Elana Gilbert has no time for chemicals. The Australian beauty therapist, who opened the health spa Elana Jade in the Azabu-jūban district of Minato, Tokyo nine years ago, promises customers treatments that are natural and beneficial for the body.
“When I was younger I used toxic beauty products because I didn’t know any better. That changed after going to health seminars. I remember one doctor speaking about chemicals seeping into our bodies, sucking the life out of our cells,” says Gilbert, whose spa is a godsend for non-Japanese speaking customers.
“I’d been eating organic foods for years, but that was the first time I started thinking seriously about natural skincare products,” she adds.
Since launching Elana Jade in 2009 Gilbert has insisted, where possible, on using products with certified organic ingredients including ilcsi and simplicité skincare for anti-aging facials. Even the waxing and tanning products are all natural.
“You have to be really careful about what you put on your body and especially cautious if you can’t read the ingredients. While some chemical-based products may feel good temporarily, over time they’ll do your skin more damage than good,” opines Gilbert, who has close to 20 years in the beauty business.
As well as facials, waxing, and tanning there are also treatments for nails and eyelashes as well as a variety of massage options including aromatherapy, pre-natal, retention release, and a hot stone massage that is highly recommended.
Soothing, mineral-rich basalt stones formed from an erupting volcano’s hot lava are placed at various points on the body heating up the muscles which allows the therapist to work deeper with less pressure.
It’s a rejuvenating experience, helping to relieve stress and tension. Healthy and effective, it’s what Elana Jade’s all about. Gilbert, who named the shop after her first and middle names, moved to Tokyo in her early-20s to work as a personal fitness instructor but then saw a gap in the beauty therapy market.
There were many companies offering similar services in the Azabu- jūban area, but few targeted non-Japanese speaking customers.
“In the beginning my brother (who also works in Tokyo) and I ran around the city putting flyers in any buildings that would accept them,” recalls Gilbert. It did the trick. Elana Jade grew rapidly in its first two years. Then came the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
“The vast majority of our customers were foreigners and many of them left the country, so I had to change the strategy and focus more on the Japanese market,” says Gilbert.
Since opening a more luxurious and spacious shop two years ago, the percentage of foreigner customers at Elana Jade has increased again and now accounts for around 80 percent.
“We welcome everyone; foreigners, Japanese, men, women, it doesn’t matter. Just come, lie back and enjoy our therapeutic treatments.”
Elana Jade is located at NS Azabu-Juban Building 4F, 3-6-2 Azabu-Juban, Minato-Ku, Tokyo. Tel: 03-6453-9319. Book an appointment via the Keyyes App.