Holistic wellness is clearly the mission at Aquarius Wellness Center for Healing Arts and Massage Therapy in Richmond Heights at 7750 Clayton Road, Suites 103/104. The center's founder, Andrew Goodman, has spent his career as a massage therapist in service to others, helping one person at a time with their individual wellness journeys.
"There's an amazing sense of instant gratification working with massage clients over the years,” says Andrew, “as they walk in with various aches and pains, and walk out an hour or two later feeling transformed, with the weight of the world removed from their shoulders. This is why I consider the butterfly, depicted on original artwork throughout the spa, to be our spirit animal at Aquarius, where our clients crawl in, metaphorically, as caterpillars, and float out as butterflies."
He says his first massage training occurred in 1984 at a pioneering yoga instructor’s home in St. Louis, about a decade before the massage industry began to experience a renaissance in the United States. After traveling the world to study yoga in India during 1990, but then seeing how 'masseurs-kinésithérapeutes' in France handled historically-effective massage techniques, he says the seed of a vision began to take form in his imagination.
"It was a vision that ultimately culminated in my life’s work, or ‘Path with a Heart,’ as I like to describe it, one that has organically grown over years of loving nurturance into the resplendent flower that is Aquarius Wellness," recalls Andrew.
Andrew remembers especially being enthralled with The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece. The amphitheater was just one part of an immense healing complex known as an Aesclepieion, and the sanctuary there is dedicated to the ancient Greek God of medicine, Asclepius. According to Pausanias, the theatre was constructed at the end of the 4th century BC, and is widely known for its symmetry, beauty and exceptional acoustics.
"I was struck by how classical plays, healing temple caves and dream interpretations were important parts of holistic therapy 2,000 years ago, and these complexes, where the father of western medicine, Hippocrates, studied medicine, were set all throughout ancient Greece," he says. "The remains of which alone are stunning to behold. It made me want to deliver on promises for spectacular, memorable spa experiences that much more."
By 2012, Andrew rented 548-square-feet of space within a commercial, centrally located, yet dated and dilapidated building built in St. Louis during the 1960s. "We transformed the space into modern standards, focusing on avoiding some of my pet peeves from working in this industry for 25 years. But, one renovation step leads to the next, and it took us a year and a half to open," he adds.
“We transformed the space in a neglected building into a homey, cozy spa environment, the likes of which a New Yorker, and the director of Hamilton (who came in three times, sending six of his cast and crew when they were in town at the Fox), said they have never seen before, anywhere," Andrew says.
He says they focused on avoiding many of his pet peeves from working in the industry for 25 years, such as having the proper temperature, the right lighting, an enriched ambiance through amazing music, real artwork and international, rustic decor, and finally, noise mitigation.
Then the building was purchased about four years ago by a major real-estate group and underwent a $6 million renovation, which was the icing on the cake for Aquarius, quips Andrew.
In January 2022, in honor of his mother, Harriet, who passed on, Andrew added another 270 square feet of space to the center to provide three treatment rooms, two couples' suites and one single suite.
Jim Croghan, the center's vice president of operations, says they completely redesigned their website and opened an online store during their 15-month COVID-19 closure, partially curated based on his hospitality background working with five-star hotel and spa brands, both domestically and internationally spanning 25 years.
"One option that's really popular this time of year is our Valentine's Day Pamper Me package, which includes an Aquarius Wellness Signature Massage and Signature Facial, both for 60 minutes each, plus a glass of champagne and chocolates to complement your experience," Jim explains.
He says the add-on options to the base treatments of massages, facials, alternative healing practices and waxing also are sought after: offerings such as dermaplaning, LED light therapy, oxygen renewal skincare, diamond microdermabrasion, lash lifts and microcurrent treatment.
"For those prioritizing wellness in their lives, we have several membership levels as well," he adds.
A new offering for 2023, Jim says, is their 'Share the Care' Referral Program through which people can receive $25 off their next spa treatment by referring a new client. He adds that accumulating five referrals results in receiving a complimentary service. They also provide 15%-off cards for first-time clients.
Getting out a crystal ball, Andrew says he eventually would like to grow Aquarius into multiple urban locations nationally, as well as several comprehensive, Integrated Wellness Centers distributed around the country on acreage in nature, that feature gardens, livestock, farm-to-table cuisine, wellness workshops and yoga/meditation classes. He says guests could go for a service, or stay for a day, a week or a month for a complete mind/body/spirit reset.
Additionally, Aquarius Wellness clients take great satisfaction in knowing that for each product or service purchased there, $1 will be donated monthly, on a rotating basis, among planet-friendly, worthy causes such as World Central Kitchen, One Tree Planted, Resurge International, Amnesty International, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
"St. Louis is where our heart is, but we consider this entire planet our home. Together, we can have a real impact on our planet and the billions of people living on it, by committing to a ‘Pay It Forward’ program like this," assures Andrew.
Note: Due to the personalized nature of Aquarius Wellness Center services, appointments are required.
AQUARIUS WELLNESS CENTER SERVICES
LUXURY MASSAGE THERAPY
Among the options are prenatal massages, myofascial release for injuries, aromatherapy, warm stone, reflexology and couples' massage appointments. Always call ahead for appointments, even related to gift certificates.
LUXURY FACIAL THERAPY
Get purifying options, back-to-nature cleansing, manual lymph drainage, collagen treatments, anti-aging skincare gold facials or PCA peels.
Check out gemstone therapy, sound therapy, guided meditation, guided stretching, Knesko mineral-based crystal, gemstone masks and other alternative medicine. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Select brow arch service, brow tint, brow wax/tint, lips, chins, brow trim, full legs (without bikini), Brazilian, legs, Bikini, full arms, backs, chests, underarms, forearms, eyebrows shape and tint, necks, facial, noses.
About Andrew Goodman
As a creative Aquarian born on Feb. 14, Andrew founded his serenity spa as a unique, boutique wellness retreat in 2012. This St. Louis native, world traveler and visionary thrives on personal growth experiences. He's perfected massage therapy, yoga and energy work over four decades. He hopes guests find "soul food" in the spa as a splendid sanctuary for the senses.