Treat yourself: Health and wellness in the Triad
Let’s face it; as a nation, we are overworked. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, United States citizens are working more than 40 hours a week, and the stress from working is making people sick with “hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health,” according to The Atlantic’s “The Alarming, Long-Term Consequences of Workplace Stress” by Gillian B. White.
In 2018, worrisome headlines, political division, racial tension, gun violence and environmental concerns are the usual suspects when it comes to additional stressors. Every once in a while, we need to step back from our busy schedules and take time to care for ourselves. YES! Weekly visited various health and wellness facilities in the area and highlighted some of the many ways one can treat themselves.
115 S. Stratford Rd., Winston-Salem
Tucked in the Stratford Village shopping center, is a place solely dedicated to “chilling out.” Coolhouse Cryotherapy boasts online that it is Winston-Salem’s “coolest and most advanced wellness center.”
Owner Hartley Hsu is no stranger in the health and wellness field, office manager Hannah Hsu said. He also owns Hartstrong Training, a private gym off of Healy Drive in Winston-Salem.
Hannah said Hartley partnered with his friend and the person who told him about cryotherapy, Jon Abbate. Abbate is the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon linebacker who went on to the National Football League as a player for the Houston Texans. (“Cool” fact about Abbate: He was the subject of the 2011 film The Fifth Quarter.)
Hannah said cryotherapy helps regulate the body and helps treat arthritis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, mood disorders, eczema, psoriasis and various athletic injuries.
“It is kind of like an ice bath, but a lot colder,” she said. “It is not as long and not as painful.”
How cold? According to the website, a cool -130 to -184 degrees Fahrenheit. Hannah said Coolhouse’s cryo chambers uses nitrogen vapors, and people spend two to three minutes in it at a time. When someone goes into a chamber, they have to be completely dry and are given socks, gloves, and boots to wear. Hannah said males would need to wear shorts, but females can go in nude or in their underwear.
“It sounds really cold and is really cold, but it is so dry that you don’t get that wet-cold feeling like you would with an ice bath or cold shower,” she said.
In addition to the chambers, Coolhouse also has spot treatments that target more specific areas of the body, such as the knees, elbows and even the face. Hannah said cryotherapy could be used for facials as a “natural and chemical-free alternative.” Coolhouse also offers compressions (no temperature component used) for arms, legs, and hips while you lounge in zero-gravity chairs. Hannah said the air compressions increases blood flow and in turn, heals the body faster. She said it is important for people to take time for themselves because it will make them more productive.
“I don’t really feel like you can give to other people until you really take the time and take care of yourself. You have to start with yourself before you can really give 100 percent to your job, family/kids, whatever it may be.”
For pricing and more information, check out the website (www.coolhousecryo.com/).
Himalayan Hideaway Salt Cave
3281 Robinhood Rd., Winston-Salem
For owner Chrissy Klunder, opening a salt cave was never part of her life plans.
“I got very sick at the end of December 2016, and the doctors couldn’t really figure out what was going on,” she said. “And I went to different specialists and things, and nobody had an answer for me.”
She tried prescriptions and vitamins, but nothing was easing her pain and fatigue. She went on a trip to Asheville and visited the salt cave there, and said she instantly felt relief.
“Later that day, my pain was gone, and my energy returned and I knew something was up whatever was in that room,” she said.
She started researching and found that salt therapy was a holistic, natural and non-invasive way to help skin and respiratory issues. Allergies, asthma, COPD, bronchitis, and arthritis are among the conditions that salt therapy can help treat, Klunder said.
I tried the cave out myself, per Klunder’s suggestion. I found the 45-minute session to be extremely calming and much needed. Her salt cave “microclimate” is actually massive, and the entire room is filled with pink Himalayan salt–from the salt lights on the wall to the crystals on the floor. The aesthetic of the cave is soothing. The twinkling star lights above line up perfectly with deep and slow breaths to enhance meditation. Little by little, each salt lamp flicks off until the room is completely dark and the only thing heard is soft music and the sound of pharmaceutical-grade salt being pumped into the air. Reclining in the zero-gravity chairs and snuggling up with a blanket pair nicely with the electronics-free zone. (That’s right, 45 minutes without your cell phone!) After each session, participants are invited to come back to the tea room, prop up their feet on a heated salt lamp and wind down. Klunder suggests that people use the salt cave complementary to what their doctors already prescribe and suggest, and to stay hydrated after their session.
