When Katherine Lo, founder of the progressive, “anti-Trump” oasis known as Eaton Workshop, wakes up in the morning, she always takes a couple minutes to meditate. Whether it’s five or 30 depends on the day, but after a health crisis struck while she was in the midst of developing the Eaton, she resolved never to neglect her health again.
Lo traveled all over the country in search of a remedy. Of all the therapies she tried, the ones that stuck with her were those that would typically be considered alternative–crystal healing, reiki, and intention-filled meditation in zen temples. Her favorite ritual so far has been a shamanic drum circle in the middle of a desert in Sedona, Arizona during a one-week workshop.
“All those experiences affected the creation of Eaton,” says Lo. “For me, this has been about tying in my personal beliefs about the importance of wellness into this project.”
At Eaton Wellness, which will host its grand opening Saturday, the healing starts as soon as you walk in the door. The hotel greets guests with a crystal at check-in; although I was told to choose between an amethyst or a tiger’s eye (guardians of intuition and protection, respectively), Lo said there were eight different stones that guests could receive. The rooms themselves have Himalayan salt lamps (“They emit ions, which counter ions emitted by technology,” says Lo) and a junk-free healthy food bar (“I guess we could have added chips!” she laughs).
Eaton Wellness’s services may seem sparse at first glance, with only yoga, reiki/crystal healing, marma therapy, sound baths, 40-minute infrared sauna sessions, and holistic healing available. But that won’t be true for long: Corinna Moon Loomis, the wellness director, hopes to add a bevy of new therapies in the coming months. Watch out for additions like tarot card readings, tai chi, chi gong, reflexology, Thai massage, and shamanic healing sessions like the ones Lo is fond of. Prices vary from $40 to $255.
The class schedule will follow a natural ebb-and-flow that fits with Loomis’s policy of “aligning with the practitioner.”
“Rather than setting a schedule and searching for a person to fit that schedule, we’re working with the practitioner,” says Loomis. “We’re letting them provide their gifts.”
The entire wellness center spans a yoga studio, two infrared saunas, a check-in table with crystals displayed on a stairway shelf, a guided meditation room, and a classic treatment room.
Every room has a warm wood theme inspired by the the zen-inducing temples at Joshua Tree, a veritable forest of succulents (including a living plant wall in the yoga room), and, of course, crystal accents. The meditation room was inspired by a Buddhist temple at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, one stop of many during Lo’s holistic adventures.
Loomis believed in the mission of Eaton Wellness so much that she left her small business–a doggy daycare–and part-time instructor gig at the Flow Yoga Center to join Lo’s team. Ultimately, she wants to build a gathering space for alternative practitioners in the DC area, a mecca she says doesn’t exist at the moment.
In recent years, Loomis has seen a marked rise of interest in holistic healing, she says. It parallels a growing suspicion toward traditional medicine or an inability to afford the sky-high costs of healthcare, she says, but the unconventional nature of alternative therapies has made it difficult for the general public to connect with reputable practitioners. Hence the emergence of a one-stop-shop platform like Eaton Wellness.
Full disclosure: I was offered a marma therapy session—basically acupuncture without the needles—with licensed herbalist Abhayam Kaln. He used a combination of his own “relaxation” tea blend, essential oils, and gentle pressure to lull me into what he called a “hypnagogic state,” but I’m calling it the best nap of my life. Regardless, I am now a convert of marma therapy.
Holistic health isn’t just about the mind, and culinary legend Tim Ma, the mastermind behind gourmet institutions like Kyirisan and American Son (the latter of which is located on the bottom floor of the Eaton), has crafted wellness-focused dishes so guests can heal their bodies after cleansing their minds. On top of cold-pressed juices made with beet and cucumber, there are bowls with lacinato kale, fire-roasted baby carrots, and butternut squash.
One thing that you won’t find at Eaton Wellness? Facials and Swedish massages.
“As much as I love a good facial, those are things that are offered everywhere, and for Eaton I always want to offer something deeper that dives deeper into what people are seeking,” says Lo.