The words “may all beings be happy and free” are etched in gold script into the marble doorstep of the Well, a new upscale wellness club that opened its doors this week on East 15 Street, a block off Union Square.
It’s a nice, clear mantra for a members’ club that emphasizes good vibrations — but the uninitiated may want to keep their dictionaries handy from here on out.
Inside, members are greeted with a blizzard of buzzwords: “modalities,” “thought leaders,” “mindfulness,” “unified protocol,” “expanded blood panels,” “craniosacral.” This is woo-woo at its trendiest.
On the morning The Post visited the space, hardly a minute went by without a young female passerby dressed in fantastically patterned yoga pants pausing to make saucy eyes at the Well’s airy ground-floor restaurant (run by the health-food sages of Cafe Clover) and retail space (which features everything from tinctures to singing bowls to supplements).
This is woo-woo at its trendiest.
They seemed to know that this was designed just for them.
“There are all kinds of amazing healers in New York, practicing in locations that are subpar,” Sarrah Hallock, COO and co-founder of the Well, tells The Post. “You’ll be at the acupuncturist and have to get a key and go down the hall to use the bathroom, and there is that orange soap, and it’s not a great experience. We knew that if we built a beautiful space, they would come.”
So far, the Well — with other founders who include CEO Rebecca Parekh and CCO Kane Sarhan — has 400 members paying $375 a month (plus a $500 initiation fee) for one-on-one health reviews, access to spa-like amenities and lectures. (For members under 32, it’s $210.) The 18,000-square-foot, three-floor club house, formerly a Pier 1, offers a vast list of services mixing stuff your football coach has heard of (personal training, sports therapy) to more exotic things (energy healing, reiki, Ayurveda, indigo poultice). On Thursdays, there’s a support group led by the director of Head and Heart, wherein members discuss relationships, sex and intimacy, anxiety and “how to feel a sense of connection and purpose with your community,” says Parekh.
“We think of health as a dynamic ecosystem,” says Sarhan. “Managing your health requires a care team, and it’s not just about Western medicine, Eastern philosophies, green juice, yoga or eating healthy. It’s a little bit of everything. So we bring together all of these practitioners who work together and treat you holistically as a team.”
That means that if you come in to the Well with sleeplessness, chronic headaches or an autoimmune disease, the treatment plan will take into account the herbs prescribed to you by the Chinese medicine specialist. Some services, including unlimited yoga, meditation and movement classes, are included in the price of membership; specialty treatments cost more — anywhere from $60 for for a half-hour of reflexology to $1,080 for an hour and 20 minutes of “integration” therapy with three therapists and three treatments of your choosing.
“It’s so amazing to see our head of Ayurveda having conversation with our head of Chinese medicine,” says Hallock. “You have these ancient wisdom traditions and medicine systems that have been around for thousands of years coming together. It’s really powerful.”
The space itself, designed by Rose Ink Workshop, is outfitted in serene shades of white, scented with a mixture of cedarwood, frankincense, bergamot and ylang-ylang created by a bio-alchemist, and propped out with with minerals, sponges, hand-carved woods and macramé wall hangings. Crystals set with unique intentions are placed under each room in the clubhouse: blue angelite and black tourmaline lie beneath the Reflexology Lounge, while the Movement Studio is underscored with rose quartz and golden-hued rutilated quartz.
“There are these little spots where I know clusters of crystals are,” says Parekh. “I see members naturally gathering in those places.”
There are more than 300 plants in the space, all cared for by the resident “plant whisperer,” who selects plants based on natural healing and air-purification qualities and “communicates” with them.
“Our plant whisperer is one of the most fabulous women we ever met,” says Sarhan. “She is here every day, and at night she sings to the plants and puts them to bed.”
A month spent here living according to the shaman’s orders — eating the “nondogmatic” (meaning, not adherent to any one diet) organic foods in the restaurant, ohmming in the sound-proofed, shag-carpeted mediation dome, sweating out toxins in the saunas and working on your chi with the Vibrational Energy Healing director — would no doubt leave you dewy eyed and levitating. And according to the founders, third eyes are already opening.
“We had some really powerful moments here this weekend,” says Parekh. “We had a man in a meditation class who started to cry. He was crying a lot. The meditation teacher went to check on him and he said, ‘Don’t worry. I’m so good. These are tears of joy. I’m just so happy right now. I’ve been looking for something like this in New York for so long.’ ”