By Kelley Granger
Bamboo is known as a symbol of longevity, and rightly so. Used as a building supply in ancient times, the bamboo shoot has also been eaten throughout the years by Asian cultures and is speculated to be the instrument of choice in ancient Asian cave paintings. It’s still around today, with possibly more popular and diverse uses than ever – the plant is being used as flooring, woven wall coverings, textiles and more. And now, even New York spas have picked up on the trend, featuring bamboo-based treatments that impart some of the special characteristics of this versatile plant.
Bamboo, Korean red ginseng and green tea are the main constituents of a plethora of AmorePacific’s skincare and spa product line. The spa’s Moisture Bound treatment uses a number of these products on a quest for healthy, moisturized skin.
Tucked away on Spring Street, guests of the AmorePacific Spa are welcomed into a cozy oasis and offered a cup of green tea by a warm staff. The bamboo influence is already prominent, as it’s used throughout the décor. Esthetician Alexandra Nagy will sell you completely on the benefits of the AmorePacific product line, as she leads you into a capsule- like treatment area. “It’s the first company I’ve worked for that uses nanotechnology and bamboo in their products,” she says excitedly. The nanotechnology breaks the product into particles that are a thousandth of the size of a skin cell, so it can easily penetrate. AmorePacific uses bamboo sap instead of water or mineral oil in many of its products, a deeply hydrating alternative.
The treatment begins with the Treatment Cleansing Oil and an exfoliator with green tea oil, which Nagy says is excellent for sensitive and dry skin. A steamer is then positioned above the face, and its water is infused with green tea leaves. A calming serum and a stabilizing serum is applied to the face, followed by a light green tea oil facial massage. Next, a mask is applied and the eyes are addressed with an Intensive Vitalizing Eye Complex, which helps reduce puffiness. Last, the Bio-Enzyme Refining Complex, a self-activating skin polisher, is smoothed on the skin. Nagy says this helps turn over skin cells and bring new ones to the surface. The result is a dewy complexion and fresh feeling skin, the product of the vitamin and mineral rich red ginseng and the powerful hydration and resilience offered by stabilized bamboo sap.
The Five Element Healing Treatment Maintenance Moisture Bound is designed for normal and combination skin, and is customized for your needs upon arrival. It’s supposed to include a footbath, as well as a back, upper and lower extremity massage. I only got a hand and arm massage as my mask dried, so be sure and ask if the foot bath and massages will be included ahead of time if you’re expecting them!
114 Spring Street
New York, NY
IGUAZU DAY SPA
Iguazu Day Spa owner Fabien Azoulay says that he is responsible for the bamboo massage craze that is sweeping through New York spas. Previously the owner of Broadway Spa, Azoulay says he was the first to debut the treatment that took him more than eight months to perfect. “We live in such a stressful city, I really wanted to give customers an experience rather than a spa treatment,” he says. Inspired by a facial massage he received in Paris that used a bamboo shoot, Azoulay worked with a therapist to assimilate the techniques of tapping, rolling, sliding and kneading so that they’d be relaxing and beneficial to the tissue. At Iguazu, he offers the Pachamama treatment, a hot stone and bamboo shoot experience offered in 75 or 90-minute intervals.
The treatment was wonderful – if not a little surprising. Therapist Hector Rios, who used to work a physical therapy environment, delivered a targeted, thorough massage and stretching regime that leaves muscles feeling both invigorated and thoroughly worked out. While Rios is always attentive about pressure and comfort, the stone and bamboo part of the treatment seemed to fall a little by the wayside. I later found out the lack of bamboo tapping was due to my petite stature (Azoulay explained to me that to use a lot of the bamboo techniques, you need to be a little meatier). Regardless, Rios’ skill as a therapist is a draw alone, as well as the friendly staff and beautiful two-level, water-themed spa and salon.
Iguazu Day Spa
350 Hudson Street
New York, NY
Can’t ‘massage’ a trip to the spa out of your bank account? Try some of these great bamboo products to enjoy the naturally antibacterial and sustainable joys of the plant at home.
Red Flower Ohana Gingergrass Bamboo Scrub – Red Flower’s all natural scrub exfoliates with its miraculously light and fluffy concoction of crushed bamboo, ginger and lime. The only thing more phenomenal is how your skin feels afterwards. Visit www.redflower.com.
Red Flower Ohan Gingergrass Bamboo Scrub
Earth Therapeutics Bamboo Benefits Naturally Antibacterial Bath Mitten – If you’re grossed out by kitchen sponges, think of all the bacteria your pink loofah is harboring. Earth Therapeutics’ Bamboo Bath Mitten is a soft and gentle alternative that naturally fights germs for up to three months before it needs to be replaced. Visit www.earththerapeutics.com.
Earth Therapeutics Bamboo Benefits Naturally Antibacterial Bath Mitten
AmorePacific’s Time Response Skin Renewal Body Crème – This liquid gold uses bamboo sap, green tea and loads of other natural extracts to help rewind the clock on aging skin, providing elasticity, resilience and moisture. Visit www.amorepacific.com.
AmorePacific’s Time Response Skin Renewal Body Creme
Bamboo is a natural material sure to keep cropping up in more and more products and treatments, especially in today’s environmentally conscious society. So, enjoy this renewable resource without the guilt and with all the pleasure.