Being Well & Leading Your Best Life with Achieve Wellness Spa
In the quest for optimal health and wellness, it is said that more and more people – both women and an increasing number of men – are embracing holistic approaches to heal the whole person, in body, mind, spirit and emotions.
That movement is evident in the full appointment books at Achieve Wellness Spa.
“Health and wellness is a continuum and for true wellness, you need to have a holistic approach to the whole person,” explains Alethea Austin, owner and spa director. “We tried to offer the best array of services we thought people might need. At one point we offered yoga, nutrition, hypnotherapy and counselling, but unfortunately the Fort McMurray market wasn’t quite ready for all that so we opted to expand our core services as our customers ‘wants’ drive our path forward.”
However, that doesn’t mean business growth halted as she continues to research and train staff, and bring in new services when the opportunity and need arise.
“Like any business, you need to be fluid and ever changing with society.”
In May 2014, Austin opened her first location in Stoneycreek Village and opened a second location downtown in the Clearwater Hotel this past February.
Austin owns the business along with her husband, Tom.
“I love working with my husband we make a great team,” says Austin, adding he has been integral in the day-to-day operations and all maintenance, renovations and payroll.
“We spent a lot of time working together the first year we opened in 2014, as well as this current year when we opened our second location. However, he does have a full-time job at Suncor so sadly I’ve had to let him get back to his ‘real job’ while I’ve fully taken over as director for both locations.”
Prior to being a business owner, Austin became a physical therapist, a choice borne out of personal trauma.
“I was initially leaning towards pharmacy and medicine. After my first year university, I was in a pretty bad motor vehicle collision and I had to go see a physical therapist as part of my rehabilitation. I never even knew what a physio was or did until then. Through conversations about all of the places physiotherapists work and all the specialties like neuro, ortho, pediatrics, cardiorespiratory, amputations etc., I was certain this was exactly what I should become and never looked back.”
Austin made the move into business ownership when she was pregnant with her first child over seven years ago.
“I was … really evaluating my life goals and what I wanted to do to not only help others, but to provide me with the flexibility to be an actively involved parent.”
Learning from the diversity of specialties within physiotherapy, Austin also offers diversity in her current practice from massage and physical therapists and chiropractors to naturopathic doctor and a medical doctor to medical and non-medical aestheticians.
Providing a better health model than what she saw currently available to people was the impetus behind offering such a diverse selection of services.
“Wellness has many facets, to be well and lead your best life you have to take a more holistic approach to healthcare. I wanted to provide a high-end wellness centre where people could come to get one-on-one high quality care from professionals for whatever their health and wellness needs are.
“With this multidisciplinary model, the patient or client is able to have access to a team that will work together to achieve the best results.”
When it comes to the produces used and offered at the spas, Austin says a lot of time and research as well as testing went into the products before bringing them into the spa.
“Our goal was always to carry high end products that were free from harmful chemicals and fragrances. Nothing could be tested on animals and most of our products are even vegan-friendly. We’ve recently launched our own skincare line after working closely with a Canadian laboratory for the past year to bring an amazing organic line in.”
Every professional in the Achieve family is fully certified and licensed in their field and has to “Believe in our model that the client comes first; that people deserve your time and expertise, and they are passionate about helping others.”
Another example of changing the wellness trend is the makeup of her clients.
Gone are the days when pedicures and massages are just for women. Men have definitely become more aware of the importance of self-care.
Men make up roughly 40 per cent of Achieve’s clients.
“It’s not a luxury, but a necessity to long term health and happiness,” notes Austin.
While most spas focus on temporary relaxation, Austin says her spas help the guests achieve better health and an improved quality of life.
“Achieve Wellness Spa is a uniquely desirable destination that aims to enhance the lives of our clients. When people are relaxed, comfortable, happy and healthy, they have the ability to work harder, concentrate better, feel physically, emotionally and mentally balanced, and give that happiness back into their homes, workplaces, and community.”
For those who have never enjoyed the spa experience, Austin points out that not all spas are created equal. Those heading into a spa for the first time need to ensure the spa they have chosen has qualified staff and is abiding by health and sanitation guidelines.
“Our spa is a Quality Assured leading spa of Canada so our guests can be confident that we go above and beyond the required minimum standards. We were also voted top 25 spas in Canada and we are proud to provide this retreat to our guests in Fort McMurray.”
Austin reflects that Achieve Wellness Spa was once just an idea, but then after years of planning and hard work, it became their business.
“It’s sometimes hard to change and let go of ideas you thought would work but we are proud to say the spa is now like its own entity. We steer the ship, but the amazing staff and customers create the final destination.”