The San Francisco Wellness Guide
San Francisco has been a long-time pioneer in the world of health and wellness, putting many a food trend on the map before it ever went mainstream. It doesn’t hurt that the city is surrounded by some of the country’s best surf breaks and hiking.
In honor of our San Francisco goop MRKT, we put together a list of the city’s best healers, facialists, bodyworkers, and restaurants.
International OrangeMarin Country Mart, 2421 Larkspur Landing Circle | 415.563.5000
Part yoga studio, part day spa, International Orange (IO)—named after the paint color of the Golden Gate Bridge—is a huge open space of Zen, with locations in Pacific Heights and a gorgeous new outpost in Marin. IO has both restorative and vinyasa yoga available (group classes, private sessions, or workshops). And that’s all in addition to a spa menu rife with massages, facials, and more.
Habit3212 Fillmore St., Marina | 415.931.3165
No one really enjoys a trip to the waxer but a treatment here comes with cocktails and bump-free results, making a visit almost bearable. They use only natural waxes (both hard and soft) or a sugar, lemon, and water mixture that goes on warm and comes off sans breakage and with minimal discomfort. Each treatment room boasts a different theme—nautical, camping, beach—but not in a kitschy way.
Hotel Vitale8 Mission St., The Embarcadero | 415.278.3788
Situated right across the street from the Ferry Building, this super-holistic hotel has a full menu of spa treatments for both vacationing and business travelers in addition to plush amenities like rooftop soaking tubs and a bamboo garden. Guest rooms are kept purposely neutral to give all five sense a break at the end of the day.
SenSpa1161 Gorgas Ave., Marina | 415.441.1777
B-12 shot happy hours, lymphatic massage, rolfing, and structural integration, acupuncture, cupping, dry brushing, craniosacral therapy...the treatment menu at this sprawling San Francisco institution reads like a detox how-to. They also offer a host of other options, including facials, waxing, and peels.
Spa Radiance3011 Fillmore St., Marina | 415.346.6281
This deceptively sweet-looking spa is actually pretty hardcore when it comes to anti-aging treatments. The Russian mother-daughter team who founded it in the late '70s rely on everything from LED light therapy to dermaplanting to microdermabrasion in their efforts to stave off wrinkles and discoloration. On a lighter note, there's also makeup application, waxing, and massage.
TMI Colonics1478A Church St., Noe Valley | 415.527.7557
TMI actually makes getting a colonic not so rough. (For more on the nuts and bolts of colonics, and whether they are right for you, see this goop piece with Dr. Alejandro Junger.) In addition to colonic sessions, which is obviously what TMI is known for, they also offer detoxifying infrared sauna sessions.
Imperial Spa1875 Geary Blvd., Western Addition | 415.771.1114
This minimalist, Korean style communal bathhouse has two separate spa areas, one for gents and one for ladies. Bathing suits are optional but you'll likely find that most guests opt not to wear them. For a really affordable price, you can get a four-hour pass to Imperial's hot jacuzzi, dry and steam saunas, and cold plunge. Their wet spa body treatments focus on various purification scrubs, wraps, and oil massages, while their dry spa fixates on acupressure-focused massages. One great thing about Imperial is the spa stays open late (until 10pm, with the saunas shutting down at 9:45pm), so you can head there after the office on days that warrant it.
Nob Hill Spa1075 California St., Nob Hill | 415.345.2888
Situated inside The Scarlet Huntington Hotel, this spa has a Zen-like, indoor infinity pool (no diving/swimming laps here) that leads out onto an outdoor patio with a picturesque Nob Hill view. Inside, there are 10 treatment rooms for massages and other body treatments, facials, and manis and pedis, including a handful of services designed for the guys. Nob Hill Spa is also home to a gym, steam and sauna rooms, and a fireside lounge. Guests of the hotel have complimentary use of the spa, and visitors can purchase a facilities-only day pass Monday through Thursday.
ZaZen2219 Filbert St., Cow Hollow | 415.806.6899
ZaZen offers a number of restorative treatments at their Cow Hollow spa, including massage (from Thai and Swedish to hot stone and prenatal), yoga classes, and acupuncture (along with cupping and gua sha). Visitors somewhat familiar with any silent meditation practice are invited to to the staff's daily unguided meditations (donations of $2-$10 are suggested), and ZaZen occasionally hosts guided meditation events. The most unique offering at ZaZen, though, is probably their flotation therapy, which entails floating on your back in about a foot of warm saltwater solution, in a lightproof, almost soundproof chamber. The gravity-free idea is to reach a soothing, meditative state. Locals, take note: ZaZen has a membership program ($25/month or $200/year), which gets you 40% off ZaZen's services—not a bad deal at all.
Cavallo Point601 Murray Circle, Sausalito | 415.339.4700
Nestled at the foot of the Golden Gate bridge, Fort Baker is spread out over acres of prime Sausalito real estate, which up until recently has been left at the mercy of the elements. Then in 2008 a hospitality group stepped in and teamed up with the National Park Service to completely restore and preserve the area. The resulting 142-room lodge, healing arts center, and spa, are spread out over a cluster of Colonial buildings that meet and exceed all of LEED's sustainability requirement.
Revel & Rose3303 Buchanan St., Marina | 415.440.4033
We think the concept behind this one-stop-shop for beauty and wellness is genius: If you're booking in for colon hydrotherapy or an infrared heat session, why not get your nails done, too? The salon offers everything from waxes to spray tans to intuitive readings, which make memberships here extremely worthwhile, whether you're beautifying, detoxing, or both.
The Scarlet Sage Herb Co.1173 Valencia St., Mission | 415.821.0997
The word 'apothecary' gets thrown around a lot in reference to beauty shops, but this Mission store is in fact a real-deal apothecary, complete with shelves of medicinal herbs, natural remedies, and essential oils. It can be tough to make sense of it all, so thankfully the staff is knowledgeable and eager to help. For those looking to expand their horizons, there are informational books and a metaphysical department if you're into that sort of thing.