Located on a quiet street corner in San Diego’s Little Italy is a small restorative health and wellness sanctuary dedicated to healing the mind, body, and spirit. The outside of the studio is unadorned and simple, with two small flights of stairs leading up to a pair of white doors. Above the doors in clean, hip lettering is the club’s name: Saffron & Sage.
Saffron & Sage is a client-based holistic health club whose purpose is to heal their members by finding and treating the root causes of their ailments. The studio operates under a membership model, although anyone interested in dropping in for the occasional class is welcome to do so.
Cristin Smith, the founder and CEO, opened the club in 2017 after a years-long journey with her own physical and mental wellbeing. A few years prior, while on sabbatical from her established career in marketing and community outreach, a friend noticed a lump on Smith’s neck which was soon confirmed to be four tumors. Doctors in both the United States and Mexico (where she had taken her sabbatical) suggested various surgeries and medications to get rid of them, even though they couldn’t figure out the underlying cause as to why the tumors had developed. Not interested in relying on medication to keep her healthy, Smith took her health into her own hands and started looking into more natural therapies to treat herself.
“I started doing my own research,” recalls Smith. “And it was through that process that I truly started to regain my own wellbeing.”
After months of researching and testing out naturopathic treatments, Smith started seeing results, and so did the people around her. She had friends and colleagues asking what she was doing to look — and feel — so amazing. As a way to pay it forward, she began conducting mini-wellness meetings in her living room to help out those who needed advice. Before long, the mini-meetings were turning into hours and hours of sessions and consultations, and she began to realize she was going to need to find a home for her new venture.
As the entrepreneur started thinking of ways to expand her practice she pulled from her own experiences in trying to navigate the holistic health industry. She had found that it could be discouraging trying to maneuver this often exclusive space, especially because so many places only featured one type or approach to treating their clients.
Today, the main benefit for Saffron & Sage members, Smith says, is that there are a smorgasbord of services they provide for their clients — services specifically tailored to each individual.
“It’s why everything starts with a consultation,” explains Smith. “We don’t just want to know about your medical history, we also want to know about your journey, where you are in life, what your goals are. Then you’ll be personally partnered with a practitioner to see which classes work best with your treatment plan.”
The classes and services the club offers range from everything acupuncture and fire cupping to sound baths and breathwork yoga classes. Feel like you need a change after a few months? Saffron & Sage schedules check-ins with your practitioner at the start of each season to help curate the next few months of treatments and classes for you. All classes and adjustments are made based on where you’re at spiritually and health-wise.
The main philosophy behind Saffron & Sage tackles wellness from a mind, body, and spirit approach, treating what Smith calls the three root causes of illness: toxins, thoughts, and trauma.
Smith notes that she learned about the concept of treating these three particular causes from Dr. Bruce Lipton, a developmental biologist whose work focuses on the theory that the spirit and body are more connected than we realize. In fact, it was much of Dr. Lipton’s work that influenced the purpose of Saffron & Sage.
In an increasingly secular world, Smith believes people still crave depth and meaning, but no longer feel the need to subscribe themselves to a particular religion. Saffron & Sage is a place where people from all religious and spiritual backgrounds feel welcome. In a way, Saffron & Sage acts as a church for those seeking a safe place to grow in their spirituality.
“It’s less about accountability and more about what’s shifted and what’s unfolded within you,” shares Smith, explaining the importance of members actually putting in the work. “People are releasing old traumas and tensions that have been held inside for so long. It’s not about condemnation, it’s about having someone on this journey with you.”
Smith has big plans for growth beyond their quiet street in Little Italy. Already, plans are in the works to open up a secondary location that features wet therapies like sauna, steam, and facial treatments. Later this fall, the club will also be releasing their own natural skincare line as well as premiering their IV Lounge, where members can receive vitamin and mineral injections.
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