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Meet Cristin Smith of Saffron & Sage in Mission Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cristin Smith.

In September 2012, after years as a community leader and entrepreneur had taken its toll, Saffron & Sage founder Cristin searched for a season of rest and a break from the constant activity which she’d grown accustomed—and she found it in Mexico. During her time of restoration on sabbatical, a friend noticed a lump on her neck that was later confirmed to be four tumors rapidly growing in her neck and thyroid. Her doctors both in Mexico and the United States suggested the typical slew of surgeries and medications. Instead, she chose to explore more natural options and began a journey towards wellness of the mind, body and spirit.

She began meeting with a Naturopath who was the first practitioner to provide answers for the sudden emergence of these growing masses. Her diet radically changed and she had her amalgam fillings removed—detoxification, clean eating and colon hydrotherapy became part of her normal routine. She began practicing yoga and incorporating acupuncture. Homeopathic tinctures, essential oils and Chinese herbs were all used in her efforts to heal holistically. Going beyond treating the physical manifestation of illness, these efforts were getting the root of thoughts, traumas and toxicity.

An idea was being formed in her mind, and she wondered why resources on integrated or holistic wellness weren’t organized in one central place where they could be accessible to those with similar experiences. Over the course of a year she had formed a multi-disciplinary team of practitioners, from Los Angeles to Tijuana that consisted of two Medical Doctors (one with a background in Chinese Herbology and the other in Homeopathy), Naturopath, Nutritionist, Colon Hydrotherapist, Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor and Chiropractor. These practitioners, along with her Therapist and Spiritual Director, whom she had been journeying with for years prior, understood something that the prevailing healthcare system did not. They understood that she was an integrated human being, with a heart, soul, body and mind. They listened to her story in addition to her symptoms. They are highly educated in their respective fields, rooted in scientific understanding, yet they incorporated and treated her with the wisdom from ancient traditions like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

It wasn’t long before her friends, family and community began to notice the positive changes in Cristin—physically, emotionally, spiritually. These observations lead to questions. Questions about the practices and products she was using and the practitioners and places she was visiting. This was the beginning. She began connecting and referring friends and neighbors to these precious resources that she had researched and curated in her own struggle to heal holistically. These referrals and recommendations eventually took the form of classes, workshops and retreats where Saffron & Sage created multi-sensory experiential events. Therapeutic spaces to learn, grow and heal. A space to connect with local practitioners as well as community members on the same journey towards health and healing.

These events grew from her hometown in Riverside, CA, progressed some miles west to Los Angeles, CA, eventually made their way down to San Diego, CA and circled back to where her journey began in Tijuana, BC.

Today, Saffron & Sage serves Central San Diego communities in their newly opened space in Mission Hills with their individual offerings and community gatherings. Individual offerings range from Acupuncture to Massage Therapy, Spiritual Direction to Psychotherapy. Community gatherings range from our studio classes like yoga, meditation and breathwork and the educational workshops range from topics on nutrition to Naturopathic Medicine.

Saffron & Sage curates therapeutic healing spaces, from their daily social media contributions to their weekly blog offerings. Everything they do is multi-sensory and experiential creating a hospitable environment to promote health and healing on a bio-individualistic level.

Saffron & Sage is a lifestyle brand that dreams of seeing humanity live therapeutically and sustainably. Their mission is to create therapeutic healing spaces for those who, like Cristin, are looking for another way. A path that brings together community, hospitality and vulnerability. A path that invites us to journey inward and move beyond cultural norms and health trends. Saffron & Sage wants to meet you where you are on your journey. They want to companion you towards wellness—towards wholeness.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
“In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost”. – Dante in The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto I)

Well, I was lucky enough to have my mid-life crisis at 25 instead of 45. Just a few years before the 2008 financial crash I was at the height of my career in the financial and insurance services industry. I had achieved all of my professional and financial goals in my early 20’s and had realized that something was missing.

In fact, it was just a few years prior to the financial meltdown that I had begun the process of dismantling aspects of my ego, exploring the notion of emotionally-healthy spirituality and entertaining the idea of self-care. After spending the next couple of years working with a Psychotherapist and Spiritual Director.

