Weightless in Water
Float spas have existed for over half a century, but they’ve only recently gained traction. West Chester’s East Coast Float Spa puts clients in their own suites, each with a shower and changing room. Floaters are buoyed by 1,000 pounds of medical-grade Epsom salt in 10 inches of water, which is kept at around the same temperature as the body. “It’s designed to be a special sensory-input-controlled environment. That way, you don’t have any light, any sound, and you’re literally floating. Your body is free from gravity,” says spa co-founder Matt Kay.
By lulling the body into a calm state, floaters can relax for 60, 90 or 120 minutes. The treatment helps reduce stress and pain, making it great for those with anxiety, arthritis and fibromyalgia. For those who just need to escape, it’s equally beneficial. “It’s an extremely meditative environment,” Kay says.
569 E. Gay St., West Chester, www.eastcoastfloatspa.com
Essent Spa owner and medical director Dr. Alison Abiri harnesses the natural properties of mud, then pairs it with exfoliation and a body wrap. Each treatment is customized. Clients choose their exfoliation technique—from dry brushing to sugar or salt scrubs—before being covered in mud that Abiri designed herself using Hawaiian volcanic ash, Australian mud and red clay. “Those elements are our detoxification component, but then we also use green-tea extract for antioxidants and chamomile extract for calming properties,” she says.
Clients are wrapped for 10-15 minutes and may receive a scalp massage and mini facial. The treatment helps detox the body and slough off dead skin. After the mud is washed away, body lotion is applied head to toe. “It’s going to be a decadent experience,” Abiri promises. “The whole thing just makes you feel like a million bucks.”
595 E. Lancaster Ave., St. Davids, www.essentspa.com
A cupping treatment.
The Cup Runneth Over
Made exceedingly well known last year by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, cupping is a therapy first used several thousand years ago. “It’s the use of suction cups to not only pull the skin up, but to pull the underlying tissue of dead blood cells to the surface. That way, new blood cells and blood can rush into the area and promote healing,” says Marquis Wright-Lee, a licensed massage therapist who practices cupping at 3000BC Spa in Chestnut Hill.
Cupping can help increase blood flow and decrease pain and inflammation. It can also be used as a massage technique. Wright-Lee says the treatment is suitable for most people, but that athletes and those who suffer from chronic pain can particularly benefit. As was evident on Phelps, cupping leaves noticeable circles on the body for as long as two weeks.
8439 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, www.3000bcspa.com
Vamp It Up
Thanks to celebrities who make their red-carpet beauty prep known, vampire facials are gaining devotees outside Hollywood. How does it work? A medical professional draws a small amount of the patient’s blood—usually one or two vials—and spins it to separate the platelets from the red and white blood cells. “We then reactivate the platelets with sodium chloride, which makes them think there’s an injury. The platelets release their different growth factors, which causes the rejuvenation response,” says Dr. Daniel Lebowitz of World Wellness Health Institute in Bala Cynwyd.
Lebowitz performs microneedling on the face while adding the platelet mixture. To dull the light pain, he uses a numbing cream. The result is a younger-looking complexion—with no downtime. “It can improve any kind of abnormalities on the surface of the skin, like large pores or acne scarring, fine lines, sun damage, pigmentation/color issues,” says Lebowitz.
111 Presidential Blvd., Suite 159, Bala Cynwyd, www.worldwellnesshealth.com
Saunas are a great way to sweat out toxins and burn a few extra calories. AME Salon and Spa offers a different take with its FIT Bodywrap and Far Infrared Sauna. The former is like a sleeping bag, with separate wraps for the arms. It envelops the client, save for the head and hands. They can be sprayed with a booster to increase sweating during sessions, which last 40-60 minutes. “I got a good sweat on,” says Cathleen Helmuth, business development director for AME. “I just sat there and relaxed. It was warm and cozy.”
The sauna offers a similar benefit—and it takes only 20-30 minutes. The stand-alone unit is like a tunnel and more confining. The benefits are increased circulation and the removal of built-up toxins and lactic acid in the muscles. “[With both treatments], the goal is to create perspiration, which eliminates toxins from the body. You’re going to get hot, and you’re going to be perspiring,” says Helmuth.
111 Waynewood Ave., Wayne, www.amesalonandspa.com
Pink Hamalayan is the salt of choice for halotherapy.
Fish eggs are the secret ingredient in caviar facials.
There’s no question caviar is a luxury. But it’s one that’s usually consumed, not spread on the skin. Caviar facials take advantage of the nourishing properties in fish eggs to give skin a natural glow and help with elasticity. “What’s so fabulous about it is that it’s an alternative to synthetic ingredients that will give you results,” says Kristy Cole, owner of Cole Wellness Spa in Wayne.
Estheticians apply four layers of products onto the skin, using hibiscus-seed extract and Russian black sturgeon caviar. The facial is best for those ages 40-64. Cole likens it to having a filler, without the needles. “Everything’s firmer and more toned. It’s soft, hydrated, supple,” she says. “It’s amazing.”
101 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, www.colewellnessspa.com
Halotherapy utilizes the natural properties of salt. At the Salt Vault, clients sit in a room with 5,000 pounds of the pink Himalayan variety on a heated floor—essentially a giant salt lamp. A halogenerator produces sodium chloride to purify the air. Soft music is piped in, and the lights are dimmed, allowing clients to meditate through the 30- or 60-minute session. “Salt reduces the inflammation in your sinuses to open them up and help you move air better,” says the Salt Vault’s Ashley Tortu.
Tortu sees a lot of allergy, asthma and sinus-infection sufferers, but the benefits extend to those without respiratory afflictions. “It also reduces the inflammation on skin for eczema,” she says. “I’ve had people tell me they meditate better in there, that their aches and pains are relieved or lessened. I do think that just sitting still and relaxing for 30 minutes in an environment that’s not electronic-ridden helps a lot of people.”
4211 W. Lincoln Highway, Parkesburg, www.thesaltvault.net