“My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!” This poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay could describe many Austinites, working and playing with all we’ve got. All the more reason to take care of ourselves along the way.
Austin was an early adopter of the wellness movement. Wellness and self-care are buzzy concepts now, and for good reason. We are lucky to reap the benefits of decades of old-school Austin hippies, health nuts, and fitness fiends who paved the way for us.
Disclosure: Nearly all of the following businesses offered me a comped/sponsored experience or product(s) for the purposes of this article, though I chose the businesses. All opinions are my own.
EvolvE Cryo + Wellness
Compression, Oxygen, and Cryotherapy
EvolvE Cryo + Wellness provides several treatments related to healing and overall wellness. The menu of services is impressive, running the gamut of services to improve the way we feel. These services include cryotherapy, compression, oxygen, infrared sauna, injury recovery, various massages, acupuncture, and more.
EvolvE first treated me to a compression and oxygen session, followed by cryotherapy. For compression, I was zipped into toe-to-thigh “boots.” Then the boots expanded and contracted with air, much like a blood pressure cuff. The sensation was interesting but relaxing, once I knew how far the boots would inflate.
The purpose of compression is to improve circulation and reduce soreness. Compression is popular with sporty types, athletes and amateurs alike. It is like a slow, methodical massage that gets the blood moving from the extremities throughout the body.
While in the boots, I was connected to an oxygen machine. The benefits of oxygen over time are numerous, including better sleep, potential allergy relief, and increased focus. Sign me up!
I felt good afterward, and then came the cherry on top of my wellness sundae: cryotherapy. I’ve been curious about cryotherapy since an article I read here on The Austinot a few years ago. As I checked off far too many “yes” boxes on my medical background sheet, I became even more excited to try such a promising treatment. The three minutes in the cryo chamber were truly a combination of thrills and chills. An attendant counted down for me, which was helpful—especially toward the end.
I felt incredible after my session, remarkably energized. I felt like The Incredible Hulk when he’s strong, only the opposite of angry.
Infrared Sauna and CBD Oil Massage
The infrared sauna is a bed you lie in, somewhat like a tanning bed, but with your head sticking out and tiny fans cooling your head. The EvolvE Cryo + Wellness staff sets you up in the bed on high hyperthermic temperature, so your body will break a sweat quickly.
You stay in the bed for 30 minutes, but have full control of the temperature. If I chose, I could turn off the machine or get out at any time. I stayed in, but did turn the heat down at one point. The sauna is good for circulation, detoxification, and metabolism.
Once my pores were good and open, the next treatment was a massage with CBD oil. The CBD oil massage is intended to aid in reducing pain, inflammation, stress, and anxiety. Once again, I felt great afterward—super relaxed, but also energized. All of these treatments work best with repeated visits, but you might feel immediate results like I did.
3411S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
LettyWoman Medical Aesthetics
Letty Lamont lives out her signature slogans, “Be your own kind of beautiful” and “Support your local girl gang.” An R.N. with years of working in wound care, Lamont shifted focus to medical aesthetics a few years ago and found her calling. She loves helping people claim or reclaim their confidence, providing treatments that enhance natural beauty and bring out an inner glow.
Lamont uses medical grade products such as deeply hydrating masks and serums, as well as fillers, Botox, and Dysport. She treated me to a handful of treatments to hydrate and tighten my skin, while leaving me looking like myself—only a fresher, glowing version.
We started my visit with a Dermaplane facial. Dermaplaning is non-invasive, yet requires a special surgical scalpel. This removes dead skin cells and any peach fuzz on your face. There is no pain involved, unlike waxing or laser hair removal. The result is a smooth face that looks revived, but with no redness or down time. Newly exfoliated, we went deeper–literally–with a DermaSweep treatment.
DermaSweep has a vacuum-like head with gentle bristles on it. While I like to think of it as simply magic, the science behind it stands up. It exfoliates and hydrates at the same time, improving circulation and infusing the skin with the good stuff (in my case, hylauronic acid to hydrate). It feels like a massage, but leaves your face looking renewed, plumped in the right places. The before and after pictures speak for themselves. The before picture hurts my feelings a little. Yay for the after! Plus, DermaSweep can stimulate collagen growth, which we love.
Next, Lamont chose an Egyptian Rose jelly mask for even more hydration. She has several types of masks for different skin benefits. The mask starts as a powder, then turns jelly-like with water. After a 10-minute application, it peels off in one piece, similar to rubber.
Our final treatment of the day was Dysport. Similar to Botox, Dysport works as a muscle relaxant. I was always wary of this kind of thing until I talked to Lamont about it. I couldn’t stand staring at the frown lines between my eyebrows. Lamont believes “less is more” sometimes, especially with a nervous client like me. She’s knowledgeable and personable. I see the difference in my skin after one visit, and I love it.
2105 Justin Lane – Facebook
After my treatments at EvolvE and LettyWoman, I couldn’t go around with a completely untamed mane, could I? Happily, Birds Barbershop came to the rescue! Birds is a wonderful Austin spot, the coolest hair salon this side of the Pecos—or the Mississippi. Stylist Clover took me in for a much needed cut and updated winter color. We decided on an auburn shade, with highlights and a toner to help it all blend.
At Birds, you’re surrounded by fun pop art, especially local art. The Austin business also partners with Independence Brewing Co. to offer clients a cold, local beer while they’re getting their hair done.
Clover was a true pro and fun to talk with. I’m super happy with my new hair color and cut!
