by Jocelyn Jane Cox
I find that there’s almost nothing more hopeful than new businesses opening and flourishing close to home. And if these businesses actually provide coping mechanisms that can uplift and edify our community, even better. This is why I am so pleased that the Wholeness Center has recently opened in Valley Cottage.
The Wholeness Center is part spa, part wellness center, part community center–and it does it all with a holistic approach. Although it had a soft opening in December, and has begun offering a wide range of services and workshops, the Wholeness Center is just getting started. A scroll through their website reveals a variety of wellness options: hydrafacial massages, Reiki, guided meditation, men’s programs, creative circles, and more. The overall concept is to bring wellness to the mind, body, and spirit.
The Wholeness Center is located in a three-floor building, formerly occupied by Bee Alive, Inc., at 7 New Lake Road, just off of Route 303. The building is being refurbished one floor at a time. Wholeness Director Michele Miller calls this Phase One. As they complete the other two floors later in the year, they will offer more and more programming.
Miller, who has been in the beauty and skincare industry since 1975 and who was formerly the owner of Coku spa in Piermont, says that once they finish renovating the center will be afforded a lot of flexibility. “We want to bring to Rockland County–really to the tri-state area–what has been missing here: a multi-faceted healing center.”
Ariana Breganti, who is Miller’s daughter, co-founded the Wholeness Center with Kristin Giacopelli. They have been dreaming of opening this kind of center for many years and are thrilled that it has all come together now. “We realize the need for a place for people to come for healing and relaxing during these divided times,” Miller says. “You can come here and forget what is going on in the outside world.”
Meri Gazzetta, the Director of Massage Therapy, adds, “And people can also become more equipped to handle the stresses of today.” People can come for an individual class or service or even purchase packages, and spend the whole day. Clients could, for example, start the day with a guided meditation, go into therapeutic talk therapy, followed by a facial, massage, and yoga class, finishing with a detox program.
Swedish, Shiatsu, and Accupressure Massage
I was lucky enough to receive an excellent massage there from Gazzetta. I entered on the first floor and was greeted by the calming sound of water features, soft lighting, and earth tones. And this massage–combing Swedish, Shiatsu, and Accupressure techniques–was exactly what I needed: both restorative and relaxing, with soothing World music in the background. Gazzetta says that this blend of bodywork, called the Sacred Signature Massage, “brings your experience to a higher level by manipulating the muscles and soft tissues directly while mindfully addressing the energetic pathways (via meridians and accupoints) in support of whole body and mind wellness.”
After my massage, I got a tour of the rest of the space, which is under construction, and it looks promising. They plan to expand the retail space with skin care products and accessories imported from all over the world, as well as a juice bar and a large studio for therapeutic yoga and meditation.
Tom Kelley and The Men’s Institute
Most exciting is the variety of workshops and services they are scheduling, like the ones Tom Kelley is running as part of The Men’s Institute @ Wholeness Center. He tells me that this programming “aims to give boys and men all the access to the type of self-improvement and growth programs that women have traditionally enjoyed.” In that vein, they have regular Men’s Groups, where men get into a deeper exploration of their lives, growing, and becoming better men in the process. There is also a monthly workshop about men that is for women. The workshop aims to open women’s eyes to the nature of men and give them tools to navigate richer relationships.
Tom Kelley says of the Wholeness Center, “It’s just so fulfilling to be a part of a place whose focus is on inclusion, connection, and spirit.”
A friend of mine, Matt Kelley (no relation to Tom Kelley), who is a Nyack resident and father of two young boys, attended a recent workshop at the Wholeness Center called “Conscious Expression in Troubling Times.” It is a program offered for both men and women. “I was moved and refreshed by the diverse group and thoughtful conversation at the event,” he says. “At a time of such divisiveness in our country – and our county – the conversation gave me several clear strategies for listening to and engaging with people with perspectives and backgrounds different from mine.”
A Place for All Ages
I also appreciate Wholeness’s commitment to accommodate a wide range of ages. They currently offer “Rock Steady Yoga” for kids of varying age groups (4-18), and they are planning various workshops for Seniors and veterans.
Last weekend, my son and I had a chance to attend a four-year-old birthday party run by Rachael Klein, who oversees the creative circles for adults and children. She formerly ran similar art-based programming at Circle on the Farm in Orangeburg. At this party, more than 20 children made Mala necklaces out of what Klein called wishing beads. When they were all finished, they were encouraged to whisper secret wishes into the necklaces. (My own four-year-old son, who has attended Klein’s creative circles in the past, not only had fun, he wished with all his might for a new toy police car.)
Klein embarked on this journey as a way to infuse love and creativity in her own community and to “encourage personal face-to-face connection in a meaningful way.” She is looking forward to co-creating circles, events, classes, and workshops at the Wholeness Center.
“I believe that we are all creative beings and we can all benefit from tapping into our creative soul. The Wholeness Center’s vision of creating community around healing, self care, and support is a perfect place for me to continue the work I did at Circle on the Farm.”
I am looking forward to going back to the Wholeness Center to explore more of their offerings with my family and my friends. Their desire to provide support, inspiration, and balance at this point in time is welcome in my life and I’m excited to watch this project as it develops.