Deborah Szekely, the Founder of Rancho La Puerta

11/02/2020, Rancho La Puerta

Rancho La Puerta is well known for being one of the world’s first destination spas, and for good reason. In 1940 Professor Edmond and Deborah Szekely opened the doors to what began as an impromptu summer health camp in the coastal mountains of Baja California named the Essene School of Life. The pair were recognised from the beginning for their revolutionary ideas on wellness as they practised philosophy and ancient religions, the nutritional value of just-picked fresh pesticide-free vegetables, exercise, and what we would now call “ecology." Throughout many years this primitive camp has become more and more permanent: a haven for those seeking answers to their health issues across the globe. 

“Nothing in my body is 90 years old apart from my knowledge,” explains Deborah Szekely to her attentive audience. “Because the body largely renews itself every seven years, so very few things in me are any older than that. ” - Deborah.

However, the guests who began visiting Rancho La Puerta from the beginning have been interviewed about the early days and said they returned because of Deborah. Deborah Szekely embraced her role as everything from the chief cook and proverbial bottle washer to the general manager and even activities director, at the age of only 18. Deborah has always said ever since the beginning of Rancho La Puerta's Siempre Mejor! - meaning always better. This motto has allowed Rancho La Puerta to become the progenitor of the modern fitness resort and spa movement as they have always strived to improve. Her philosophy (which she has carried on from her late husband Edmond's work) focuses on having a conversation with your body rather than pushing it in unnecessary directions which could cause more harm than good. This begins by listening to your body when it is trying to tell you something. This may be that you have a headache due to dehydration or because you have not eaten enough or slept enough. For that reason, the role of Rancho La Puerta is to ensure that when each guest leaves they can be self-reliant in caring for their health. 

“If you want your body to serve you well, then serve it well"

Deborah has become well recognised as the founder of the modern health and fitness movement through her role of founding the award-winning spas, Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta. She has served on health and fitness councils under 4 presidents, and headed the Inter-American Foundation for over 6 years. She currently is a board member of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Congressional Management Foundation. Deborah, now age 97, continues to live an active, healthy life that includes weekly lectures to Ranch guests and a busy schedule of community activism in San Diego. She shares her 90 years worth of knowledge and the philosophy of Always Better with the guests to encourage people with behaviours that form the foundation of Rancho La Puerto. 

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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