Company, Inc., health benefits giant WellPoint, Inc., and renowned geneticist, Andrew Conrad, PhD., the Institute offers individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle, an opportunity to engage with leading experts in the fields of medicine, nutrition, fitness, life balance, and spa, delivered in the comfy opulence of the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California.

Though close to major freeways, the Institute is a self-contained gem with mountain and back country views, tranquil gardens and all the amenities necessary for serious R & R.

The Institute appears more like a vacation getaway or business retreat than a doctor’s office, but don’t be fooled. This facility offers leading edge medical attention with physicians and experts who are tops in their respective specialties.

Upon entering the Institute. We were greeted by Medical Director Dr. Terry Schaack, who explained, “The Institute provides complete and comprehensive medical care of course, but also, we provide healing spa suites, therapy, fitness and life balance guided by Eastern and Western philosophies with world class fitness and nutritional counseling coupled with cooking classes. The Institute also provides dermatology and dentistry.”

Dr. Schaack is no-nonsense when it comes to medicine. “Dentistry is essential, not because it makes you look better, but because healthy teeth are necessary to properly ingest food.”

‘‘It’s the integrated approach and 360-degree view of wellness delivered in a four-star setting that makes this Institute utterly unique.‘‘

No doubt, one of the most unusual aspects of the Institute is their integrated approach to health care that incorporates medical diagnostics and care with healing spa, massage, stress reduction, a fully equipped fitness center and nutrition that includes state-of-the-art instruction and delicious, healthy cooking classes in the Institute’s Wellness Kitchen.

A typical first step is an evaluation to ensure that any significant medical condition is detected early and under control before any steps to enhance and optimize a person’s health are taken.

After spending time with the Institute’s medical staff, a complete wellness prescription is created that includes fitness, diet, lifestyle suggestions and relaxation techniques that are designed specifically for each patient.

Dr. Shaack and his team work towards providing tools that are sustainable for activating efficient systems geared to the individual’s lifestyle. As an example, if the patient is not someone who is comfortable going to a gym, a program can be developed for fitness in the home or, if the patient is someone who absolutely feels that they must have meat in their diet, a diet will be created that incorporates healthy meats and food preparation to ensure optimum health benefits.

Though the guest population at the Institute consists of a diverse group from all walks and socio-economic backgrounds, the Directors at the Institute realized that there are busy executives who need a place where they can receive health care in an efficient setting with all of their medical needs under one roof.

The Healthy Executive Program

For these individuals, the Institute created The Healthy Executive Program, where busy individuals can visit and over the course of one day, receive in-depth analysis, diagnostic testing, screening and a physical exam to come away with a complete snapshot of their current medical, physical and emotional health…all complimented by a personal plan to bring about healthy lifestyle changes and improved performance in all aspects of their lives.

In most cases, the plan is monitored over the course of a full year to ensure that the Institute’s personal prescription is being followed and incorporated into the guest’s lifestyle.


By implementing the practice of Kaizen, the Japanese technique to achieve sustainable change through small, realistic steps, the Institute follows a 360-degree approach to wellness. This philosophy incorporates every area of life that impacts health including:

A team of registered dieticians incorporate a complete lifestyle and health history to create eating plans for guests through individual consultations. Science-based recommendations are utilized, complimented by hands-on cooking classes conducted in the Institute’s amazing Wellness Kitchen.

Certified trainers and exercise physiologists design and oversee comprehensive fitness plans. The Institute offers individual training as well as group programs including workshops and classes in yoga and Pilates.

Lifestyle consultants design personalized strategies to create sustainable changes in the areas of relationships, health and work through personal appointments and group workshops.

Specialties include dermatology, dentistry, complementary and alternative practitioners such as clinical hypnotherapists and acupuncture specialists in private environments with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment supported by the latest medical research.

As the largest spa facility in any of the Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts, the facility is a unique destination for hosted corporate events and health minded family vacations.

The Institute isn’t limited to internal medicine. The facility also includes Dermatology employing the latest and most innovative techniques, Sleep Medicine and Radiology.

Colon Cancer is the number 2 cause of cancer death in non-smoking men and women in America. This is a disease that when caught early, is basically 100% curable and can be detected by the Institute’s Virtual Colonoscopy treatment.

The Institute provides patients a comprehensive and convenient team approach for medical and lifestyle evaluations in the opulent setting of the Four Seasons Hotel in beautiful Westlake Village, California.

Posted in: Health & FitnessSpring 2012
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