Asheville, North Carolina; an artistic town rich in locally sourced dishes, diverse culture and wellness attractions. Browse Trip Advisor, and you’ll find an overwhelming list of spas to choose from. While most are pretty great, there are a few that are specifically fascinating because of their unique treatments, breathtaking architecture, or both.
Still Point Wellness, best known as Asheville’s Salt Water Floatation (sensory deprivation) and Esalen® Massage spa, introduces a new “relaxation room” including a far infrared sauna and Migun massage bed to help locals ease into the winter months.
A friend and colleague invited me to experience saltwater flotation in his Asheville program called Still Point Wellness. “Still Point” not only has a saltwater flotation tank but highly skilled massage therapists, which includes Esalen Massage, yoga therapy, massage workshops and a Somatic Psychologist. I had experienced a saltwater flotation tank session many years ago when visiting a yoga retreat center earlier in my career as an integrative internist and psychiatrist. My memory of it was pleasant and very relaxing. I was eager to give it another try, especially with my interest in integrative strategies for health and wellbeing.
Still Point Wellness is located in the mountains of North Carolina, sheltered from much of the South in this little New Age Paradise where vegan restaurants and craft beer abound. We felt right at home pulling in from Portland. Corey, the owner of Still Point Wellness, started out in psychology, and he discovered floating at the Esalen Institute (the same place he discovered his wife).
#30 – Accessing Deep States of Mindful Relaxation to Guide the Transformation and Personal Growth Process
Each week, A Mindful Emergence provides an in-depth and informative look into addiction recovery, trauma relief and compassionate self-care, featuring conversations with specialists in the fields of mindfulness meditation, therapeutic movement, addiction treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder, and self-compassion therapies. The focus is the latest, evidence-based practices and treatments and how they can be integrated into daily life and ongoing challenges.
Check out our float tank on Jeopardy!
Still Point Wellness in Asheville helps us close the door to outside interference and open the window to inner peace and self-awareness. “Deep relaxation and skill building are at the core of everything we do,” says Corey Costanzo, LMBT, somatic coach, and counselor. He co-owns the spa with his wife Robin Fann-Costanzo, LMBT, yoga therapist and teacher, and massage educator.
Most people visit the Asheville, North Carolina area to see the huge, sprawling, Biltmore Estate. We decided to do Asheville a bit differently than most by skipping this massive building of excess and instead visited a tiny little minimalist-like space; a six foot by eight foot salt water flotation chamber at what has to be the best Asheville spa – Still Point Wellness.
Let’s take a journey, shall we?
Outdoor excursions (specifically the “Ultimate Stairmaster”) call for some serious TLC. Spas are my ultimate “happy place” so when I stumbled upon Still Point Wellness I knew it was a mandatory stop during our trip. Still Point Wellness is more than your average spa – it is a centre for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation. Still Point Wellness offers a multitude of services including salt water flotation, world class Esalen® Massage, somatic psychology and private yoga therapy and meditation.
Within a few seconds of my first Esalen Massage, I felt relaxed. I’d gotten several different styles of massage in the past and knew how to breathe deeply and let go of any apparent tension. Little did I know, however, just how relaxed I would feel when the 75 minutes were over. Let’s just say—I had reached a whole new level of stillness.
Winter has descended on Asheville, and it will remain for another month at least. But you can make the most of the gloom with a sense of adventure. No, we're not talking about outdoor exploration. We're looking around for indoor pursuits.
Corey shares his journey from Avenue M in Brooklyn to travels all over the world. However it wasn’t until he worked through the adversity of panic attacks that he discovered his path as a healer. And it was while staring at the stars in the pit of adversity of Thailand that he discovered his life’s mantra.
Seeking to uncover the lesser-known, innovative and ancient massage modalities practiced in Asheville, Mountain Xpress spoke with several therapists who are shaking up the scene.
Corey Costanzo sits with his daughter, Rosie, 5, as they listen to the opening ceremony of Walk A Mile Asheville at Pack Square Park on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Costanzo was representing Still Point Wellness in the walk.
See below for Dr. Cammarata’s four-week program – Mind-Body Wellness
Written by Dr. Larry Cammarata –
There is an ancient story from the Zen tradition about a young monk who was committed to seeking enlightenment. His master guided him to the edge of a meadow and said to him, “Walk deeper into the meadow and align your senses fully with your experience. What you first fully experience will be your door to enlightenment.”
