A wooden fence hides and protects the Hidden Springs Wellness Center from a bustling parking lot at a shopping center in the heart of south Ashland.
Pass through the gate in the middle of the fence, and you leave the everyday world of commerce behind and enter a magical, peaceful world.
"People use the word 'oasis,' " says Brooks Newton, who founded the center in 1999 with her husband, Rod.
On the walk to the center's main building, you pass a small pond ringed by aspen and oak trees and face a towering Ponderosa pine. You walk between low shrubs and a stream, all delicate and manicured. A breeze plays the wind chimes as it temporarily drowns out the sound of flowing water from a pump that recirculates the pond water.
"I wanted something where people had a transition from the parking lot to a healing environment. They go through the gate, and by the 30-second walk up to the door, they're different," explains Rod Newton.
Massage, saunas, steam room, fitness center, yoga and meditation classes — the staples of wellness centers — are available here, but these are only the beginning.
A staff of wellness professionals offer personal coaching, relationship counseling and classes in compassionate communications. You can even schedule a consultation with the resident naturopathic physician. Other community organizations rent rooms here to offer their own wellness-oriented classes. These offerings are part of a mission to heal both mind and body.
"We've always been into preventative, empowering skills and tools as opposed to fixing," says Newton. "I've always been interested in how people can really live in such a way that they don't go through the usual degeneration before early death, especially mental and emotional things that help keep people alive, empowered.