News & Politics

Great Day Spas 2013: Our 4 Favorite Holistic Havens

Think a massage or facial should be part of a whole-body wellness experience? These practitioners agree.

Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Bi Yu Wellness Center and Spa

6238 Montrose Rd., Rockville; 301-493-4911.

A massage with Hyun Martin is a spiritual experience. At the start, Martin urged us
to conjure up a serene image—snorkeling was suggested—as a “relaxation visualization.”
During the hourlong massage, there were other stress busters: deep breathing, chanting
“ahhh,” and a “singing” crystal meditation bowl placed on the stomach to “help align
all of your cells.” All the while Martin kneaded muscles, stretched limbs, and gently
worked pressure points in her studio overflowing with products, plants, crystals,
and natural light.

The treatment was billed as a Signature Massage ($110), and there was variety in the
strokes used. No surprise that at the end the catharsis was mental as well as physical.

Of note: All of Martin’s treatments—facials, jaw work, body wraps, pulsed-light therapy—have
a spiritual component. Her goal is to treat the whole body.

Online booking: Yes.

Organic Plum Studio

5 Loudoun St., SE, Leesburg; 703-967-8719.

In a cushy three-level boutique setting in downtown Leesburg, Organic Plum is an all-natural
skin-care haven owned by Lisa Leach, an aesthetician who’s been practicing more than
20 years and also happens to be an organic nutritionist and wellness speaker, making
her approach to beauty a holistic one. Clients are treated to her warm, attentive
style as well as facials with organic products from the Eminence line she favors.

Don’t miss her blissful Signature Anti-Aging Treatment ($120), a 90-minute customized
facial that includes a peel, serums, and masks; special focus on the eye area, neck,
and jaw line; and—to top it all off—a scalp, shoulder, and foot massage that alone
may make you feel years younger.

Of note: Holistic nutrition counseling, yoga, and Pilates are available.

Online booking? No.

The Still Point

1 Columbia Ave., Takoma Park, 301-920-0801; 12451 Clarksville Pike (Route 108), Clarksville,

When you enter the Still Point, you’re asked to remove your shoes and slip into a
pair of sandals, to symbolize the transition from the outside world.

The spa’s sunny, almost ethereal interior lifts your spirit. Almost every manner of
service is offered—facials, naturopathy, reflexology, waxing, acupuncture, eco-makeup,
shamanic healing. And there are massages—lots of them: Swedish, hot-stone, acupressure,
Shiatsu, Thai, myofascial release, prenatal fertility, and massage training for couples.

For those who like deep-tissue massage, Brigitte Rawlings is a master at reading the
body to provide the perfect pressure in a quiet, near-wordless treatment.

Of note: A second location has opened in Clarksville; a third in Highland, Maryland, offers

Online booking? Yes.

Tulsi Holistic Living

3327 M St., NW; 202-333-7025.

If you’re of the mind that a massage should be part of a whole-body wellness experience,
a rubdown at Tulsi should soothe your soul.

A center devoted to “natural health”—it has everything from nutritional counseling
and acupuncture to shamanic healing and Reiki—Tulsi also offers organic spa services
including facials, massage, and hair removal.

The space, painted in a warm moss green, embraces you. In the waiting area are shelves
of homeopathic and herbal remedies as well as self-help books with such titles as

Protecting Your Health With Probiotics.

A spiritual massage with Holly Arines was terrific. Arines first suggested there be
an intention for the session (we chose “stillness”), then gave a massage that not
only coaxed tense areas to let go but did produce stillness—despite the occasional
car horn from the street below. She worked on areas, such as the stomach and between
the breasts, that most therapists skip. After the massage was over and our tester
was dressed, Arines came back in to talk about what she’d noticed and to answer any
questions—a nice touch.

Of note: Tulsi has a no-tipping policy as well as monthly promotions—our $85 spiritual massage
was a special in November—that can make treatments a relative bargain.

Online booking? No.

More Spa Reviews ››