Still Point Wellness
This healing arts spa will help you explore your inner experience and reconnect to the body's wisdom. Float in the state-of-the-art floatation chamber, be touched by masterful hands in an Esalen® Massage or cranial sacral session, and explore the connection between your mind and body through yoga therapy or asomatic (body) psychology session.
This was my first trip into a sensory deprivation chamber.
Insert your own lyrics from Jefferson Airplane here, or some lines from the Beatles about turning off your mind and floating downstream.
I’ve read about sensory deprivation for 20 years, and always wanted to experience it. But I never could find a floating tank close enough.
Then Still Point Wellness in Asheville, NC, built one.
The second I heard about it, I had to go.
“What an amazing experience to be alone in the dark for 90 minutes, floating weightlessly while deepening my inner awareness and releasing the things (body, mind and spirit) which have kept me tethered to the perception of lack and limitation. I shifted a lot of things and am still processing the rest….” (from Sandy Freschi’s Facebook page yesterday)
I’m in the process of gestating a creative project which requires me to go more deeply into my meditation practice and open up more to my creativity. The invitation to start this project prompted me to go on another inner retreat. It was time anyway, as I do them every 3-4 months. But this time I have the special purpose of deepening my meditation practice and accelerating my own inner transformation. So while investigating the options for doing this, a dear friend suggested the flotation tank at Still Point Wellness in Asheville, NC. I immediately “lit up” at the possibility (something that happens when you have a human design splenic authority which is telling you that this is a good decision). I made the appointment and went over yesterday for my first, of probably many, sensory deprivation flotation tank experiences.
2. Asheville, North Carolina
On the September 3, 2014 broadcast of The Late Show with David Letterman, Kristen Wiig expressed her love for the “hippie” town of Asheville, particularly the “great restaurants, Friday night drum circle, salt cave meditations,” and “concept spa” Still Point Wellness.
Corey Costanzo, manager of Still Point Wellness, has been offering healing-arts classes at LEAF since he and his wife, Robin Fann-Costanzo, moved to the area five years ago. The couple lead a restorative yoga class with didgeridoo music, and they will also have two booths at the festival to represent their spa.
“It’s an incredible way to be at the festival, mainly because there is so much stimulation going on,” says Corey Costanzo. “There are a lot of people that really need a retreat into themselves. What I notice is that a lot people come to us with headaches or feeling really tired or drained. Or they’re sleeping on the floor camping, so their bodies are aching, and I really think that having an hour massage or even a 20-minute chair massage can really help somebody to just get away to have a little miniretreat into their bodies and into wellness that will help them to enjoy the festival even more.”
Corey Costanzo says growing up in a mafia ridden neighborhood helped him understand the challenges that plague today's at-risk youth. Join Food Sleuth Radio Host and registered dietitian, Melinda Hemmelgarn, for her interview with Costanzo, coordinator of Kids at Work!, an Ashville, N.C.-based program that empowers youth through the culinary arts. Costanzo grew up in his father's pizzeria in Brooklyn, NY, and started cooking professionally at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. He also holds a Master's degree in clinical psychology, which enables him to use the magic of mealtime to counsel youth.
4- Still Point Wellness
Still Point Wellness is a healing arts spa in Asheville that is dedicated to help people explore their inner experience and reconnect to the body’s wisdom. www.stillpointwell.com
The World Massage Festival and Massage Therapy Hall of Fame is not your usual "massage convention". Open to therapists, instructors and the general public, the Festival offers affordable, world class, hands-on continuing education.
Fresh from spending much of the summer in Asheville, actress Kristen Wiig spent most of her Sept. 3 segment with David Letterman talking about her experiences in the city. Including her time in Still Point Wellness' float tank, which she visited twice.
A head-on motorcycle collision in Thailand sent Corey Costanzo, co-owner of Still Point Wellness, on an unexpected journey. “It was the middle of the night, and another motorcycle veered into my lane. It was really scary,” Costanzo recalls. “The other guy died.”
I’ve never been the meditating type. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even tried to meditate, barring the times I’ve sat and pondered the indignities of a Brazilian wax. I’m more action-oriented than spirit-oriented, more of a doer than a thinker. Most days, I’ll take adrenaline over rumination, and the only Yogi I know raids picnic baskets with his buddy Boo-Boo.
It’s a bright and blustery morning in North Asheville, where I am about to embark on a rather unique journey. With my heart pounding and my nerves afire, I am stepping into a dark, lonely box to float in silence in a warm, epsom-saltwater solution for 90 minutes.