Beyond Skin Deep
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Solace Wellness Center & MedSpa
This beautiful Tewksbury spa offers guests a peaceful sanctuary from their everyday cares and innovative products and services that can help them soothe their stresses, rid their bodies of toxins and bring their best selves to light.
If you asked most people what they think a med spa is like, a sterile office staffed by lab coat-clad clinicians wielding Botox needles might come to mind. After all, many med spas focus exclusively on the cosmetic products and procedures they offer, such as dermal fillers and chemical peels. But Dr. James Wu, a Board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and Diplomate of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine who holds a certification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University, and who is also a lifestyle and weight management coach, had a different vision when he opened Solace Wellness Center & MedSpa in Tewksbury in February 2018.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Solace is the overwhelming sense of calm. The space is large, airy and beautifully designed, the staff genuinely friendly, giving you the feeling that they really do care about how your day is going.
All of this, according to Wu, is by design.
“If someone is to feel truly well, they need to feel good about themselves; they need to manage their stress,” Wu says. “Our concept at Solace is to blend physical and emotional wellness to help people be at their best.”
Wu has incorporated concepts of prevention and health promotion from Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine into Solace’s treatment offerings. “There are important components of our overall health, like our emotional and spiritual wellbeing, that are not easily measured by Western methods,” Wu says. “I believe there is validity to those things even if we can’t explain them. That’s why
I wanted Solace to be a wellness center, not just a spa.”
Wu says he first became interested in non-Western health concepts several years ago when he was a therapeutic massage client. After a few sessions, Wu, who also maintains a surgical practice, noticed an improvement in his ability to work on his feet all day, every day. He had more energy and felt better in general. “I felt like massage would help me lengthen my career,” Wu says.
Solace’s model also stems in part from Wu’s research on the effects of chronic inflammation on our bodies and how, according to some studies, it can cause a range of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, certain cancers, gum disease and premature aging.
“I read two books that really influenced my thinking,”
Wu says. “One was ‘The Inflammation Syndrome’ by Jack Challem, which talks about how many diseases that are common today are tied to chronic inflammation. The other was ‘The China Study’
[by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II], which talks about a long-term study of nutrition in China, and basically how people living in urban areas with a more Westernized diet have higher rates of cancer and heart disease than people living in rural areas who eat a plant-based diet.”
Because the skin is the body’s largest organ and is constantly exposed to the elements, Wu says that one of the most common ways that inflammation-causing toxins enter the body is through the skin.
To help address this, Solace offers a variety of skincare offerings which include several types of organic facials that, among other things, aim to rid the skin of toxins and improve its texture and brightness.
Solace also offers guests the use of three far infrared saunas.
Used for decades in Scandinavia, saunas can help stimulate blood flow and improve circulation, treat muscle and joint pain, help the body rid itself of toxins such as heavy metals, and also help to melt away your daily stress.
“The far infrared wavelength penetrates the skin and heats the body from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, like most saunas,” Wu says. “This can help the body eliminate impurities and even help decrease high blood pressure and improve heart health.”
Another cause of chronic inflammation is poor diet. “There are a lot of things we can control and do from a nutritional standpoint to stay healthy,” Wu says.
All Solace’s core team members are trained in lifestyle and weight management coaching. Guests interested in doing so can take advantage of this added benefit that Solace offers. “We’re not there to yell at people and tell them what they’re doing is wrong,” Wu says. “Our goal is to provide advice and encouragement, fresh ideas that people can adapt to their own lifestyle.”
According to Wu, many of Solace’s clients come in because they are interested in improving the way they look. “Most of our guests are in their 40s, 50s and 60s,” Wu says. “They tell us they want to look a little fresher, maybe five or 10 years younger.”
The spa offers a number of what Wu calls “advanced treatments,” things like Botox and Xeomin injections that can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the face, and advanced facials, such as the IPL Skin Rejuvenation and Photofacial, which uses light therapy to smooth your skin while treating facial veins, skin discoloration and age spots.
To insure the best results and to protect their clients’ safety, Solace uses skin care products in its facials that have been certified organic by the European Union standard called COSMOS EcoCert. “The FDA doesn’t regulate cosmeceuticals. The E.U. does,” Wu says.
One of Wu’s goals is to develop personal relationships with Solace’s clients. Because it’s Solace’s business to help people improve themselves in areas that can feel quite personal, Wu wants the spa’s guests to feel comfortable at Solace, to think of the spa as a respite from their everyday lives. “First and foremost, we want our guests to get to know us and trust us,” Wu says.
One of the ways Solace is making this happen is by offering spa and wellness packages that make it easier, and often more cost effective, for guests to take advantage of the spa’s facilities and services. These range from the “Refresh Package,” which includes unlimited use of Solace’s saunas and relaxation areas, 12 facials and discounts on products, to the “Ultimate Solace Lifestyle Package,” which includes multiple benefits chosen from Solace’s Advanced Treatments menu like DermaFrac Micro-channeling Facials, IPL Hair Removal and Xeomin for elimination of facials lines and wrinkles.
For people interested in seeing what Solace has to offer but might feel hesitant to call because they aren’t sure what types of services they want or need, Solace offers first-time guests a reasonably priced introductory service that includes skin analysis, a customized facial and a visit to the far infrared sauna. As an extra bonus for the telephone-shy, appointments can be booked right on Solace’s website.
“Our main goal is to help improve our guests’ quality of life,” Wu says. “If we can affect one or two things in a positive direction, sometimes that’s enough to encourage people to make other healthy changes.”
Solace Wellness Center & MedSpa