It was the economy that served as the environmental factor that propelled me forward into the darkness. Into the place where I was wholly lost.

The following years were painful as everything I had accumulated to insulate myself was ripped away leaving me exposed – both financially, emotionally and spiritually.

I survived the crash financially, but was forever changed spiritually. I weathered the storm, but found myself washed up on the beach exhausted.

This is what lead to my sabbatical. I moved to Mexico for a six-month sabbatical to rest and recover and just a few months in doctors had found tumors in my neck and thyroid and that was only the beginning.

Shortly thereafter, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He was the person I most cherished in the world and he passed just 6 months after.

Losing my grandfather and navigating my own health journey was an exhausting endeavor. It was discouraging and depressing and it was a hard road to travel, but I continued to focus forward. For me, the invitation is about maintaining forward motion. You may not be going fast or even seem to be making progress but as long as we are willing to face forward we will make passage to the other side. Whatever and wherever that may be.

One of the greatest gifts I received through this 10-year process was and is my theology of suffering. Our greatest invitation is to pay attention to that which causes us pain of suffering – not to wallow in it or embrace a victim mentality, but to identify with our own humanity.

Our suffering is deeply connected to our story and ultimately to our offering to the world. It will always intersect with our strengths and converge at the place of passion dictate our vocation. That is where I find myself after all of this.

Saffron & Sage – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Saffron & Sage is centered around mind-body-spirit wellness and we provide preventative and integrative holistic healthcare to the communities located in Central San Diego.

We serve as a multi-disciplinary team providing a bio-individualistic and comprehensive treatment and therapy plan to each client who walks through our door.

Our individual offerings range from Acupuncture to Massage Therapy, Psychotherapy to Naturopathic Medicine. Our community gatherings range from daily yoga and meditation classes to monthly educational workshops from plant-based medicine to non-toxic cleaning products.

We create multi-sensory experiential spaces to support health and healing from our physical location to online presence.

Our membership-model provides accessibility and affordability to the daily and monthly services that our clients need to maintain or regain their health.

We are known for holistic healthcare. We are paving the way forward for a new path, an avenue that honors each client – providing support through our Practitioners, practices and products.

We are known for curation. From our aesthetic to our Practitioners, classes to content on social media you experience a clean, professional, clinical, scientific and mystical experience that meets our clients where they are at and allows them to navigate next steps at their own pace.

I am most proud of the fact that we are currently comprised of 100% women! By sheer happenstance our Practitioners and Concierges are all women. Incredibly talented, experienced, educated, mature, wise women! I am excited for our team to set an example of healthy feminine leadership in the workplace and to show the next generation that we need not be threatened by another woman, but can be empowered by her and do more together.

What doesn’t set us apart?! At the end of the day what ultimately sets us apart is curation. Everything we do is rooted in science and spirituality. Our products are non-toxic and natural. Our space is clean and inviting. Our pricing is affordable and there’s no other place like it in town!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
That’s a tough question. I was very “successful” at a young age. I was one of the top rookies for one of the largest insurance companies in the country when I was 19. I bought my first house when I was 20 and started my own company when I was 22.

And I think I would have to say that my proudest moment was the day I decided to let it all go. I was at the top of my game and has this internal knowing that I was moving in the wrong direction. And let me clarifying by saying there is nothing wrong with financial or career success. I worked hard and luck was on my side, but there was something more. Something beckoning me to move beyond that space.

When I decided to step away from the path I was on I had no idea how much things would change. How much it would cost me – financially, emotionally, spiritually. Had I known I probably wouldn’t have moved in that direction, but I did and it saved my life.

I wouldn’t be living or leading from a space of conviction nor would I be more deeply connected to my true self. Sometimes letting go or saying no leads us to a place where we can say yes. It can lead us to a place where we can lead from a place of abundance.


  • Studio Classes $20
  • Educational Gatherings $35-50
  • Individual Offerings $100-300

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hannah Bernabe –

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