Spa

By Kathryn Holl

In Manhattan’s Upper West side exists a true holistic day spa. No frills or pomp and stance lurk here – just honest-to-goodness wellness. As I rang the buzzer and made my way up the flight of stairs to the second floor I have to admit, I was a bit mesmerized by my anticipation of the treatment. My appointment was for a Sea Veggie Body Rub; surprisingly I was a virgin to the world of pampering – not one spa treatment had I ever received before. Surrounded by publications on meditation, macrobiotic dieting and spiritual cleansing, I removed my shoes, sipped some refreshing herbal tea, and mentally prepared myself for the treatment I was about to indulge in.

Ettia’s space is small and quaint. Do not expect a mimosa upon arrival. The décor more closely mirrored my good friend’s first walk-up apartment in the city than a fancy spa. However, it’s quite possible the ambiance and setting is intended to reflect the holistic and medicinal attitude at this spa. After a few minutes, they led me to the treatment room where I disrobed and took a relaxing steam, infused with lavender oils to open up the pores.

I’d like to address one thing about this treatment right off the bat – to fully enjoy the rub’s effects and benefits, it is imperative that you are comfortable in the buff and are not self-conscious about someone being intimate with every inch of your person. This is an extremely hands-on treatment because the professional scrubs every inch of your body from your neck to your toes. However, the spa does provide disposable undergarments for modest clients.
The Sea Radiance Whole Body Rub (aka the Sea Veggie Body Rub) is an hour-long healing treatment intended to cleanse, detoxify and renew. The rub includes an exfoliating scrub and a rinse followed by a moisture application with an incredible smelling, including organic spirulina and wild bladderwrack.

Spirulina is considered one of the most nourishing foods on our planet because it contains a variety of vitamins and over 90 minerals. In addition to providing fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6) and other phyto nutrients, spirulina is also helps reveal radiant skin. Bladderwrack (an ingredient I’d never heard of before this instance) is a vitamin-rich form of kelp that is used to aid cellulite reduction when applied topically, and to stimulate the thyroid when ingested. It has also been found to help detoxify by removing heavy metals and radioisotopes from the body.

The scrub is applied with a cloth in small circular motions all over the body. I was surprised that the scent wasn’t more potent. It was actually pleasant and I did not feel as if they were buffing me with last night’s veggie soup. Afterward, my skin appeared a bit red, which indicated that the treatment had activated circulation. A soothing coat of moisturizer soothed my body after this tough-love treatment.
This particular scrub intends to deeply nourish the skin internally and externally. It smoothes, softens, and tones skin; encourages collagen and skin elastin production; and stimulates the detox process. I tend to be a bit skeptical about treatments that claim to reduce cellulite but this scrub certainly improved the look and feel of my skin. I recommend this for people looking to shed their winter-ravaged dermal layer in exchange for revitalized, healthy skin. My skin was glowing (not to mention smelled fantastic!) after I left Ettia, and I was one step closer to donning a bikini with pride.

The Sea Radiance Whole Body Rub costs $125 and is available at
Ettia Holistic Day Spa, 239 W. 72nd Street 2nd Floor (between Broadway and West End Ave.) For more information or to make an appointment, call 800.795.7109 or 212.362.7109 or visit www.ettia.com

Originally published April 2006
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