Healthy Atlanta Wellness Guide + Bucket List
In this Atlanta Wellness Guide, we’ve rounded up the best in green and holistic spas, doctors, yoga studios, restaurants and more to bring you a healthy Atlanta bucket list. Whether you’re a local or visiting, this is your ultimate Atlanta Things to Do Checklist for wellness junkies!
Save for about five years, I’ve lived in Atlanta my entire life. But it wasn’t until I moved into the actual city (ITP, if you speak the local lingo) that I truly appreciated how beautiful, diverse, eclectic and charming Atlanta really is!
If you’ve never visited before, you might have some preconception that Atlanta is some small Southern town where everyone speaks with a redneck accent and eats fried chicken daily. When I was working in Los Angeles, the locals there were shocked that I didn’t have a Southern drawl or eat like Paula Dean.
I’ll be honest–I hate this stigma, because while the state of Georgia may have a long way to go in terms of progressiveness, the city of Atlanta is vibrant, educated and full of culture and soul.
And, I’m happy to report, in the past few years, Atlanta has also blossomed into quite the health and wellness destination.
Between non-toxic nail salons, naturopathic doctor practices, mindful yoga studios and organic, sustainable restaurants, the city is now teeming with hotspots that will make a wellness junkie’s heart soar.
To wit, here’s your healthy Atlanta bucket list, the very best in green, natural and holistic wellness!
Atlanta’s Best Natural Spas + Salons
- Modern Holistic Skin: One of two spas that use Laurel Skincare (one of my favorite lines in green beauty!) in Atlanta, this Inman Park gem integrates organic skincare and ancient Chinese Medicine beauty tools and methods like Gua Sha, facial cupping, and gemstone roller therapy into their holistic treaments, which tend to focus on lymphatic drainage. The owner, Jamie McDowell, is truly a light, a wealth of knowledge and brings peace and glowy skin to all she touches!
- Love. Beauty. Nourish: If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember when I posted the INSANE before and after photo from my Buccal facial massage with owner Mary Bogart. Buccal is a technique where the aesthetician actually goes inside your mouth and massages the space between your gums and your lips, which actually helps with sculpting, lifting, smoothing/softening of fine lines and wrinkles, lymphatic drainage and detoxification, deep relaxation of facial muscles and TMJ, and stimulating collagen and elastin. Personally, my husband Matt said it looked like I got a tan and my friend messaged me to ask what makeup I was wearing in the after, which is obviously none! My under eye dark circles- GONE. Mary also recently added a new technique to her arsenal that was equally incredible: it’s called Connective Tissue massage and it’s lots of gentle stretching and pulling of the skin on your face and neck that magically reduces fine lines, tones your facial muscles and gives you an amazing lift. If you live in Atlanta, RUN to go see Mary. Bonus- she exclusively uses Laurel skincare products, too!⠀
- Warrior Body Spa: As someone who spends most of her life at a desk staring at a computer, I struggle with neck and shoulder pain, A LOT. Sure, massage and chiropractic care help, but NOTHING has made as much of a difference as the LED Therapy Massage from owner Aaliyah (p.s. she’s the only certified Atlanta provider of the LightStim for Pain treatment). As it turns out, red and infrared light is amazing for relieving pain associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, sprains and muscle strain, and the light provides accelerated healing, reduced inflammation, redness and bruising, while increasing circulation. The crazy part was that the light doesn’t give off any heat, but you feel your body heating up from the outside in–it’s like you can feel it healing! They’re also famous for their detox foot baths and ear candling treatments. Don’t miss their infrared sauna, either.
- The Aviary and SparrowHawk: This hip wellness collective in Old Fourth Ward is where I’ve gotten my haircut for years (Victoria is a dream come true for thick hair and always knows where the best new restaurants are!), and they also offer amazing eco-friendly facials and the most gentle and thorough eyebrow wax I’ve ever had. I love that their product lineup is sustainability-focused (think Odacite, Vitner’s Daughter, Olio E Osso and Rahua) and their spiritually-inspired tattoo parlor next door (SparrowHawk) also offers microneedling and microblading, too!
- Lark & Sparrow: It’s not easy to find an eco-conscious, non-toxic nail salon, but this Grant Park gem is just that and by far my favorite nail salon in Atlanta. The serene and calming studio offers mani/pedis with vegan nail polishes free of DBA, Toluene and Formaldehyde; the most natural and organic products possible, including their own housemade bespoke creams, scrubs and oils scented with only essential oils. They don’t even offer acrylic nail services, so unlike most salons, you won’t smell any of those harsh chemicals when you walk in the door. I especially love their CBD treatments, which start with a CBD edible and end with a CBD oil massage from toes to knees. When they offer you a glass of wine during your service, say YES 😉
- Iwi Fresh: This eclectic downtown spa hand-picks fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs from their farm to juice and mix into a powder base for homemade skincare products, so you never have to question a product ingredient. I’ve had both a veggie facial and an herbal massage here, and both were amazing. Such a unique space!
