Washington’s newest addition isn’t another restaurant or bed and breakfast. Instead, it’s the first of its kind within the town’s borders – Little Washington Wellness & Spa.
The spa, which first opened its doors on March 9, is owned by Sperryville resident Jackie Meuse and run day-to-day by a staff of six, including front desk coordinator Peyton Payne, four certified massage therapists (CMTs) – Christina Murray, Angela Morgan, Michael Gwin and Rebekah Oyster – and Holland Hawkins, a master esthetician who specializes in maintaining and improving healthy skin.
Morgan, who also manages the office, thinks the spa is a natural fit in a rural area flush with B&Bs and natural beauty, but lacking places that can pamper vacationers the way many are accustomed to.
“People go on vacation to relax,” said Morgan. “A lot of people want a massage and a relaxing service. It’s perfect for rainy days, too.”
Morgan adds that part of the reason the spa opened was because of popular demand. Morgan said she had heard from several of her B&B owner friends that guests had inquired about spa services when exploring the county.
“We had a woman pop in for a massage while her husband slept,” Morgan laughed.
The spa, which is located at 261 Main Street, right behind the office of the very paper you’re reading this in, already offers a number of services, including couples massages, natural skin care programs (and soap-making classes), information seminars and hypnotherapy and plans to expand its offerings shortly to include meditation classes for up to six people.
Hypnotherapy, as practitioner Laura Skauge explained, is a form of psychotherapy designed to create an unconscious change in a person’s responses or thoughts. Skauge, who has been practicing hypnotherapy for 18 years, has used it to help patients stop smoking, effectively manage pain, combat insomnia, allay fears and affect changes to diet or exercise.
“It feels like a natural part [of the spa’s other services],” Skauge said. “It could help lead to a richer life. You can do a lot with a change in attitude . . . You can even slow blood loss with practice!”
“A lot of people think of massages and other services as a ‘luxury,’ but they help reduce stress pain and anxiety,” Morgan said. “They’re a form of health care as well.”
Meuse added that there are also plans for kid-centric health classes, where participants can learn healthier cooking techniques, as well as make their own lip balm, among other offerings.
“We started out kind of slowly to find our process and develop a routine,” Meuse said. “I really thought this was something we [the town] needed . . . We have a passion for wellness . . . [and] everyone needs something different to be well.”
The spa plans to encourage more Rappahannock County residents to stop in by offering online discounts to locals, including 15-percent off facials and massages Mondays through Thursdays (use NEWCLIENT promo code) and a 5-percent discount off online orders (use the code LOCALS). For more information on Little Washington Wellness & Spa, including a full list of services, call 540-675-1031 or visit LittleWashingtonSpa.com, where you can book your next appointment and browse the spa’s many other healthy offerings.
One of the spa’s more unique offerings, at least at first glance, is a reflexology session with CMT Michael Gwin. Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is a form of alternative medicine involving carefully applied pressure to the hands, ears or (in my case) feet.
As Gwin explained during my session, “The way we’re put together is so complicated . . . Applying pressure to one area [of the foot] can actually help relieve pressure in a completely different area.”
In my case, at several points I could feel pressure (and tension) being released in my back, despite the focus being solely on my feet. I admit to being skeptical beforehand, but Gwin was absolutely correct – afterwards I felt notably more relaxed for the rest of the day.
I’d highly recommend a reflexology session if you get the chance. I can promise that, as during my session, Stonewall-Hawthorne supervisor Chris Parrish won’t stop by for the sole purpose of taking a picture of you as you begin to unstress (at least up until that point).
Trust me – you’ll feel much better afterwards.