It’s a typical day in north Florence.
Traffic is zipping up and down Wood Avenue in Seven Points as people are scurrying to and from work and other extracurricular activities. But inside one business that runs adjacent to Pocket Park the hustle and bustle of the outside world turns to white noise, as it’s home to a near-nature environment.
Welcome to Salt & Light, a wellness studio that offers yoga classes, massage therapy and health nutrition.
“Our mission is to provide space where people can come and feel accepted and welcome; where self-awareness and healing can occur,” said Joshua Ryan Gwin, who co-owns the business with his wife, Callie Ann Fields. “We want people to know they can come here and experience genuine interaction with a health practitioner, a massage therapist and to get that authentic feel and feel warm and accepted inside — a light-minded community.”
The idea for the business began as a dream for Callie shortly after the two got married, though it didn’t come to fruition until the last four months.
“I remember sitting by the water talking to a friend right after Josh and I got married,” she said in a promotional video. “I told her I saw so much in store for us, from starting our own homestead and having babies to starting a wellness center so that I could practice alongside my husband.”
With each of their backgrounds, it was only fitting to collaborate.
“We wanted a place that people could trust and connect with, and a place that people could come and build upon themselves and establish relationships with people who may be on the same journey or a similar one,” she said.
Callie handles the massage therapy part of the business, while Josh serves as the health practitioner. Part of Josh’s role is helping people cope with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, as well as proper diet and lifestyle.
“Basically, I teach people how the brain works and educate them on how it stores information,” he said. “The brain has all of these different highways and has the ability to change and adapt on actions throughout the day. It’s kind of like driving a car. Over time, your actions of driving with you hands at two and 10 become automatic. The same thing happens with depression and anxiety.”
As part of the therapy process, Josh teaches clients how to retrain their brain by doing visualizations, breathing exercises and spending 15 minutes on a focal point, or what some may refer to as meditation. In addition, he said taking dietary supplements such as fish oil and probiotics, along with drinking plenty of water, play a role in brain health. He also encouraged getting out and enjoying nature, as well as heating whole foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
“Exercise, stay active and be around people who will uplift you every day,” Josh said. “Be grateful for what’s going good in life.”
In the near future, Josh and Callie hope to expand their current operation by opening a retreat center in the Lexington area.