Copyright 2006 Phoebe Cheong, all rights reserved

Is acupuncture the next boutique wellness trend?

WTHN founders Dr. Shari Auth and Michelle Larivee and their investors are betting on “yes.” Open today in New York’s Flatiron District, the studio is aiming to reimagine natural healing through accessibility, beautiful design and streamlined offerings.

Larivee found her way to acupuncture several years ago after a skiing accident left her in chronic pain. She found that not only did her pain subside, but that she was also less stressed, sleeping better and had a stronger immune system.

“I really had my own eyes opened to the power of preventative health care and these tools that you could really use to stay healthy,” she says. “And then I started to think about in this world of SoulCycle and Sweetgreen, why wasn’t there a modern reimagination of acupuncture — something that was accessible, easy to get to, convenient and also an elevated experience?”

She was introduced to Auth by a friend from Georgetown University, who’s also one of Auth’s longtime clients and an investor in WTHN. (Founders of SoulCycle and Sweetgreen have invested in the concept.)

“This is really a dream and a passion of mine to take acupuncture to a larger audience and make it more accessible for today’s wellness consumer,” says Auth, pointing to the studio’s convenient booking system, street-level location and attainable price point; sessions are $75, positioning it in the middle of the market. “We’re priced in such a way that you can use acupuncture the way that it’s traditionally meant to be used, which is maintenance,” she adds.

The services menu is clustered under three categories — prevent, heal and glow — for customers to decide whether they want to target stress, sore muscles, fatigue, immunity, female health, insomnia, digestion, or facial complexion. Treatments are also integrated with sound therapy and heated tables.

The plan is to create a boutique concept that will be scalable, with hopes to open locations in New York and eventually expand to larger cities around the U.S. such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Our mission is really about acupuncture for all, and bringing this to a much wider audience,” says Larivee.

Copyright 2006 Phoebe Cheong, all rights reserved

The WTHN storefront.  Phoebe Cheong

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