Spa and Wellness Experiences with an Asheville Twist
Salt caves, foot spas and yoga tours, oh my!
Asheville, North Carolina’s reputation as a destination for health and wellness dates back to the 1800s. Flash forward to today's modern spa and health-centric culture where experiences range from the legendary 40,000 square-foot underground spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn—consistently ranked among the top spas in the world—to innovative, new age rejuvenation adventures.
When we're on vacation, many of us crave experiencing something out of the ordinary—an activity that stands apart from the monotony of everyday life. Here is an insider’s guide to some of the interesting and under-the-radar spa and wellness experiences in Asheville:
Have you ever tried a foot spa?
A sure-to-be-a-hit choice for girl’s night out, Wake Foot Sanctuary & Spa in the historic Grove Arcade provides a blissful respite for the soul - and some much-needed love to those weary feet. With numerous spa services on the menu, guests can opt for a specifically tailored spa package, or shop "a-la-cart" from the spa menu. Awaken all of your senses as you nourish those tired muscles, savoring a pot of aromatic tea, and nibble on locally-made deserts. Choose a simple foot soak featuring ingredients such as lemongrass, green tea, and avocado oil, or enhance your experience by adding a foot and lower leg, hand and arm, or head and neck massage.
Salt therapy, also known as speleotherapy, offers guests an unparalleled spa experience. Unwind in a tranquil cave formed of solely natural materials – nothing but salt, wood, and water – at the Asheville Salt Cave. Surprisingly, this relaxing experience is located just blocks north downtown Asheville! The majestic atmosphere is comprised of salt crystals ranging in size from 6 ounces to 300 pounds. Each 45-minute session provides guests with ample time to relax while reaping the benefits of this unique microclimate, which aids in the treatment of respiratory problems, digestive ailments, skin problems, sleep maladies, depression and more.
Just south of downtown you'll find the Salt Spa of Asheville. This Himalyan Salt Therapy Cave gives you the opportunity to be pampered from a hot salt stone massage to energy healing. Every month in the cave, there are special events including Crystal Bowl Meditation, Gong Meditation and Yoga Nidra.
While actress Kristen Wiig was in town filming the 2015 movie Masterminds, she enjoyed the Salt Water Flotation experience at Still Point Wellness so much that she returned for a second dip - and then raved about it in an interview with David Letterman.
Occasionally referred to as sensory deprivation, this enriching practice decreases blood pressure, slows breathing and heart rate, calms the mind and body, and boosts endorphin levels. Cast your apprehensions aside as you float, completely free from all outside stimulation such as light and sound, in 13 inches of skin temperature water loaded with 1,500 pounds of Epsom-salt.
Hot Tubs With a View
Nestled in the mountains surrounding Fairview, just east of Asheville, is Shoji Resort and Spa. Each Japanese-inspired private deck offers an unmatched forested view while the added salts and minerals nourish skin and enhance well-being. Order a pot of tea, provided by local favorite Dobra Tea, and some bites to indulge in during your time in the tub. With admittance to the private hot tubs comes access to the rejuvenating cold plunge, the cedar sauna, and all spa amenities. If desired, you can top off your visit with a restorative massage!
Luxuriate in a Hot and Cold Contrast
The mixture of hot and cold therapy has been used for centuries to aid in the recovery of mind and body. At Sauna House, one of the newest spas in Asheville, you can unwind in a healthy environment and explore the healing effects of sauna and cold plunge. The Nordic style bathhouse is located in West Asheville. It's a communal space meant to be shared in a social but calm atmosphere. You'll start in the sauna, helping to remove negative tension in the body. Next is the cooling shower or cool plunge to decrease inflammation. Finally you will relax and hydrate, allowing the body to self regulate temperature and heart rate. Other services include deep tissue massage and epsom salt footbath.
Feel the Healing Power of Sound
Sound healing is an ancient practice used by many cultures as a form of therapy through various frequencies. At the Skinny Beats sound shop in downtown Asheville, owner and percussionist Billy Zanksi uses crystal bowls, gongs, harps and several other instruments "to create a peaceful atmospheric soundscape to assist in relaxation and healing." Zanski has been practicing sound healing for more than 15 years.
Soak Your Worries Away in a Natural Hot Spring
One of the greatest remedies that nature has to offer, water from natural mineral hot springs helps to relieve fatigue and stress, increase circulation, and ease muscle stiffness. Located just off of the Appalachian Trail, these natural hot springs, in the nearby (and aptly named) town of Hot Springs provide picture-perfect, post-hike relaxation.
Get Bendy on a Wellness Tour
Looking for a way to combine a few of Asheville's wellness adventures? Asheville Wellness Tours will guide your group on a 2 or 3-hour total rejuvenation experience and downtown walking tour that features the best of wellness that Asheville has to offer.
You can practice your asanas beneath the open air while warrior posing your way through the city. The tours often include local honey tastings at The Asheville Bee Charmer, tea tastings at Dobra Tea, essential oil blending at the Herbiary and more. You can add on a stop at the Asheville Salt Cave where you'll enjoy a relaxing speleotherapy session before rejoining actuality all refreshed and invigorated. Have a group of four or more? Make it a private tour. The team at Asheville Wellness Tours can customize tours for groups based on what wellness experiences sound most relaxing to you.
Other Asheville Wellness Tour offerings include private group yoga classes, group tarot and mobile massage. Asheville Wellness Tours also offers Yoga on the Mountain hikes. Choose from a classic yoga hike to a mountaintop in the Blue Ridge Mountains or a new sunset yoga hike.
Namaste in Nature, offers its unique take on the hiking and yoga experience in the most beautiful natural environments. The most popular experience is a relaxing 2.5-mile hike to an epic 100-foot waterfall for meditation and yoga in the forest. Other experiences include yoga and meditation with mountain views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the deluxe triple waterfall experience or a yoga experience that will come to you. You can also book a private yoga hike for your group.
Explore Holistic Health and Wellness
At De La Terre's unique clinic and spa, discover a new dimension in natural skin care. The treatments and products offered are designed to help you regroup, recharge and rethink your approach to achieving healthy, vibrant skin. De La Terre is located in the historic Grove Arcade building, an architectural gem in downtown Asheville.
Visit a beautiful, 54-acre mountain retreat center known as the OM Sanctuary to learn and further explore holistic wellness. OM stands for Oshun Mountain Sanctuary. During your visit, you have the opportunity to truly relax in cell phone free common areas. Take holistic classes, enjoy the wellness center, hike the woodland trail and enjoy the gardens and waterfall.
Traditional Spa Experiences
Asheville offers a wealth of day spas that have more traditional wellness and massage experiences. These spas include the Spa at Biltmore Village, Relax and Rejuvenate Massage and Spa, Adelaide Spa and Salon, Sensibilities Day Spa, Spa Theology, Massage Envy and Zen Asheville Inn and Spa Retreat. You'll also find boutique spas inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village and The Inn on Biltmore Estate.
See our full list of spas and wellness experiences in Asheville.
Top photo by Reggie Tidwell. Additional photos courtesy of Wake Foot Sanctuary & Spa, Asheville Salt Cave, Still Point Wellness, Shoji Spa and Sauna House. Yoga hike photo provided by Namaste in Nature.