Has there been a year in recent memory when it’s been harder to feel and be well? Social and physical restrictions, instituted to keep us healthy, couldn’t help but also make us feel so, so bad. This makes it all the more important that in 2021, we define wellness broadly—not just a back massage and cucumber slices over the eyes, but a practice of living that treats the self, the community, and the climate with care and respect. Whether they’re a hundred-person operation or a one-woman show, whether they involve ancestral practice or innovative new inventions, the following wellness experiences aspire to that definition.
Note: 5280 encourages you to do your own research and consider consulting with your doctor before engaging in alternative medicine practices.
Why it’s special: From muscle work to moon reiki to psychedelic coaching and more, Nurture might fairly be called Denver’s wellness mecca. Over 60 independent health practitioners and retailers operate out of Nurture’s open-concept building, which also features a cafe, bar, sauna, organic hair salon, and Himalayan salt room. Plan a visit ahead of time—perhaps to see Georgia Grey, who offers holistic nutrition coaching for those who, like her, struggle with autoimmune conditions—or explore the offerings at your leisure. You can even drop off your kids at Nurturelings, a childcare service with mindful programming run by Rebecca Kanov of Arts & Minds. Ultimately, co-founder Peter Strauss wants the space to help you be a true, non-compartmentalized version of yourself.
What’s new in 2021: Nurture just launched a new booking platform, complete with gift certificates that can be spent across almost all the stores and services in the building. They’re also in the process of launching a corporate wellness program for Colorado businesses.
If you go: 2949 Federal Blvd.; Prices vary between practitioners; Nurture’s spaces are open to the public.
Why it’s special: Medical clinician Nancy Rae Kochis (Apache Nation of Colorado, Carlana Tribe, Mountain Buffalo Band) orchestrates a network of indigenous health workers in rural communities and reservation areas across seven states. “The intention behind our medicine is justice,” Kochis says. “That survivors get help, and that perpetrators and their descendants also find peace.” Anyone, including non-Natives, can sign up for telehealth appointments on their client portal to learn about and involve themselves in Herbal Gardens’ lifestyle health practices, which combine Western medicine with two millenia-worth of botanical and spiritual Apache teachings. Herbal Gardens, a nonprofit organization, then takes earnings from these classes, as well as grants from organizations like the Chinook Fund, and uses them to care for Native people most “in hope” (a term Kochis prefers to “in need”) across the West. This looks something like Kochis reviewing medical records for someone who needed retinal reattachments, speaking with a Lakota woman about treatment options, and coordinating a grocery drop-off for a diabetic woman soon to return from surgery.
What’s new in 2021: Most of Herbal Gardens’ work with non-Natives is virtual, but Kochis is beginning to host in-person workshops in Hartsel, Colorado and elsewhere this spring.
If you go: A holistic health assessment is $95; a wellness coaching session is $125; Herbal Gardens uses the money from these outward-facing programs to provide health services to indigenous communities free of charge.
Why it’s special: Tasha Madison opened the only full-day, Black-owned spa in Aurora on February 1 last year. Less than two months later, though, On The Go had to close because of the pandemic. They’ve since reopened with a wide array of mix-and-match spa packages. To help with migraines and fatigue, Madison recommends the oxygen therapy treatment combined with essential oils like eucalyptus and bergamot; the facials and hot stone massages are also quite popular. She prides herself on the cool, relaxing ambience of the lounge, which always has complimentary wine and fresh tea available to sip. And when you leave, grab a bottle of On The Go’s essential skincare products—a cleanser, a toner, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen—to “take the guesswork out of your skin health.”
What’s new in 2021: The pandemic initially dashed Madison’s hopes to host spa parties for bridal showers, but On The Go is now able and eager to accommodate them.
If you go: 2295 S Chambers Rd, Unit I, Aurora; The magnesium foot detox is $65; thirty minutes of oxygen therapy is $25; day spa packages start at $175.
