HW: Spa owner comes to terms with her religious beliefs

Vicky Thurlow writes about how she found relief from condition

Vicky Thurlow at the Grand Junctrtion Athletic Club and Day Spa and Salon.

Vicky Thurlow doubts most Grand Junction residents know about her double life.

Thurlow, a local resident for 17 years, is a visible member of the community as the longtime owner of The Grand Junction Athletic Club, Day Spa and Salon. What people may not have realized is that, although Thurlow appeared healthy because she worked out furiously, she was depressed for years.

Anti-depressants didn’t help. Getting outdoors to swim, ski and run didn’t alleviate her depression either.

It wasn’t until doctors diagnosed Thurlow with an incurable medical condition about 10 years ago that the fitness enthusiast decided she needed a change.

Thurlow will not tell others what that condition is.

“I will never mention it because I refuse to give it any energy,” Thurlow said.

The process of trying to heal physically and emotionally caused Thurlow to change her beliefs about religion, happiness and work.

She was so empowered by the experience that she wrote a book about it titled, “Changing the Face of God: Undoing the Damage of Religious and Abusive Programming.” Thurlow spent four years writing the book. It was released in 2008.

Writing the book “was the most difficult thing” Thurlow has ever done, she says, because she was forced to put her story out there for judgment and critique. Thurlow admits her beliefs are controversial.

In the book, Thurlow wrote that organized religion prevented her from healing or even seeking treatment for her medical condition because her denomination didn’t approve of acupuncture or meditation. Acupuncture and meditation were two healing methods Thurlow found that worked for her.

She made the decision to abandon organized religion and focus on healing herself. Thurlow said she believes in a higher power holding everything together, but that the face of the God she was raised to believe in has changed.

Through meditation, she has come to believe she is responsible for her happiness and healing, she said.

Thurlow said others don’t share her beliefs about religion, but her book isn’t about changing people’s minds or judgment. She wrote the book to put her story out there.

“If it helps one person, great,” she said.

Thurlow purchased The Athletic Club in the 1990s and has added a spa and salon to the existing building. With the release of her book last year and the creation of a side business called Pursuit of Healing, Thurlow is ready to incorporate spiritual and emotional wellness components into the physical wellness already promoted at The Athletic Club.

“There are so many people who work, work, work and don’t see the progress,” Thurlow said.

“What is the missing component? I think it’s the attitude and discipline. ... My attitude has shifted. It’s not just about beautiful bodies. (It’s about) fit lives.”


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