There’s a whole world of spa treatments designed to cure colds, depression, stress, wrinkles and more.
Instead of tea, tissues, and chicken noodle soup when you’ve got a cold, how would you like a spa treatment? Or if you’re carrying around emotional baggage, try curing it the way our ancestors have been doing it for generations: with a specific tree used in a spa treatment. There are some super-cool (literally) spa treatments available today, which are said to do everything from easing muscle pain, to zapping evil spirits, to helping with depression. Select your ailment, and then book your treatment.
1. To Reduce Inflammation: Cryotherapy
Strip down to your underwear while standing in an odd contraption that works like a freezer, getting down to about -250 F (yes, that would be colder than Mars but, no, you won’t get frostbite). The point of forking over about $50 for the three-minute treatment? Believers say it reduces inflammation, stimulates weight loss, cures depression and gives them a jolt that otherwise could be achieved only by illegal, addictive drugs. Cryotherapy does this by mimicking hypothermia, and the magic happens when you step out of the chamber and warm up. Elite soccer teams, professional cyclists and field athletes have visited after games to reduce inflammation. While few cryotherapy studies have been done, one published in 2011 by the Public Library of Science One found that a group of trained runners who entered a cryotherapy chamber once a day for five days after running on a treadmill showed fewer markers of inflammation than the group who recovered post-running by sitting.
Where to find it: Chicago CryoSpa, Chicago, Illinois.
2. To Treat Body Aches and Pains: Manaka Tapping
This is a form of acupuncture that uses a wooden peg instead of needles. The peg is placed on an acupuncture point and tapped rhythmically with a light wooden hammer to the beat of a metronome. Manaka tapping relieves the pressure pain once the points are stimulated at a certain number of beats per minute — hence, the metronome. When the hammer touches specific points, your pain should be relieved. The person performing manaka tapping should be trained in traditional Chinese medicine.
Where to find it: Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas.
3. To Loosen Stiff Muscles: Naga
Rooted in historic healing methods, this treatment applies Buddhist principles to a nontraditional massage. First the massage therapist wraps his hands into vaulted silk strands and hangs over your body as you lie on the massage mat. He applies pressure through his feet, shifting energy through your body, while stretching you. Typically you wear loose clothing during the massage, which is similar to a Thai massage.
Where to find it: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, Tuscon, Arizona.
4. To Treat the Sniffles: Cold & Flu IV Treatment
At IVMe, you can request an IV, just like the ones used in the hospital. But this treatment doesn’t require a prescription. A high dose of vitamin C along with other fluids are delivered directly to your bloodstream, so you immediately absorb them in high quantities. While there aren’t yet studies showing its effectiveness, those who’ve tried it claim it works — whether that’s the placebo effect or not.
Where to find it: IVMe Wellness + Performance, Chicago, Illinois.
5. To Reduce Stress: Somadome
Climb into this dome and choose from one of eight customized 20-minute guided meditation sessions. The dome is brightened with colors and various shades of light, offering the illusion of infinite space to regulate and control your nervous system and to boost production of melatonin and cortisol. You can choose a single color, or you can cycle through them all, depending on your mood. Inside, the Somodome uses binaural beats with varying inaudible frequencies to guide your mind into various brain states, similar to the way Tibetan monks use singing bowls to help achieve meditative states.
Where to find it: At hotels and spas throughout the U.S. Find one closest to you.
6. To Treat Arthritis: Hydromassage
There are many types of hydromassages, all of which start in the water, of course. The natural physical effects of the water on your body are used to stimulate your lymphatic and circulatory systems. Spas will typically use a specialized hydrotherapy tub, where the water pressure, aromatherapy and special massage techniques will encourage muscle relaxation. During the arthritis hydromassage, essential oils of ginger, eucalyptus and birch are added to soothe muscles and joints.
Where to find it: Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona.
7. To Reduce Wrinkles: Apple Stem-Cell Firming Facial
In this facial, plant-based stem cells are used in conjunction with fruit acids and antioxidants to fight signs of aging. An apple stem-cell mask is applied to your face to tone and tighten. When you leave the spa, you’ll look like you had a face-lift.
Where to find it: Mandarin Oriental, New York, New York.
8. To Eliminate Negativity and Emotional Baggage: Cedar Massage
Indigenous Americans believe cedar is sacred and has purification and protective qualities that cleanse your emotions. For this reason, many tribes use cedar in ceremonies created to release emotional baggage. Whenever they want to remove negative vibes to create a healthy space, they burn the cedar herbs. For this massage, workers at the spa gather cedar from ancient trees that grow along the Elkhart Lake. They use this cedar to create a cedar-infused massage oil, along with a wrap for your body that they layer with cedar sprigs, following the traditions of the Ojibwa tribe.
Where to find it: Aspira the Spa, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
9. To Ward Off Evil Spirits: Sake Soak
One New Year’s tradition in Japan includes soaking in a sake bath to ward off evil spirits and to make way for a new beginning. The sake soak also helps travelers deal with stress and jet lag. Bonus: The sake nourishes your skin, so you’re getting rid of the evil spirits and moisturizing your body with one treatment.
Where to find it: Shibui Spa, New York, New York.
10. To Treat Depression, Muscle Aches, Burns and Skin Trauma: Mimosa Tree
Traditional Chinese medicinal practitioners have used the bark, leaves and flowers of the Mimosa tree to help with various health issues, while Mayans used it for treating trauma injuries and burns. When the bark is shaved and dried, some people use it as a pill, while the leaves can be dried and used as a tea. The most common and ancient application of the dried bark is as a mood enhancer. In spas, the bark is incorporated into a scrub and a wrap to detox and nourish the skin while relaxing your mind.
Where to find it: We Care Spa, Desert Hot Spring, California.
11. To Reduce Fine Lines: Rawceuticals Force of Nature Facial
We all know raw cucumbers can do wonders for bags under the eyes, but this facial takes food-on-your-face to the extreme. Your face will be cleansed with many mysterious ingredients, including hemp extract, barks from the Boreal Forest, clay, ice-cap water, carrot seed oil, cocoa butter, black cumin seed oil, Kakadu plum extract, raspberry seed, avocado and more.
Where to find it: Mandarin Oriental, New York, New York.