Atlanta’s Best Green Beauty Retailers:
- Aillea: How lucky are ATLiens to have one of the country’s best green beauty retailers right in our own backyard? Aillea is all about empowering women to make healthy choices about the products we put on our bodies. It’s truly a haven where EVERY product is safe–free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals–and never tested on animals, no exceptions! They pride themselves on how all of the products still work and deliver the performance we expect, so that you truly don’t have to compromise your beauty standards to be healthy. Don’t miss their special events, makeup applications and lessons and custom 20-minute facials!
- Fig & Flower Natural Beauty:Just up the street from my neighborhood, this Virginia-Highlands green beauty hotspot offers all the best natural beauty brands under one roof. I love their Beauty Bag Cleanout services, which come with 10% off!
- Little Barn Apothecary: When in doubt, go straight to the source. Reading labels can get tricky, but not at this Westside beauty haunt. All their housemade products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and truly all-natural. Each botanical ingredient is selected by hand and each product is carefully crafted in small-batch apothecary tradition in their local micro facilityNo synthetic or “filler” ingredients will ever be used. How cool is that? I love their Charcoal + Aloe Cleanser.
Atlanta’s Best Holistic Wellness Spots:
- Modern Mystic: I dare you to walk into this Ponce City Market gem and not feel instantly calm, present and connected. The beautiful family-owned shop sells intentionally made, small batch metaphysical goods, from crystals and candles to tarot decks and journals, all of which bring high vibe magic into your sacred space–because remember, health is about SO MUCH MORE than just our physical bodies, our mental, emotional and spiritual health is equally important. Check out their walk-in tarot readings to take your spiritual practice to the next level.
- Full Circle Studio: I’ve already told you about Modern Holistic Skin, but did you know that the spa shares space with other wellness gurus at Full Circle Studio in Inman Park? I’ve personally had a pretty radical reiki experience with Jenn Bailey Streck, who also incorporates aromatherapy and crystal therapy into her sessions AND offers Pranic Soul Yoga, which incorporates Kundalini, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga yoga and meditation. The beautiful studio also offers unique yoga classes (think yoga nidra and kundalini), and special events like Soundbaths, meditation classes, reflexology, breathwork (specifically for sobriety), vision board journaling, and workshops like the Hi-Five Supper Club’s Elevated Enlightenment to enlighten each chakra with infused foods, yoga, reiki meditation, journaling and a sound bath.
- Five Rivers Holistic: I’d tried acupuncture before and been kinda so-so on the practice, if I’m being honest. But when I learned about Fiver Rivers, I thought I should give it another shot. I am SO glad I did. Part therapy, part meditation, part physical manipulation, owner Emma’s touch and skill leave me feeling MARKEDLY different than when I came in, even after just one session. Sometimes I walk away feeling light and spacious, other times she’s gotten rid of chronic neck pain in just one treatment, sometimes we’ll do facial acupuncture to fill in fine lines and reduce acne inflammation, or cupping to help break up the tightness in my shoulders (where I carry my stress). She’s a master and has made me a true believer and convert in the power of acupuncture and Eastern medicine.
- Intown Salt Room: This Grant Park hidden gem blew my mind. When you need to get away from the daily noise, clear your mind and restore balance, RUN to this calming, healing spot, which offers two unique salt room experiences, Dry Salt Therapy also known as Halotherapy, and Meditation with Sound Therapy (Acoustic Resonance Technology™ provides a whole body sensory experience). Each experience is 30 minutes, where you sit in a zero gravity chair, relax to calming music and breathe. You can actually taste the salt in the air, and feel the vibrations of the music in your bones. Dry Salt is cleansing for the respiratory system since it’s super absorbent, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, so it naturally helps to thin mucus in the airways and loosen particles of dust, pollen, and toxins we breathe in daily (read: AMAZING when you’re feeling stuffy, sick or dealing with allergies!). It also has a positive effect on skin and is naturally calming to help relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue. A similar spot OTP that I love taking out-of-towners too for a full-day experience is called JEJU SAUNA. I actually did a segment about it for CNN a few years back that you can watch here.
- Visionary Healing Center for Wellness: Ever heard of DRYFT flotation therapy? I hadn’t either until I tried it here! It’s a truly unique experience of weightlessness as you literally float in warm mineral-rich salt water while enclosed in a silent space. While not for the claustrophobic, I found it deeply meditative, restful and rejuvenating. Because it causes your cortisol levels to drop while your endorphins and dopamine increase, flotation therapy can help your body heal from high levels of stress, achieve a state of rest and recuperation, and recover from physical activity and inflammation. Visionary Healing also offers acupuncture and nutrition guidance.
- Perspire Sauna Studio: I’ve never actually been to this sauna studio before, but I love that Atlanta (this one’s in Buckhead) even has a place that’s just for Infrared Sauna Therapy and chromotherapy, which is a centuries-old technique for increasing circulation, boosting oxygen flow, and detoxing the body.
