In Balance
Two Bucks Country entrepreneurs—Lucy Goldstein, owner of Bucks County Cryo Spa, and Ilene Morris White, owner of Newtown Health and Wellness Center—have taken separate but equally remarkable paths in their quest to enhance clients’ well-being
by Bill Donahue

Although Bucks County entrepreneurs Lucy Goldstein and Ilene Morris White share an interest in health and wellness, each has put this interest to good use in a distinctive, and even remarkable, way. By following their respective passions—shiatsu and cryotherapy for Goldstein; fitness, particularly Pilates, for White—each woman has developed a robust business rooted in having a profoundly positive influence on the overall well-being of clients living in Bucks County and beyond.

Heating Up
Ilene Morris White was a precocious child, driven by two “dreams”: to be a performer, specifically an actress; and to have a thriving health-and-fitness center of her own. By all accounts, she is two for two.

As an active member of the prestigious Screen Actors Guild, White still takes time to audition for upcoming roles when her schedule allows, though for the past 10 years her primary “job”—improving others’ wellness as owner of Newtown Health and Wellness Center—has kept her plenty busy. At her 3,000-square-foot space in Newtown, she teaches Pilates as a way to empower clients to actively participate in their health and, often, recover from injury. It’s a story she knows too well.

Years ago White was involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and the collision left her with a case of double whiplash and lingering aftereffects that threatened her quality of life. She found relief, and a path toward a bold new life, through the restorative powers of Pilates, the low-impact exercise named for its creator, Joseph Pilates.

Designed to increase overall body strength and core control, and improve range of motion and flexibility, as well as balance and proprioception, Pilates has broad appeal. Most of White’s clients are women ages 35 to 75, though Pilates has helped everyone from Olympic skiers and CrossFit enthusiasts to members of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, as well as two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya.

White has built upon her education in the years since earning a degree in exercise physiology from Temple University. She graduated from Polestar Pilates, through which she completed a rigorous rehabilitation program on Pilates equipment of every sort. She also earned teaching certifications through organizations such as the Pilates Method Alliance and bootybarre, and she continues to add to her vast bank of knowledge each year.

“Pilates is not a form of exercise you can afford to do incorrectly, so it’s important to be taught the correct form by somebody who has been trained through a credentialed program,” she says. “There has to be a mind-body connection when you’re doing Pilates; you have to think about doing each movement. That’s why I believe you should never teach a class with more than six machines—so you don’t lose the ability to offer hands-on instruction.”

Many of White’s clients have been forever changed through their training at her studio. This includes people who are working to overcome multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, as well as one young woman with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a group of debilitating disorders that affect the connective tissues supporting the skin, muscles and ligaments. The young woman had tried various forms of physical therapy, without effect, but after a year of training under White, the young woman is now doing well enough to attend performing arts school. 

White’s fully equipped studio utilizes the full gamut of Pilates equipment, including the Pilates Reformer, the EXO Chair, the Combo Chair, the Avalon Arm Chair, the Spine Corrector, the Ladder Barrel and the Trapeze Table (Cadillac). Besides Pilates training, Newtown Health and Wellness Center offers complementary services such as chiropractic care, therapeutic massage and private training. Also, for those who are interested in holistic wellness, White provides access to nutritional products of the highest quality through Designs for Health, as well as an onsite holistic aesthetician who uses Ilike, which White describes as “the purest organic skin care line.”

“Everything we do here is pure and of the highest quality,” she says. “I’m very passionate about what I do, and I think all my clients would say I’m patient, kind, and honestly care about helping them to succeed. I want to motivate people to live a higher quality of life, and I want to help them take what they learn here and use it to enhance everything they do in life.”

Cooling Down

Born and raised in Ukraine, Lucy Goldstein graduated with a dual major that led to a master’s in thermo-physical engineering and applied mathematics degrees from Odessa State University of Cryogenics. Her post-education life seemed set, with a promising career as a software engineer. A few years later, when she discovered a book about the Japanese form of therapeutic bodywork known as shiatsu, everything changed. She became fascinated with how acupressure massage could treat a number of chronic health conditions and restore the normal energy flow throughout the body.

Upon moving to the United States and settling in the Greater Philadelphia Area, Goldstein continued working as a programmer, but she could not ignore the calling of her “true passion,” shiatsu. She fed her appetite for knowledge at the International School of Shiatsu in Doylestown. She “took one class, then another,” she says, and ultimately decided to become certified as a shiatsu practitioner.

“I decided to live my passion by going full time into shiatsu, which was satisfying on so many levels—intellectually, spiritually, emotionally,” she says. “It was the first step on the road to becoming the best ‘me’ I can be.”

While she was building her Bucks County-based shiatsu practice, she learned of a family member who was suffering from debilitating arthritis pain that was not responding to any of the conventional treatments. In the process of seeking out viable alternatives, the family learned of cryotherapy, a form of treatment rooted in medical research first conducted in 1970s Japan. The family member was able to receive whole body cryotherapy at a facility in Texas and, as a result, became pain free.

Goldstein quickly recognized an opportunity with boundless potential. She decided to found a healing center where she could “offer alternative or complementary ways of helping people who have a willingness to take charge of their own well-being.” For the past five years, Goldstein’s center—Bucks County Cryo Spa—has been using shiatsu, whole body cryotherapy and infrared light therapy, among other treatments, to heal patients contending with various ailments.

Because of its ability to promote circulation and improve joint function, cryotherapy has been used to treat several chronic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Some suggest the innovative therapy is ideal for use in relieving pain, recovering from injuries and trauma or enhancing sports performance. Other proponents cite its effectiveness in promoting weight loss and even “turning back the clock” on aging.

Bucks County Cryo Spa is the first facility on the East Coast to offer whole body cryotherapy, according to Goldstein. With each three-minute cryotherapy session, clients enter a cylindrical “cryo-chamber”—wearing as little clothing as possible, other than specialized gloves, boots and compression socks—that fills with extremely cold gasiform nitrogen. The extreme cold has a profound influence on the body and the brain, as it causes the release of anti-inflammatory proteins and endorphins, which help to reduce inflammation, stimulate circulation and improve the mood, among other benefits.

“Life is filled with bad stressors, but whole body cryotherapy is one of those rare good stressors in life,” says Goldstein. “It creates an environment that uses outer-space temperatures—negative 320 degrees Fahrenheit—that simulates the illusion of danger, and the reaction pushes the body to perform at its best. It’s like an ice bath on steroids; professional athletes are using it for recovery, and you also see celebrities using it for anti-aging therapy and to get rid of cellulite.”

In addition, the spa’s team of licensed professionals offer shiatsu and a number of specialty massages—lymphatic drainage massage, Tibetan honey massage, ginger compress massage, etc.—designed to reduce stress, restore emotional balance and target inflammatory processes in the body. Goldstein’s team also offer ancillary services, such as meditation, designed to help clients achieve mindfulness.

“Shiatsu and some of the other services we offer here help people feel grounded in their lives,” Goldstein says. “So many of us live in our heads, projecting into the future or reflecting on the past, that living in the moment is now a rare thing. Things like shiatsu and whole body cryotherapy bring us into the now, naturally, so we can enjoy everything life has to offer.”

For more information on each woman’s business, reach out to them through the contact information listed below.

Bucks County Cryo Spa
202 Holland Road, Suite 230
Southampton, PA 18966

Newtown Health and Wellness Center
760 Newtown-Yardley Road, Suite 125
Newtown, PA 18940

Photography by Allure West Studios