Editor Note: For many, the New Year means making resolutions. My mantra is to take it easy on myself and not make promises I might not keep. You should always try your hardest to accomplish what you wish for but be kind to yourself in the process. If you are looking towards a healthier and happier year, I highly recommend you find a wellness community. It’s a good starting point. I myself had to accept that in order to begin on a path of wellness I had to be trusting and accept support from others. As a spa and beauty editor, my wellness adventures bring me to places you might not even know exist. The right place and healers could be right under your nose.
Wellness & The City (New York City that is)
In the city that never sleeps you can order takeout in the middle of the night, have most things delivered at a snap of your finger, find a speakeasy in the most unusual of places and a “secret” garden might be just around the corner. There is a reason New Yorkers play hard during their down-time and enjoy fast conveniences. We are surrounding by an abundance of options while being simply too busy and stressed for time. It is no wonder that when we slow down, we really like to enjoy slow living in style. This means finding just the right treatment to soothe our souls.
When one looks for individualized self-care and wellness, the city holds many possibilities and healthy choices. With options in almost every neighborhood, seeking out a sanctuary of your own is a no-brainer. The wellness and spiritually conscious community is a welcoming one and once you get to know the locals it starts to feel like a family. Four spots in particular have become my favorite haunts for their innovative approaches to hospitality, alternative medicine and energy work. From affordable options to more luxurious services, immerse yourself in the good life.
Kollectiv NYC (East Village, NYC) If it is a tribe you seek, Kollectiv might be the place for you. Kollectiv is located in the East Village and houses a plant-based cafe, a well-known herbal pharmacy called The Alchemist’s Kitchen, lots of retail therapy and most importantly a spa. Spa services are offered on the lower level and you will find that there is a unique mix of treatments for just about everyone. Although this is not your conventional spa, you will want to spend at least half your day here or at the cafe. There is a strong possibility you will meet like-minded individuals.
Whether you are an athlete or a spiritual seeker looking to loosen up, I recommend starting your visit with a Deep Myofascial Massage or Compression Therapy. Both treatments target specific areas of the body. A Deep Myofascial Massage is a form of manual therapy. Your therapist will work on you with gradual and deepening pressure, coupled with specific joint mobilization. The benefits are increased circulation, enhanced detoxification by movement of the lymph and nourishment of cells with freshly oxygenated blood.
Compression Therapy might look strange at first, but I felt it working. After trying it out, I absolutely believe in it’s power to help your muscles recover from a tough workout. My legs were zipped up into inflatable boots that use pulse technology. The therapy works with your lymphatic and cardiovascular systems, accelerating the removal of metabolic waste, allowing you to soothe sore muscles in the process. These interesting looking inflatable pants have been used during the Olympics so who I am to argue with that.
For an overall re-set and relaxation, move onto Therapi. You will lay in a quiet room with an energy healing device, inspired by the science of Nikola Tesla. Enter a deep state of relaxation by laying between two chambers filled with plasma and noble gases. The device creates a bioactive field around you, harmonizing your body’s aura. Think of it as a way of resetting your body back to it’s factory settings. I truly needed this treatment.
Afterwards, I highly recommend spending some time in the cafe with a healthy drink or trying out one of the Infrared Saunas for detoxification. Do not forget to stop by The Alchemist’s Kitchen counter for plant-based wellness and sign up for events. There is so much more to Kollectiv than you might expect, call or stop by to find out which services might be best for you. I know I walked out feeling rejuvenated and impressed.
Montauk Salt Cave (East Village, Montauk & Huntington) For a more intimate setup, and what feels like a personal oasis in the city, visit the Montauk Salt Cave. This is the place to be if you need to dream, meditate and just breathe. Fans of Halotherapy will be wowed and transformed to a place of far away relaxation. New Yorkers who find it hard to get away to the beach or go camping will love spending 45 minutes out of their day in this place of complete relaxation. I cannot think of a better way to spend the afternoon, especially if you are a true devotee of salt therapy. I know I am, and often use it for sinus and migraine pains.
My visit started out with an introduction to Rodrigo Apiolaza. He is a sought-after reiki healer and his work began immediately. He burned palo santo, spoke gently and seemed to know exactly what I needed. Then we headed into the cave. There are two, the smaller one is meant to be used by children.
The salt cave itself has a superb design. It felt as if I left the city and gone to a place where you can heal both, the body and the soul. I sat in a comfortable reclining chair, covered by a cozy blanket, while the stars above me twinkled to meditative music sounds. While Rodrigo performed a reiki treatment on me, using sounds and essential oils, you can opt to just spend time in the cave without all the extras. If you find yourself in the East Village with 45 minutes to spare, visit the Montauk Salt Cave and have your own holistic experience.
Modrn Sanctuary (Nomad, NYC) Ready to start a wellness journey with a variety of options under one roof? For unique services, get to know the menu at Modrn Sanctuary. With plenty of services to choose from, I would urge you to try what feels right for you.
On my third visit to Modrn Sanctuary I spent time experiencing the Quantum Resonance Crystal Light Bed. This luxurious looking treatment can be best described as an immersive experience that will allow you to forget the world for about 30 to 45 minutes. You can meditate, sleep or listen to music. Yes, the experience will relax you, it might even give you energy, but the point is to use its healing potential by making a clear intention before you lay down. My experience was a tranquil one. I felt as if I could leave my troubles in the room. My advice is to learn as much as you can about how the bed works (Modrn Sanctuary is happy to teach you) in order to figure out if this is the right service for you. If you choose to go for it, make sure to pick your intention and enjoy the experience. The gorgeous looking crystals and comfortable setup will help align your chakras. As a spa-goer I appreciated laying on the comfortable BioMat (which happens to contain crystals as well). In the end, if the treatment helps you release what you no longer needed, while making room for more positive intentions, then you succeeded.
For more Halotherapy, Modrn Sanctuary’s spectacular Salt Room is not to be missed. It feels like you are at the beach. The menu at Modrn Sanctuary continues to impress with new services and classes. Become a New Yorker in the know and get yourself to this place of respite, located in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.
SoJo Spa Club (Edgewater, NJ) Sometimes it takes the entire day to practice self-care. When stress piles up, I like to take a mental health day at the spa. For a spa getaway that is just a stone’s throw away from New York City, go to SoJo Spa Club. The spa opened in 2017 and continues to make an impression on visitors with vast square footage and variety of baths. This is escapism at its best. For New Yorkers without a driver’s license, the spa kindly provides a free shuttle service from the city. It is a short and pleasant trip that is sure to get you excited for relaxation. The rooftop infinity pool is probably the most well-known attraction, with photogenic views and a heated tent in the wintertime. Although I am not against taking a discreet spa selfie (when allowed), I am a stickler for spa rules and appreciated the spa’s etiquette videos in the front lobby.
SoJo Spa Club is rooted in Korean culture, this means you go barefoot. Each floor of the spa is thoughtfully designed to help you get the most out of your experience. There is enough room to roam, giving you the freedom to get into your own tranquil groove. Real spa lovers will appreciate a healthy variety of soaks, including a spa must-have – cold and hot therapy. I spent a lot of my time experiencing as much as I could, while getting into a meditative frame of mind. My top favorites were: the Himalayan Sauna, the Ice Room, Silk Bath, the Foot Massage Path and of course, the famous infinity pool. I walked out feeling warm and fuzzy, with my muscles relaxed and my mind stress-free. A Volcanic Sand Bath is the spa’s newest treatment addition and I cannot wait to go back in order to experience it for myself.