Published on November 20, 2018

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Photography by Phoebe Cheong

Self-care is an important part of any balanced lifestyle, but let’s face it: The pursuit of staying “well” is time-consuming. Facials for brightening and clearing your skin, massages to release tension and stress, meditation studios for renewed peacefulness, infrared saunas and high-intensity workouts for endorphin releases—achieving peak physical and mental wellbeing costs time and a whole lotta money.

Thankfully, there is a modern day solution—and shortcut—to expedite all this expertise. Heyday for facials on demand, Chillhouse (and The Now for you LAers) for immediate massages with cool vibes, MNDFL for a quiet place to reflect, HigherDOSE for red light therapy, and New York Pilates for a quick sweat.

But what about acupuncture? The ancient medical practice has been proven to significantly reduce stress, increase energy, and give much-needed digestive relief, and yet it’s one of the most under-serviced, archaic fields in the wellness industry. Pricey office fees, darkly lit (or worse—fluorescent) spaces that don’t encourage relaxation, and inconvenient appointment availability—it doesn’t exactly encourage repeat business. That’s unfortunate because powerful results are only possible through repetition.

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Photography by Phoebe Cheong

That’s where Dr. Shari Auth and Michelle Larivee saw their in: welcome to WTHN, where ancient medicine meets modern science. Auth, a certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and Chinese medicine practitioner, and entrepreneur Larivee are looking to change what natural healing looks like. “The WTHN space is designed to activate and engage all five senses from carefully chosen lights, artwork, and colors to the signature scent of bergamot frankincense that uplifts and grounds. [There is also] proprietary sound therapy by Nate Martinez and heated tables for total comfort,” says Larivee.

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Photography by Phoebe Cheong

The 2,200-square-foot space opened this week in Flatiron and was designed by Hyphen & Co., the boutique interior design agency behind other serene designs like MNDFL and Rent the Runway. The space caters to busy New Yorkers, so hectic city dwellers can instantly be transported into their own little wellness oasis once walking in the door. “Acupuncture works by unlocking the body’s powerful natural healing mode,” says Auth. To honor that power, the studio was designed to reflect these natural elements: a wall of air plants add lush greenery, whitewashed wood creates a sense of calm, and textured light fixtures emit a soft glow. Don’t be fooled by this calming oasis though—it’s not beige and boring. The space also showcases colorful bursts of fun, such as a hypnotic paint swirl–inspired backdrop in the post-treatment vanity area.

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Photography by Phoebe Cheong

For designer Shelly Lynch-Sparks and her team at Hyphen & Co., it was all about creating a story, as well as a new journey for the overall acupuncture experience. “Upon entry, the space is fun and bright but transitions to a calming palette once you’re in the treatment oasis, making it easier it to wind down from the NYC hustle,” says Lynch-Sparks. “The details of each shape in every area—from the light fixtures to the millwork to the wallpaper—work together to create a seamless experience that guides your journey through the space.”

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Photography by Phoebe Cheong

At WTHN, the menu is built around three clearly defined 45-minute treatments. Prevent addresses stress, anxiety, and fatigue; Heal is for sleep troubles, digestion issues, and pain; and Glow is a unique, buzzy acupuncture treatment for your face, meant to impart a rejuvenated, calming glow. Beyond just needles, WTHN offers sound therapy, LED light therapy, herbal “prescriptions,” and cupping. Feeling well never came so easily or looked so good.

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