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Wellness Center, Spa, Salon & Yoga Studio

Updated: Apr 14

What's the difference?


Me: "Hello? Thank you for calling Ascending Spirit. How can I assist you?"


Caller: "Is this like a day spa and do you have space today for me to get a massage or a manicure?"


I've had my fair share of inquiries like the above, and people are always surprised I don't offer these services. Perhaps it's time to unpack this assumption, and get a better understanding of the difference between a day spa, salon, yoga studio and a wellness center.



Formalities... what is a wellness center?

I like this definition best from Janey L Hammons, NP-C, "Wellness centers are facilities that house health care professionals such as life coaches, nutritionists or alternative medicine specialists. These professionals focus their efforts on improving the mental and physical health of their clients."


In essence, most wellness centers offer a variety of resources and all-natural healing practices that includes a physical, mental and emotional component to achieve vitality and well-being. Many of them offer energy and body work, and almost all offer some form of diet, nutrition, exercise and stress management services.


When you visit a wellness center, you are typically there because you recognize an imbalance in yourself and want a non-pharma way to address it, or your medical doctor or mental health professional has advised you to reduce stress or work with someone on a weight management program. Perhaps it's a combination of both. Many people I work with are looking for alternative ways to cope with mental and physical health issues so they can reduce their dependence on prescription medication.


This is where a wellness center is extremely helpful. The professionals on staff will help you establish the right routines and habits, giving you the tools, knowledge and foundation to self-manage and regulate in the future.

In other words, a wellness center shows you how and where to hunt, lines up the shot, steadies your arm, pulls the trigger with you, and even teaches you how to cook and prepare the meal. Then lets you practice on your own.

Although repetition and regular visits to a wellness center are advantageous, the goal is ultimately to teach the client how to cope with life and offer tools and guidance so they eventually do it on their own with little outside intervention. Wellness centers often incorporate a multi-modal approach to healing, and almost everything is centered on individualized care. Meaning no two people are alike, therefore no two protocols are exactly the same.


This last point is very important to recognize. Once you have mastered using a technique or tool, and you are aware of your patterns and subsequent actions and reactions, you can make mindful, proactive decisions that give you control and agency over your health and wellness. You (as a unique person) are offered individualized advice, guidance and services most beneficial to your root cause imbalances. It is rarely a one-size fits all approach.


Below is a rudimentary table to help you understand the various services offered by each establishment. It is not an exhaustive list and there are many other services that aren't represented here. However, it should give you a better understanding of the business and how it might fit into your self-care regimen.

Offering
Wellness Center
Yoga Studio
Day Spa
Salon
Explanation

Treatments by Appointment

X

X

X

X

For 1:1 services or lessons, almost all require appointments. Most will accept walk-ins, but best to reserve by phone or online to ensure availability. Yoga studios typically have a class sign up.

Sound Healing and/or Sound Baths

X

X


Sometimes day spas and yoga studios might have a special event that includes a sound bath, but more often you'll find soundscapes and 1:1 biofield tuning in a wellness center.

Massage Therapy

X


X

X

It's not uncommon for wellness centers, day spas and salons to offer massage services.

Reiki & Energy Healing

X




This service is usually offered by a certified professional and is often found in a wellness center.

Meditation Practices

X

X



Most wellness centers have someone on staff that can teach meditation as well as offer 1:1 guided meditation treatments. Yoga studios will frequently have special meditation group events.

Yoga Therapy

X

X

X


Many day spas offer group yoga classes, but rarely will they have an RYT on staff for private instruction. Most yoga studios and wellness centers can create programs for individuals and private groups.

Facial & Skin Treatments



X

X

Day spas and some salons offer non-medical grade skincare and facial services.

Nutrition Guidance & Counseling or Dietician

X




Most wellness centers offer nutrition and/or cooking related classes, and have someone on staff to offer 1:1 support.

Life Coaching, Mind Mapping and Meaning Making Support

X




Many wellness centers offer this service to help their clients manage stress, set boundaries, establish routines, interpret events, manage mood disorders and create structure for achieving their goals.

Manicures & Pedicures



X

X

These services often require a licensed professional and are usually part of the services offered at a day spa or salon.

Reflexology

X


X


On occasion wellness centers and day spas might have a reflexologist on staff.

Herbalism & Herbal Remedies

X




There are often yogis who also are naturopaths and herbalists so you may occasionally find a yoga studio that also offers tinctures, decoctions and concoctions to address various ailments.

MedSpa Treatments (botox, fillers, anti-aging dermal treatments, etc.)



X

X

A lot of the treatments are done by a licensed estitician or dermatologist therefore you are most likely to see some of these services at a day spa or a dermatologist. On occasion you might find a salon that has someone on staff.

Waxing, Threading & Laser Hair Removal



X

X

Most likely offered at a salon or spa.

Hair Treatments



X

X

Most likely offered at a salon or spa.

Eyelash & Hair Extensions



X

X

Most likely offered at a salon or spa.

Chakra or Energy Balancing

X

X



A lot of wellness centers offer some form of energy balancing programs and 1:1 treatments. Some yoga studios will offer special classes or workshops to target chakra balancing.

Stress Management Protocols & Programs

X




While most of the services and treatments offered by these establishments are wonderful for self-care and likely reduce stress at the time of appointment, only wellness centers offer programs designed specifically for stress reduction on a 1:1 or classroom basis.

Group Classes

X

X

X


Yoga studios and wellness centers often offer group classes. Sometime a day spa may also have fitness, yoga and related classes.

Retreats & Workshops

X

X

X






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