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Natural Awakenings Austin

Community Spotlight - Deer Lake Lodge & Spa, Helping People Transform Their Lives

Nov 01, 2014 10:07PM

by Sheila Julson

During his teenage years, Shaun Carson, director of marketing at Deer Lake Lodge & Spa, had the opportunity to travel and immerse himself in other cultures. He experienced Germany and the Netherlands through a foreign exchange student program, which piqued his interest in a career in the resort industry. He loved talking to people and sharing experiences, thus making him a natural fit for the Deer Lake team.

While pursuing a communications degree at Sam Houston State University, Carson managed La Torretta Lake Resort and was also employed part-time at Deer Lake. Not only was he impressed by the frequent opportunities to speak to Deer Lake guests that hailed from the United States and abroad, but he got to experience the spa’s vast organic wellness services and juicing detoxification programs; thus opening his eyes to the toxins in foods, toiletries and household cleaners. “A year ago, I was using those toxic products. I was eating at McDonald’s,” Carson recalls. “Now, I don’t use lotions with chemicals. I don’t east fast food. I don’t use bleach in my house, because there are alternatives. I learned of those here.”

Carson accepted a full-time position with Deer Lake and says that in just the nine months he’s worked there full time, it’s changed his life. He wants to help others change, too.

Deer Lake was founded by Tracy Boulware and opened in 2012. The spa is nestled among 50 tranquil acres of forest land. Green practices were used during construction, such as buildings built from reclaimed shipping crates. Recycled blue jeans material serves as insulation. There is a pool, a pond and a meditation deck. “No chemicals are used in the rooms,” Carson notes. “We use all-natural cleaners. When I show guests around, I tell them they can feel free to breathe.”

The myriad options of spa and wellness services can be customized according to individual goals. Carson explains that massages, facials, manicures and pedicures are available for people who come mainly for relaxation. Guests committed to the juice detoxification program can benefit from clay wraps, or the magnesium wrap, which replenishes magnesium levels and helps the body sweat out toxins. The Harmonizing Deer Lake Lodge Ritual consists of a body scrub, a full body massage and Chakra balance. Deer Lake uses natural spa and beauty products by Eminence, a Hungarian company.

Carson says services unique to Deer Lake are life enhancement activities guests can choose from to complement the spa and body detox packages. Each morning begins with a yoga class. In keeping with Deer Lake’s mission to teach healthy lifestyle changes, classes are offered on topics such as the healing powers of essential oils; an organic living talk that teaches participants how to give up chemical products; and instruction on how to purchase organic goods.

Carson praises raw foods chef and Deer Lake instructor April Reeder, whose classes cover such topics as making nutritious smoothies and vegan cooking, and recommends the popular grocery store tour that informs on what to look for in reading canned goods’ labels.

Conscious cleansing sessions allow guests to meet with licensed conscious counselors who help empower participants to assess what ails them mentally and emotionally, and teach methods to overcome obstacles. Iridology, the study of the irises of the eyes and how it relates to imflammation in the body, is also available. Carson says he was unaware of the practice until he started working at Deer Lake, but he has personally benefitted from a consultation. “Our iridologist takes a picture of iris, then analyzes the iris to determine what the body is lacking, such as vitamins and minerals,” Carson explains.

Deer Lake also works with several charities to which they donate money and spa services. While most newer businesses have goals of getting their name out and increasing business, Carson says they plan to stay personable, but add additional educational speakers to enhance the experiences of their guests. “Our ultimate goal is to educate the community and the world and let them know that there are alternatives to toxins. I consider an experience at Deer Lake to be a full mind and body detox. I see people when they come in the door, and they later leave a completely different person. It’s brought tears to my eyes to see how much growth they’ve accomplished within the time they’ve been here.”

Deer Lake Lodge & Spa is located at 10500 Deer Lake Lodge Rd., in Montgomery. For more information, call 936- 647-1383 or visit

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