Atlanta’s Best Functional Medicine Doctors:
- Intonu Wellness: This is my naturopathic doctor–Dr. Rachel Marynowski is the most thorough, knowledgable, kind and radiant doctor I’ve ever seen. She has helped me take back my health and if you’re looking for alternative practitioners in Atlanta, she’s the first person I’d tell you to see. Expect botanical medicines, functional nutrition, supplements, homeopathy, & lifestyle counseling with lots of testing and evidence-based strategies.
- CentreSpringMD: Dr. Taz is the first doctor I ever saw who truly listened to me and tried to get to the root of my health symptoms, rather than just throwing prescription medication at me and sending me out the door in 15 minutes or less. Because she’s a very busy lady, after my first few visits, I actually ended up seeing a nurse practitioner there, Kristin Oja, who has since opened her own integrative health and movement spot called Stat Wellness. Though I’ve never been, I can’t say enough good things about the care and attention Kristin puts into her patient’s care. She truly changed my life, and I don’t use that overused expression lightly.
- Atlanta Birth Center: If you’re pregnant or a woman looking for OB-GYN care, I cannot recommend the Birth Center enough, the only one in the entire state! While I didn’t deliver with them for my first baby, I sure wish I did (Jackson’s birth story was a bit traumatic, if you remember) and I plan to in the future. I now see their midwives for my gynecological care and they are some of the most supportive, comprehensive providers I’ve ever seen. I’m happier every time I leave there than I was when I went in, and one midwife in particular really helped me heal from Jackson’s birth in a very powerful way, so I’m forever indebted to her.
- While not part of the Birth Center, the building that houses the center is also home to some of my other favorite wellness pros, including Intonu Wellness and Five Rivers Holistic (mentioned above). I’ve also taken birthing classes from Emerge (they also encapsulated my placenta!), lactation classes from Peapod, chiropractic care from Vital Health, done prenatal Maya Abdominal Massage with A Labor of Love, and attended many of the free new mother support groups (you don’t have to be a birth center patient to attend, and these groups helped so much in those emotional early months of motherhood).
Atlanta’s Best Yoga + Fitness Studios:
There are a million and ten gyms and fitness studios in Atlanta and I’ve found exercise to be such a personal thing that I honestly couldn’t possibly list them all. But, here’s what I’ll say. I’ve tried A LOT of them (thanks, ClassPass) and these are the ones I go back to again and again: CorePowerYoga (the best hot yoga in the city, IMO) and Sacred Thread (I did prenatal yoga here and love it when I’m not looking to break a massive sweat, but need to move and get centered). On my wishlist: HotWorx, an infrared sauna workout. Whaaaaa?!
Green Home Care in Atlanta
- Green Queen: Whether you need home cleaning, pest control, lawn care, this Atlanta-based, woman-owned company offers non-toxic, eco-friendly solutions you can feel safe about using in your home.
- Simply Organic Turf: This is the company we use to treat our lawn; they offer organic grass treatments, with an option for non-organic pre-emergent, organic herbicide and a synthetic herbicide. You can also choose their Hybrid Option, which supplements their regular organic treatments with non-organic spot or blanket treatments of weeds and funguses as needed. It’s not perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than most of what’s out there.
Atlanta’s Best Healthy Restaurants + Food Delivery
The South is a great place to eat if you’re into farm-to-table, #eatlocal dining (Miller Union is easily the best place to see this in action, but Empire State South, Bacchanalia, One Eared Stag, Seven Lamps and Staplehouse are some of my other faves!). Atlanta is also home to hundreds of amazing restaurants, and while many offer healthy options, I’m trying to keep this list to those that focus mostly on organic, fresh and local produce and humanely-raised meats, with nutrient-dense dishes and gluten-free brownie points if they’re allergy-friendly. So, here we go:
- Upbeet: Chipotle for wellness-focused hipsters
- Muchacho: Atlanta’s answer to LA (think Breakfast tacos, grain bowls and craft cocktails in a retro all-day cafe)
- Yeah Burger: organic, grass-fed and everything made from scratch
- Karma Farm: America’s First Certified Gluten Free Fast Casual Restaurant & Bakery
- Sama for Balance: fast-casual Ayurvedic restaurant serving fresh juices, smoothies, cocktails, bowls, and coffee.
- True Food Kitchen: anti-inflammatory is their specialty
- Flower Child: if you love bowls, this is your spot
- Mediterranea: Certified gluten-free kitchen and bakery
- Kale Me Crazy: acai bowls, juices, smoothies, salads, coffee & tea, toasts, and wraps
- Arden’s Gardens: fresh juices and smoothies
- Garnish & Gather: Local meal kit delivery service that will blow your dinner game up with organic, locally-sourced ingredients and artisanal groceries
- Fresh Harvest: CSA on steroids that delivers local organic produce and grocery items
- Bamboo Juices: Certified organic Juices, Nut Milks, Tonics & Elixirs
- Dtox Juice: cold-pressed organic juices and smoothies
- Serenbe (just 30 minutes south of the city): the ultimate eco-wellness destination
Alright, there you have it! Tell me, what’s your favorite wellness spot in Atlanta? Did I miss any? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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