Multiple locations – Website
IVitamin IV Therapy
IVitamin capitalizes on our need to keep moving and shaking, staying healthy and alert while we burn that candle at both ends. IVitamin offers IV vitamin therapy, formulated to strengthen our immunity and replenish our system. It offers individually mixed infusions of vitamin “cocktails” to aid in rehydration, athletic recovery, hangover or fatigue relief, weight loss, and immunity boosts.
The staff sets you up in a cozy chair, where you consult with a medical professional who makes a recommendation based on your background, routine, and desired outcome. I tried the “IWantItAll” ultimate drip, which combines the best antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals from all of the other drips. Due to the IV administration, the vitamins are absorbed into the bloodstream at 100 percent and much faster than with an oral dose.
IVitamin also offers the option of oxygen therapy while you’re getting your drip. I left feeling revived and replenished, ready to hit the Black Fret Black Ball that night.
515 S. Congress Ave. – Facebook
Most people think of physical therapy or physiotherapy as something you need after a surgery or injury. But both can help with chronic pain and every day stressors to our system, due to days spent sitting in front of a computer.
Latitude Physiotherapy’s founder and practitioner, Chris Gumbs, PT, DCT, ICDN, is hands-down the most effective physiotherapist I’ve ever seen. Gumbs shows genuine concern for his patients, exploring how our lifestyles and ingrained habits–such as the way we walk or sit–affect our comfort, movement, and pain.
Gumbs also practices dry needling for pain relief. He helped me not only with recovery after my knee surgery, but also with easing the pain and stiffness in my neck and shoulders from my job. Gumbs is a proponent of barefoot running, too, and offers movement and barefoot running classes in parks around town.
8500 Shoal Creek Blvd. – Website
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Cheekywell CBD products are made with organic hemp oil and designed specifically for women, by women. The premise is “plants can heal us and food is medicine.” The team sent me one of their specially crafted, single origin dark chocolate bars, The PMS Bar. In addition to hemp oil, this bar contains ingredients used for centuries to alleviate discomfort associated with PMS, including cherries, almonds, maca, and passionflower.
I tried The PMS Bar and shared it with friends. We all agreed it was calming, and you can never go wrong with dark chocolate. I also received some of Cheekywell’s cinnamint oral oil and CBD massage oil. I am new to the CBD craze. But so far, I can see its potential to relieve anxiety. It’s exciting to have new options.
Aviary Wine + Kitchen
Along with the wellness side of self-care comes a bit of pampering. Of course I thought of my old wine bar haunt, Aviary Wine + Kitchen. This once wine bar reopened in late 2017 as a full restaurant. I stopped in for a treat of bubbly and oysters. Founder Marco Fiorilo and his team are well-versed in pairing wine and food.
Fiorilo paired three types of New England oysters with bubbly for my happy hour. First, I had Lady Chatterley oysters from New Brunswick, paired with Biutiful cava from Spain. Next up, we tried Sex on the Bay oysters from New Brunswick with a Jacques Pelvas sparkling rosé from France. We ended the tasting with Fire Lake oysters paired with Tapiz malbec sparkling rosé from Argentina.
Aviary Wine + Kitchen definitely feels like a treat night, and the team is always helpful with recommending a perfect pairing.
2110 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
Guild on North Lamar invited me out to try the winter menu. This elegant, modern restaurant serves upscale food and has a knack for unusual combos. I started with the seasonal sour cocktail, Guild’s take on a New York sour, with the welcome addition of a clove-candied orange peel garnish. Then I tried the sage-smoked old fashioned, which had a classic taste and added torched sage garnish for a new twist.
The winter food menu was hearty and flavorful. My favorite dish was the potato gnocchi with shredded pieces of duck confit and a magnificent hunter’s sauce three days in the making. I also tried the barley risotto with chanterelle mushrooms and pieces of red rock shrimp. The risotto had a surprising sweetness, but the whole dish had a similar texture.
My friend loved the vegan bok choi the most. It was unlike any bok choi I’ve had, and quite good. Guild’s bok choi comes with fresh herbs, bits of kiwi, fried tofu croutons, and a cardamom sauce. All the flavors and textures melded together into one bright, tasty dish.
3800 N. Lamar Blvd. – Website
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Mia makes the most gorgeous chocolates. I became instantly obsessed when I saw them on Instagram. This woman-owned business only uses organic, single-source dark chocolate. Most pieces are brushed with a dab of gold or silver for an irresistible shimmer. The descriptions of the chocolate bon bons drive me mad. Consider the Snow Flower: chai-infused dulce de leche with spiced pecan praline. Are you kidding me?
Besides the out-of-this-world bon bons, Mia also makes bark with names like “vibrancy” and “happiness.” This is another woman-owned local business. Since I received my box of bon bons and bark, I’ve been savoring them for a week–eating one at a time. Indulging in such rich goodness is a big part of self-care.
Making Self-care a Priority
Whether embracing vegetarianism, vitamins, or getting outdoors, Austin has bought into healthy habits all along. Whole Foods knew what it was doing when it launched here.
Nowadays we know self-care, with its two pillars of wellness and pampering, is good for us. “You cannot pour from an empty cup” (roughly paraphrasing Eleanor Brownn). This is quickly becoming a reminder/mantra for busy people everywhere.
These Austin businesses helped fill my cup before the winter break. I hope these tips help you make a habit of treating yourself better and filling your cup. I plan on it myself.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Where do you go for wellness and pampering in Austin?
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