Klunder wrote in an email that while she thinks treating yourself is a great thing, “there are certain times we need to look at what we view as a ‘treat’ is actually true therapy.” She wrote that downtime from daily activities and stress could be powerful for resetting and restoring “our collective energy.”
Each session is $40, but Klunder said there are other packages as well for people who want to come more frequently. An unlimited monthly package offers participants to come as frequently as they want (under normal business hours) for $200. Himalayan Hideaway is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. Sessions start at the top of each hour. For more information and other pricing options, visit the website (www.winstonsalemsaltcave.com/).
Atvara Hot Yoga Lounge
778-D Park Centre Dr., Kernersville
Located right in the middle of most people’s daily commute is a hot yoga lounge that may be the best-kept secret in Kernersville. Atvara Hot Yoga Lounge is owned by Liliana Camara who took over ownership of what was formerly known as Hot Yoga Therapy about three months ago. There are two types of yoga that are offered at Atvara, hot and warm. Camara said hot yoga is Bikram style yoga that is practiced in a space that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and warm yoga is Vinyasa style yoga that is practiced in a space that is 90 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit.
Camara said the name “Atvara” in Sanskrit means “intentionally calm,” which is what she wants to inspire at the lounge. She has transformed an unsuspecting building located right off Interstate 40 into a one-stop rejuvenation center. Other than making renovations, Camara changed the fluorescence lighting in the 1,300 square-foot hot yoga studio to string lights that are dim and easier on the eyes. She also filled the walls with artwork by her father. She is most proud of replacing the hot yoga studio’s carpet with virgin rubber flooring, which has made the room more sanitary, she said.
In addition to the hot yoga studio, the lounge has five full bathrooms with showers, vanities and dressing rooms. (Camara said this setup works perfectly for the 6 a.m. yoga class.)
“You can just stop by, take your class, take a shower, do your make-up, and every station has a blow dryer so you can dry your hair and be ready for work,” she said.
Hot yoga isn’t the only service offered at Atvara. There is both a Himalayan salt room and a floatation tank also housed at the facility. Camara said people could visit the salt room alone or with two other people. In the room, there is salt on the floor as well as salt lamps that light the room. There is an infrared heated cot infused with finer salt particles that are released into the air through the heat.
In addition, there is a jade vest that is also heated by infrared. The room is topped off with a waterfall and soft music. Just across the hall, there is a room with a floatation tank, which Camara said is the most popular type of therapy used in the lounge. The tank consists of 250 gallons of 94-degree water and around 1,000 pounds (and counting) of Epsom salt, she said.
Camara said treating oneself is essential to their well-being. She said people are used to a busy schedule, and they often forget about taking care of themselves because they are taking care of others.
“I think that taking care of yourself is underrated,” she said. “You neglect yourself because you make sure everyone around you is taken care of, and at the end of the day, if you suffer, everybody suffers.”
For more information and pricing, visit Atvara’s website (www.hotyogatherapy.com/).
Health & Style Institute
500 Four Season Town Center, Greensboro
Treating yourself to discounted cosmetic services such as haircuts, nails and facials could be beneficial to not only you but also students who are working toward their goal of being a professional cosmetologist or esthetician. The Health & Style Institute is home to 260 students and 35 “exceptional, well-educated and knowledgeable” employees who are all licensed by the state of North Carolina, said executive director, teacher and cosmetologist Kim Combs.
The cosmetic art school started in 2011 and teaches cosmetology, esthetics, and trains already licensed individuals to become cosmetology instructors. The Health & Style Institute is also a Grade-A, running salon and skin clinic open to the public. Combs said people could come and purchase salon (such as haircuts, colors and chemical treatments) or skin care (such as facials, back facials, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and hand and foot treatments) services at a “greatly discounted price” compared to what other salons and spas cost.
Combs said coming to the Health & Style Institute is a win-win for folks because customers save big on usually pricy services, and in turn, a student gets to practice on a person for the experience.
