Located in Portland's Central Eastside, Golden Hour is a remarkable healing space that provides Portlanders with a soft and warm introduction to traditional Chinese medicine.

I've only had massages as a special splurge, but at $35 for a 45 minute treatment, Golden Hour can become part of a powerful self-care routine. I went to Golden Hour on a recent Fall day for the Golden Hour Chair Treatment, which combines acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy. The goal of this treatment is to provide stress relief and boost immunity.

Practitioner Sara Thomas treating patients in Golden Hour’s bright warm space. (Steven Xue)
Practitioner Sara Thomas treating patients in Golden Hour’s bright warm space. (Steven Xue)

The setting inside Golden Hour's space is warm and intimate. The sun-lit interior is furnished with unique, antique objects: wooden sculptures, woven textiles, vintage furniture, and mementos from founder Janet Jay's childhood experiences with traditional Chinese medicine.

Antique Chinese medicine bottles, notes, and vials are on display at Golden Hour. (Steven Xue)
Antique Chinese medicine bottles, notes, and vials are on display at Golden Hour. (Steven Xue)

My licensed practitioner, Liana Allen, who attended Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, patiently walked me through each part of the treatment. I had never had acupuncture before. Allen was compassionate in her approach and made me feel prepared for the idea of small needles entering my body in the name of wellness.

In simple terms acupuncture follows a map or meridians of the body where each point works to heal and enhance wellbeing physically and emotionally.

Acupuncture follows points along the body associated with your wellbeing. (Steven Xue)
Acupuncture follows points along the body associated with your wellbeing. (Steven Xue)

After the needles are inserted, which in this treatment are along the arms and legs, there's a period of rest and time to cultivate and ruminate on the day's thoughts. Many people take this time to meditate or even take a short nap.

At Golden Hour, a gradual return to the outside world is encouraged. In the waiting area after my treatment was complete, staff brought a warm cloth and a cup of tea, inviting me to relax for a moment before heading back out into the hectic world.

Clients resting during the Chair Treatment. (WW Staff)
Clients resting during the Chair Treatment. (WW Staff)

While acupuncture is typically thought of as treatment for patients who seek relief from severe pain, Golden Hour promotes the idea of gentle, regular treatments to improve physical and emotional health. And I will admit; after a 45 minute chair treatment, I felt ready to go out into the world simultaneously relaxed, energized, and focused.

In other words, a trip to Golden Hour felt more like a mindfulness exercise than a visit with my doctor.

Which is exactly the vision of Jay, who opened Golden Hour after starting a small-batch soap company, Pearl+ Luxury Soaps. Jay, who was formerly the head of product development for Diane von Fürstenberg, sees her client base as not just patients seeking acupuncture for relief from severe pain, but people for whom regular treatments can improve physical and emotional health.

Jay, owner of Golden Hour. (Steven Xue)
Jay, owner of Golden Hour. (Steven Xue)

"Especially in this day and age when we all have stressful situations, whether personal or political, this is a way to manage that on a regular basis, to keep yourself even," says Jay.

As a child, Jay regularly received traditional Chinese medicine treatments from her grandparents and great-uncle. "I never really understood why in the West, it is introduced only when you're sick," says Jay.

Golden Hour offers a variety of treatments to compliment the benefits of acupuncture, including cupping, in which suction is used to promote blood flow and circulation to relieve pain. Moxibustion or moxa, is a curative mugwort burned above specific parts of the body and is used to treat everything from back pain to digestive problems.

Golden Hour also offers an assortment of unique products—both beauty and wellness-focused. (Steven Xue)
Golden Hour also offers an assortment of unique products—both beauty and wellness-focused. (Steven Xue)

Along with six treatment chairs and two rooms for private treatments, Golden Hour offers a small shop. Nodding to Jay's childhood, new versions of products sit across from a cabinet showcasing the bottles that her great-uncle used for traditional Chinese treatments. The goods sold in the shop extend the treatment experience, so that customers can bring home the natural products that the practitioners use.

Golden Hour tucked away in Industrial Southeast. (WW Staff)
Golden Hour tucked away in Industrial Southeast. (WW Staff)

Golden Hour is open Wednesday through Friday by appointment only, and offers walk-ins for the Chair Treatments on Saturdays from 11 am-4 pm. Appointments can be made online, via the Mindbody app or at (503) 208-2185. Centrally located at 410 SE Ash St., Golden Hour is easily accessible by car, bike, walking or public transit.