.Well Within is Back, Just in Time for Overdue Self Care

By Tonya O’Dell

It is finally time to take a load off and cleanse our cluttered minds for a truly deeper clean. Closed and cold for more than a year, the iconic Well Within Spa in downtown Santa Cruz has waited patiently for its warm waters to flow once again, after owner Eric Heckert made the difficult decision to close three days before California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide shutdown—and as of June 1, that moment is finally here.

Heckert was himself an employee at Well Within many moons ago. He worked every position and facet (not to mention faucet) of the spa, yet becoming a business owner was not on his agenda back in the ’90s. But Well Within began to feel like family, and when the offer arose to become its owner, he felt compelled to accept.

Aside from bodysurfing and hiking, the Well Within Spa is still his home away from home. It has also become a bit like a second home to his regulars, who now seem like part of the family. Beaming in anticipation of the building once again being filled with fellow humans getting some tender loving care and leaving wholly rejuvenated, he expresses a renewed gratitude.

“It’s all about people. I am just so looking forward to getting back to it; our guests are our family,” says this connoisseur of calm.

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As its name implies, the Well Within Spa has tapped a deep vein of aqua vita right in the middle of downtown Santa Cruz on Cedar Street. Nearly disguised as a residential home, the spa was established back in 1985 at its original location, moving to its bigger current space in the ’90s.

Spending so much time at home during the pandemic has for most of us been too much of a good thing. All the projects—spring cleaning, taking classes, trying new hobbies—enough! With our hair unkempt and our clothes often optional, self-care has slacked. Our bodies need maintenance, cleansing, repair and rest. Sadly, by design, we were not built to take care of our own backs, shoulders and spine, which are under constant pressure.

Luckily, Well Within’s restorative and completely regenerative body treatments such as specialty massages, whole body care and private indoor or outdoor tub rooms are perfect for magically melting away all the stress.

More than a deep restorative soak, the experience at Well Within involves herbal and alchemical blends infused into your water, and a setting for escape. Along with the steam, pulsating jets and warm breathing cedar wood, each room offers a private serene view of the Japanese Garden complete with Koi pond. The same natural and quite essential elements that have healed, restored and revived the human spirit and body for centuries are found behind the welcoming auspicious front door where someone is waiting to say “Welcome to your home away from home.”

As Well Within is working with reduced staffing, appointments are needed at this time. For more information and to schedule, call 831-458-9355.


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