“Everybody loves to be pampered, everyone wants to look youthful, come in and try out the services at a discounted price before you go pay $100 plus in a spa,” Combs said. “The one thing I do want to remind people, it is an educational facility, so everything is not going to be perfect. There are licensed instructors here who assist the students, so it is not like the students are doing it on their own, they have guidance.”
The weekly special days include Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, free facials are offered to teenagers who are struggling with acne or who do not know how to take care of their skin properly, Combs said. On Wednesday, free kids (age 12 and under) haircuts are offered and on Thursday, if someone purchases three services, their entire ticket is 50 percent off. Appointments for Thursdays should be made in advance, Combs said.
“We do allow people to book appointments with students personally, so they learn the business end of the industry as well because that is a really key piece that a lot of other schools don’t teach,” she said.
Combs said the Health & Style Institute’s roots run deep in the Greensboro community. The institute also hosts food drives and will help the community in crisis. She also said the Boys and Girls Club comes to get haircuts there and in the past, the Health & Style Institute has donated $5,000 of product to Leslie’s House in High Point.
Combs encourages people to check out Groupon for the best deals the Health & Style Institute has to offer. She also encourages folks to come in and see for themselves.
“Right now you can go out on Groupon and get a manicure/pedicure for $12,” she said. “There are also skin care and haircuts/highlights.”
The skin clinic is open for three sessions Tuesday through Friday, and the cosmetology salon floor is open Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit the website (www.healthandstyle.edu/).
Sonder Mind & Body and The Well Cafe
515 S. Elm St., Greensboro
As a new addition to South Elm Street, Sonder Mind & Body and The Well Cafe is both a wellness center and a cafe/cold-press juice bar. Twin sisters and co-owners Jessika and Veronika Olsen decided to call their space Sonder Mind and Body because the word sonder means, “The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.”
“We are not a spa; we call ourselves a new kind of wellness center,” Veronika said. “We want people to realize that all these different tools are available to them and they are not this fancy thing that is out of reach. Our whole mission statement is about finding balance in different tools.”
Veronika and Jessika come from a family of medical professionals. Veronika has owned a wellness center before in Hawaii and Jessika has a culinary background. Both sisters have also worked as third-party consultants for the USDA and FDA as food regulators. Veronika said both she and her sister suffer from multiple autoimmune diseases, and that is the main reason why they decided to open Sonder.
“We basically created a place that we needed and being somebody (I hate to use the word) who’s sick, I am tired of going to 50 different places to get treatment, because that within itself is really stressful,” Veronika said.
The cafe and juice bar invites the public in for gut-healing healthy foods that are dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free and gluten-free. Veronika said that everything starts out as vegan, but can be modified to fit the person’s preference. The cold-press juice is not just juice, but also a mix of herbs and adaptogens.
In the wellness center part of Sonder, there are a variety of integrated health practitioners (who are independent businesses from Sonder but lease the space through the Olsens). There are massage therapists, a chiropractor, an integrative medical doctor, a naturopathic doctor, a lifestyle and wellness coach, a hypnotherapist, community acupuncture (every Thursday), yoga instructors as well as aromatherapy, meditation and other various workshops. Sonder is also home to two sensory deprivation floatation therapy tanks- one pod and one room, and a three-in-one infrared sauna. The sisters decided to go in business together after their mother told them about the benefits of floatation therapy.
“We got into floatation therapy because our mom had breast cancer four years ago,” Jessika said. “She found floatation therapy really helped her through chemotherapy-physically and mentally.”
Jessika said this society is creating unhealthy habits and in turn, sick people. She and Veronika hope Sonder normalizes the need for people to take a break and take care of themselves.
“It is just work, work, work,” Jessika said. “Look at diabetes rate, look at the autoimmune rate, everyone’s bodies are trying to tell them something: calm down, right? But society is like ‘go, go-be this person, be that person.’ We offer this space because we have noticed that we just have to stop sometimes in order for us to heal or be happy. What is life if you don’t know yourself or what is going on with yourself?”
For more information and pricing, visit the website (www.sondermindandbody.com/).
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.