Why it’s special: From time to time in the wellness world, you might run into practitioners who take themselves too seriously—but not Curious Sunshine’s Sarah Iverson, who wants to create “a community that allows you to be goofy.” Iverson synthesizes influences as diverse as ecopsychology, visual art, and Afropunk to create what she calls “quirkshops”: collaborative sessions of mindfulness, curiosity, and play designed especially for people of color. (She often partners with groups like Black Women’s Alliance and Soul 2 Soul Sisters.) The quirkshops are on pause during the pandemic, but when they resume, attendees can expect to blow bubbles, meditate outdoors, and write group poetry. In the meantime, you can complete puzzles and emotional self-check-ups in “Black In Color: A Melanated Activity Guide to Liberation,” Iverson’s wellness activity book.
What’s new in 2021: Iverson is planning an April release of a new online wellness course with a series of modules “all about tapping into our inner sunshine.”
If you go: Hourlong quirkshops are $15; “Black in Color” is also $15.
Why it’s special: Even though American women experience mental health challenges like depression and anxiety at roughly twice the rate of men, according to a 2017 report by the American Psychiatric Association, amid the responsibilities of work and home life, they seek out mental health specialists less often than their counterparts. With this trend in mind, psychologist and professor Dr. Nikki Jones founded her telehealth women’s wellness collective, Rise, in November 2019 to serve clients who could make time to get help during their lunch break or while their kids nap. Rise was conveniently well-situated to adapt to the new, remote normal—Jones and her Grand Junction–based team now serve clients across the state and the country. Rise’s premier offering is its TheraCoaching program, which gives clients virtual, one-on-one sessions with both a licensed psychologist and a life or mindfulness coach. After all, the internal changes necessary for self-actualization are rarely separable from the external ones—you heal from trauma as you change careers, you try to rescript negative self-talk as you adapt to a new exercise routine.
What’s new in 2021: Group workshops for women, starting with but not limited to workplace dynamics, that Jones hopes will be held in-person.
If you go: TheraCoaching sessions start at $100; depending on your health insurance, the therapy portions of the program may be covered.
Why it’s special: Natnicha “Aey” Lappichate couldn’t find traditional Thai massages practiced by Thai people when she moved to Colorado in the mid-2000s. So she returned to her native Bangkok to study the art and craft of delicate and deliberate stretching, twisting, pulling, and pushing along a body’s ten energy lines—what she calls “lazy yoga.” At Siam Sensation, Lappichate has been practicing, teaching, and refining these techniques for over a decade. Expect to be soothed not just by a masseuse’s hands and feet but also by time-honored accoutrements like wrapped Thai fabrics and steam-heated herbal balls. The Tok Sen massage, which involves tapping a two-pronged wooden mallet to break down fascia and help with nerve pain, is particularly beloved. Lappichate hopes her customers don’t think of massage as an out-of-the-ordinary luxury but as a regular, integral element of their everyday selfcare.
What’s new in 2021: A bamboo roller massage intended to reach one’s deep tissue.
If you go: Located at 5330 Manhattan Cir., Suite G, Boulder, and 16 Mountain View Ave., Suite 102, Longmont; $190 for a two-hour Tok Sen massage, $85 for a one-hour foot reflexology massage.
Why it’s special: What began in 2007 as a 500-square-foot space for meditation and yoga has ballooned into a multi-acre campus dedicated to practically all forms of personal growth. There’s a peace garden, an organic cafe that serves produce grown in the peace garden, a Kiva event center that seats 100, an apothecary, outdoor labyrinth, and a spa specializing in ayurvedic treatments. Locals can drop by just to have a cup of coffee ensconced in gorgeous architecture while out-of-towners can drive up for themed retreats. According to co-founder Eaden Shantay, the four petals of the lotus flower on True Nature Healing Arts’ logo represent the site’s four core values: inspiration, connection, self-discovery, and service.
What’s new in 2021: To hybridize its business model, the center is scaling up its virtual class offerings and online boutique.
If you go: 100 N 3rd Street, Carbondale; Drop-in yoga classes are $18; spa treatments start at $125; retreats start at $220; the peace garden is free.