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How ‘Anti-Spas’ Sell Wellness to Men

Remedy Place, a luxury social wellness club, has completely rebranded the spa experience via athletic recovery with an eye on the male demographic. The company has an ambitious retail and product expansion plan.
A man in an ice bath
Half of Remedy Place’s customers are Millennial men, representing a majority of its highest-spending customers with some shelling out $27,000 a year at the club. (Remedy Place)

NEW YORK — The rapper Drake, pop star Shawn Mendes and Zedd have all submerged into a tub of ice water at Remedy Place. David Grinberg, CEO of Achilles Ion Gabriel and investor in the fitness space, opts for Vitamin C showers there. Joe Holder, founder of the Ocho System and GQ’s wellness columnist, associates remedies like these with treatments during his football days at the University of Pennsylvania.

They have different reasons for going there, but they share one thing in common. They are part of a growing cohort of men, who in the past were less likely to go to spas, but are now frequenting recovery-focused establishments like Remedy Place seeking restorative therapies such as the ice bath, Vitamin IV drips, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, acupuncture and infrared light therapy.

“There is a growing trend of men whose habits and interests are based around their health, wellness, mental health and community,” said Anthony Vennare, founder of Fitt Insider, a health and fitness media company. “It’s a new type of consumer.”

In 2023, half of Remedy Place’s customers were Millennial men, representing a majority of its highest-spending customers with some shelling out $27,000 a year at the club. Although it declined to disclose revenue figures, business is brisk according to the company. In 2022, it raised a $5 million seed round. But in its first full year of operating two locations in Los Angeles’s WeHo and New York’s Flatiron neighbourhoods, it booked over 64,000 reservations and crossed into profitability in 2023. It’s now embarking on an ambitious 16-location US expansion plan starting with a 7,400 square-foot club, its largest so far, on Greene Street in New York’s SoHo this spring. And it wants to extend the physical onsite experience to at-home, self-care tech products beginning with its Remedy Roller, an $11,900 myofascial release machine launching next month.


The Anti-Spa Boys Club

Establishments like Remedy Place are positioned to capitalise on the expanding “wellness economy,” projected to reach $8.5 trillion by 2027, according to the Global Wellness Institute. But why are men flocking to Remedy Place? Well, it doesn’t label itself a spa, which typically targets women with beauty enhancements like facials. But rather a members-only “social wellness club” for “social self-care” which are terms it has trademarked. While the vast majority of Remedy Place’s treatments are via memberships, a la carte bookings are available to anyone.

“I really wanted to own self-care, and what self-care, to me, is just making people feel better. I think once you make someone feel better, they come,” said Dr. Jonathan Leary, a former concierge wellness doctor, who is Remedy Place’s founder and CEO. And by focusing its services on the universal human need for self-care, it takes gender out of the equation.

Today, health has become a status symbol and many men are seeking out alternative ways to connect with each other outside of drinking culture. In recent years, Grinberg has noticed that more of his friends are going sober. “A lot of us don’t necessarily want to spend money on alcohol anymore, but you still want a place where you can hang out and see your people,” added Holder.

It’s also one of the first places to push ice baths as a wellness treatment. While some experts debate its physiological benefits like boosting the immune system and decreasing muscle soreness, the psychological challenge of being able to last six minutes in a tub of ice is appealing to clientele. As a $50 entry-level offering, the Breathwork Ice Bath Class was the most popular treatment last year averaging about 1,000 bookings per month.

“They can brag about it and the way [Remedy Place] frames it is that it’s seen as an achievement,” said Grinberg. “It’s like a sound byte, a very shareable moment on social media.” It also comes with the #6minuteclub flex on Remedy Place’s TikTok, where some videos have over 10 million views.

But the appeal is broader than the ice bath and other treatments they offer. In the 2010s, pushing your body to the absolute physical limit via workouts like CrossFit was trendy. But post-pandemic things have changed. “People are leaning into the slow life a little bit, and masculine care and identity is being more so connected to ‘How do I recover?,’” said Holder. “We’re at an inflection point in health and wellness culture that is now about understanding the importance of slowing down so you can go faster.”

Men today are increasingly prioritising their overall physical well-being too, influenced by the surge of wellness and fitness tech products like Whoop and HyperIce, along with global icons such as basketball legend LeBron James, who famously allocates $1.5 million annually to care for his body.

“When athletes show you what a full athletic experience is outside of just the sport, then you begin to see how much they invested in their nutrition, how much they invested in their recovery and what that all looked like, that’s when you had all [these treatments] start to boom,” said Holder. Add in social media and soon treatments like these had maximum visibility. Vennare believes these trends are no longer fuelled by athletes today; rather, they have trickled down to the masses. “In my neighbourhood, there are three locations that have saunas, cold plunges, and float tanks,” said Vennare, who lives in Pittsburgh, squarely in America’s Rustbelt.


The Road to Mass Adoption

To scale its ambitions, Remedy Place has adopted a unique strategic and financially savvy approach. Instead of signing conventional lease terms, the company has partnered with both commercial and residential developers, positioning itself as the “luxury hospitality amenity” partner to help them entice and retain tenants. In such collaborations, it’s typical for developers to subsidise the often costly architectural build-outs. In addition to its forthcoming SoHo location, Remedy Place wants to open 16 more clubs across the US, targeting two openings annually.

However, their vision extends beyond brick-and-mortar locations, as they explore opportunities to host more wellness experiences onsite during cultural events such as Coachella and even extend services to people’s homes. Next month, Remedy Place will be introducing its Tech-Remedy collection with the Remedy Roller — a high-end foam roller designed for self-administered myofascial releases, retailing at $11,900. In 2024, they plan to unveil The Framework, a free educational health and wellness platform. Additionally, Leary is collaborating with Kohler, an American company widely known for its bathroom and kitchen fixtures, to “transform its wellness division.”

Vennare admits that many wellness treatments are costly, making them inaccessible to most of the population. Holder said it shouldn’t create further division between the haves and have-nots too. “How do we take these ideas as a community and put them into the culture so everybody can experience these to some degree of participation?,” said Holder. “That’s where we’ll continue to have legs, not just as a business proposition, but as a cultural revolution. That’s where it’s needed most.”

But Leary believes he’s just getting started. “I want to use Remedy Place to help more people, make more people feel better than any health company in the world.”

Further Reading

Why Beauty Brands Want a Bigger Piece of the $1.5 Trillion Wellness Pie

The State of Fashion: Beauty finds that brands have a growing opportunity to tap into emerging wellness subcategories — from sleep to sexual intimacy to ingestible beauty — by upgrading existing products or expanding portfolios, provided they do so with credibility and authenticity.

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