The Wellness Cooperative, situated on South Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria, was shaped by owner Jeanette Wages on the solid foundation of the former acupuncture center, Holistic Touch. Jeanette took over the reins in April 2018 and brought renewed energy and new services for their faithful clientele. Blooming into a fresh version of the massage and skincare spa, Jeanette was guided by the philosophy of whole-body wellness, including the often-over-looked health of the mind.
A Few Minutes with Holistic Empowerment Coach Jeanette Wages
Q: What experiences in your own life led you to find your passion for wellness?
Growing up in Germany, I’ve always had a tendency to lean natural when it came to my food and health choices. I’ve also always been really active, walking whenever possible. Moving to Seattle for college was my real introduction to the world of pharmaceuticals and processed foods, and I quickly realized they did not make my body happy. It wasn’t until my 30s, though, that I really learned about and embraced the holistic ideals of wellness. This year, I had one of the most eye-opening moments and immediately understood why I was meant to build this community and business. It was early January, my four-year relationship ended via text message, and for me it seemed out of nowhere. I was sitting on my bathroom floor with a glass of bourbon trying to figure out what just happened with my life. Trying to figure out how I was going to keep a new business running without the emotional and financial support of the person I thought was my partner in life. I fell apart. But luckily, with the help of my phenomenal team and some clients, I didn’t stay there long. I got reiki. I did emotional release massage. I saw our life coach. I used my essential oils. I went to every workshop we had. I leaned into my community and with their help became more aligned with myself and stronger than I have ever been. I now fully embrace meditation, manifestation, gratitude journaling, and Kundalini yoga. I put so much self-care into my daily existence because without them, I would still be a puddle of sadness on the bathroom floor.
Q: What and who inspired you to purchase the spa and rebrand as your own?
Tequila! I’m kidding, sort of. Honestly, the day Linda asked me if I wanted to buy the business was one of the toughest days of the year for me personally, as it was the anniversary of a dear friend’s suicide. Even with me not being in the brain space to be able to fully understand what I was about to agree to, I knew immediately I was going to say yes. It was a no brainer. I had been managing Holistic Touch for three years at that point and I knew the ins and outs of the business. I loved the team and our clients and had three full years of ideas of the things I would do if given total freedom. The rebrand was also a given to me. Holistic Touch had built something wonderful and had served their clients well. Without a background in traditional Chinese Medicine, the Holistic Touch brand just didn’t fit my vision. In the beginning, I really wanted to bring the team in on the decisions and what would be their ideal place to work, marrying their ideas with the vision I had been building in my head. The Wellness Cooperative was born. We closed down for one day in between Holistic Touch ending and The Wellness Cooperative beginning to give her a face lift and to give all of us an energetic shift into this new chapter.
Q: What new services did you add when you took over?
With us stepping away from acupuncture and traditional Chinese Medicine, which had dominated the previous business, my number one goal was still to create a healing space with elevated services that were both pampering and wellness-oriented. We really stepped up the level and types of massage we offer to be on a therapeutic and medical grade. I brought in a Master Esthetician to bring balance between the nourishing organic facials and the quick results skin services, adding Dermaplane, LED Facials and Microneedling to meet the needs and preferences of all our clients. The biggest change in our service menu is our elaborate coaching options. Education is huge to me. I want people to know every level of self-care, why it’s important, and how to truly bring those changes to your life. We now offer Intuitive Life Coaching, Guided Meditation and Spiritual Ascension Guidance with Nathaly, Life Coaching with Positive Psychology with Kristine, Janette and Betty are amazing health coaches, Jenny brings us her background in (therapy) and love of holistic modalities and yoga,, and I have a focus on Empowerment Coaching and public speaking engagements. So, no matter who you are there, is someone here you can relate to and can help guide you along your path.
Q: What are the most popular treatments and services lately?
Crystals, CBD, essential oils, and all things detox are so in right now, which is perfect for us because they are what we have been doing all along (CBD was more recent with the legalization aspect). I would say crystals are my favorite of the trends right now (thank you Instagram). Not only are they beautiful, they are healing, powerful and dynamic. You’ll find them all over our space. We also use them in our Jade Stone Facials, our Rose Quartz or Amethyst eye and face masks for relaxing during face-up portions of massage, reiki and facials. They are incorporated in many reiki sessions to align the chakras and some can even be used during massage in a technique similar to cold stone massage. Just in case you can’t get enough like we can’t, we have them on our retail shelves in raw form, as jewelry, crystal facial rollers, in our rose water spray and we also have the beautiful eye and face masks for sale.
Q: Why is the mind-body connection so important to overall health?
I have gone through periods of my life that have been dominated by migraine and cluster headaches, my whole body will start to hurt, random tremors. And, I have gone to the doctor and been tested for everything under the sun. Nothing. By all accounts, I was perfectly healthy. Clearly, my body was saying otherwise. Every single time something would change in my life, like the end of a relationship or removal of a major stressor, suddenly all the symptoms were gone. To me, the link is clear: When I’m trying to ignore my intuition about a toxic person or situation, when I’m not mitigating my stress, my physical health suffers. The same applies in the other direction as well. When you are in pain, feeling sick or having issues with your skin, these things can start to take a toll on your mental and emotional health. This is why I created a space where people can come and be a whole person, not just a shoulder pain or acne sufferer, but a person who has emotional and mental aspects either contributing to or suffering because of those other issues.As a domestic violence survivor and having grown up around the military, I have a soft spot in my heart for trauma and PTSD sufferers. I have made it part of my life mission to educate and bring a space for healing. One of my favorite talks was on massage and mental health and how massage can help release not only physical traumas locked in the body, but emotional ones as well.
Q: How is working with a life coach different from working with a therapist?
Let me begin by saying that traditional talk therapy is extremely beneficial to a lot of people for many situations. It was never for me. I’m more of the person who says, “okay, yes, I have trauma in my past, but it’s over here in the corner packed in duct tape, wrapped (in) barbed wire and dusty, so let’s leave it there and just talk about where I go from here.” To me, that’s the beauty of life. Empowerment and intuitive coaching meet you where you are and look forward. Does that mean we won’t talk about things from the past that may have created limited beliefs or blocks on your path to where you want to be? Absolutely not. We are going to occasionally talk about some tough stuff, but it will always be framed with where how to move forward.
Q: Tell us about your efforts to give back to the community.
Community involvement is a vital element to the success of this dream. We are coming into people’s worlds and changing them, hopefully always in a positive way, and those people are going out into the world and being a light. Beyond the idea of changing one person to change the world through our community education and workshops, we also make sure to be involved in causes that touch our hearts and the people around us.On the 22nd of each month, we offer $22, 30-minute massages or reiki sessions to veterans, active duty, national guard and reservist in our mission to bring awareness and prevention for veteran suicide. I am also the Networking Chair for the St. Jude Walk/Run DC and have worked hard to bring Alexandria to the forefront of cities bringing that walk to life. Though many don’t think of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a local organization because the hospital is in Memphis, many children from this area have been patients there or have received life-saving treatments locally because of the research done in Memphis. We also try to be involved as often as possible with the ALX Community sandwich-making events for Martha’s Table or local schools. Really anyway to show our gratitude and spread light and love, you can count us in.
For more information, visit TheWellnessCooperative.com or call 703-299-0500 to schedule your appointment.