City Pulse

By Jennifer Witt

I’ve always been a sucker for anything natural. Whole Foods Market opens in Union Square, first one in the door. Tossed the Colgate a long time ago in favor of Tom4s of Maine, even tried one of those crystal deodorants once (didn4t work, felt like I was in Woodstock, circa 1969), so you can image how fast I signed up to have a holistic facial from Ettia‘s, a little gem of a spa on the Upper West Side, well worth the trip, even for us downtowners who think the journey north of 23rd Street is a trek.

I arrived in the sanctuary with skin sufficiently polluted from cab fumes, dehydrated from a bit too much Pinot Noir c/o a friends dinner party the night before and stressed from the daily grind of life in the city, aka: I was in dire need of a facial. I was curious about Ettia4s philosophy towards achieving perfect skin, which incorporated the five elements of fire, water, earth, metal and wood to form a perfect remedy that appealed to my specific skin type. After changing into the requisite terry-cloth robe and headband uniform that we all come to love and expect from our spa visits, I was already quickly decompressing…So Ettia herself, the Big Kahuna of natural skincare tended to my poor, distressed face, immediately analyzing where the problems lie and mixing up a special blend of herbs and essential oils, with as much expertise as a professional chemist. The result, she claimed, would restore my luminosity to that of Mountain Girl Heidi, fresh-faced, rosey-cheeked with a dewey-glow to boot.

I immediately sank into a near-hypnotic state, as Ettia started applying the special concoction, firmly massaging the fragrant potion deep into my epidermis and chanting some sort of spiritual mantra that I was supposed to be meditating to. Normally, I tend to scoff at the new-age sermons yoga instructors like to preach in the beginning of class, of which this was uncannily similar, but for a change, I embraced it and needless to say, I was soon swimming in a sea of tranquility, dozing in and out, dreaming of my chakras aligning and of ying and yang and peace, love and happiness in the world.

The facial ran for about 90 minutes of bliss, where they steam-cleaned my pores better than the laundromat does my favorite pair of black pants and applied a soothing mask to draw out the rest of the nasty little buggers clogging up my complexion…It was over before I knew it and despite the fact that I wanted to beg Ettia to keep going, I was pretty sure they were never going to give me a 2 hour treatment, no matter how low I was willing to sink in the bribery department (did she need a free weekend in the Hamptons? Good thing I didn’t go there, my friend with the house would have been none-too-pleased).

So, I mustered what little energy I had left to heave myself off the table and into my street clothes, signifying an official return to reality. Sigh. But the best was still to come, as I had yet to look in the mirror to see the results of her labor. How do I properly phrase it to convey my exact reaction? Jaw-dropping, wide-eyed amazement? Yes, that oughta do. I couldn’t believe it! My skin truly looked radiant, rejuvenated, balanced, harmonized and all that jazz.

Send in the white doves, offer up the olive branch, thanks to Ettia’s powerful forces intervening, the war is over and my skin and I are finally at peace. Now, if only Ettia could pave the way for the rest of the world…

Ettia Holistic Day Spa
239 West 72nd Street
800.795.7109
http://www.ettia.com

Originally published March 2005
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