Spa

By Laura Peterson

What could be better than warm oil dripping on your forehead while having your feet, legs, arms and shoulders massaged?

How about having that experience in a “green” building? After 25 years in midtown, Pratima Ayurvedic Skincare Spa has moved to Soho and their new digs on Greene Street between Prince and Spring was designed with purely eco-friendly materials.

That makes them the only certified green day spa in New York City, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED committee. (HA! Green on Greene) Eco-friendly and skin-friendly, Pratima’s offers some of the most mind-numbing massage services and holistically healing facial services, as well as consultations with one of the world’s most renowned Ayurvedic skincare specialists. I recently sampled some the pleasures this spa had to offer and wanted to share my findings with you.

After reading through the list of services, I already felt relaxed. Seriously, just reading about them made me feel more at peace. I decided to try the Shirodhara, a frontal body massage culminating in a steady stream of herbal-infused warm oil on my “third eye.” (right smack in the middle of the forehead, for you non-chakra people) The description promises not only a great skin and hair treatment, but a settling of mental tension and I desperately needed that.

I was served a hot cup of Indian spiced tea according to my Dosha. The girls at the spa are good – they could tell I was a pitta just by looking at me. I changed into my robe and sat in the beautiful lounge area, sipping me tea. Now, I’ve always been partial to Asian décor, so sitting amongst the beaded throw pillows, carved wood wall hanging, tea light candles, et al, I was just drifting off in my mind to a foreign land. But the mental vacation had only just begun.

As I entered the spa room for my Shirodhara treatment, the lovely therapist explained to me what would be happening. I only half listened to her as I took in the room. Wow! The entire room was draped in large wooden beads, from ceiling to floor. The oil-dripping contraption (I wish I knew a fancier name for it!) was stunning, with a carved wood base and metal… umm… oil dripper. OK, so I’m lacking the words to describe this thing, but at least I included a picture (below). I’ve heard their worth a thousand words. All I’m trying to say, really, is the décor is very authentic, but then that shouldn’t have surprised me. Everything about Dr. Raichur is authentic.

The Shirodhara was magnificent. I started out doing what I always do when I’m reviewing a service – I start writing my article in my head while I’m in the midst of the treatment. But even my stubborn brain had to just cave in to the amazing sensations. Resistence is futile. I released my tension and allowed the Shirodhara to reboot my brain for a fresh start. It was blissful, even though I forgot everything I had planned to write. Oh well. Ohm.

My only problem with this treatment was I stupidly didn’t bring something to put my hair up, so I had to head home with my oily hair loose. I felt a pretty icky getting home via subway. “Don’t wash it until tomorrow morning, if you can wait,” my Ayurvedic therapist said before I left. I couldn’t wait though and washed it that night. Oh… my… goodness… My hair hasn’t felt that silky in years! I pondered how much better it could have been if I’d waited, but tried not to dwell on my mistake. My skin also felt baby-soft from the oils used during the massage. I went to bed that night feeling smoove as buttah, baby, and still mentally de-stressed.

I cannot wait to go back and try the other tempting treatments, like Life-Force Enhancer, Lepana Herbal Body Treatment and Nirvana indulgence. Beyond these massage treatments, Pratima’s offers personalized Ayurvedic facial treatments, treatments for acne, rosacea and eczema, a cellulite reduction program (I’m told this one really works, too!), and her skin rejuvenation program for mature skin. Pratima’s own skincare products are 100% natural and organic, and also available at the spa. Speak with Rosemarie, the Spa Director, and she’ll tell you everything you need to know about the products. I purchased some Neem Oil, Aloe & Cucumber Facial Moisturizer and an essential oil blend to reduce stress. These products are now counted amongst my favorite skincare products!

Dr. Pratima Raichur herself is available for consultations, in person or by phone, and I highly recommend everyone meet with this woman at least once. See my article this month on Dr. Raichur in the Natural Living section to see why I consider this woman one of this country’s greatest imports!

Pratima Ayurvedic Skincare Spa is located at 110 Greene Street, Suite 701, New York, NY 10012. Call for an appointment (212) 581-8136.

For more information about the spa and PRATIMA products please see their website at http://www.pratimaskincare.com.

Originally published August 2006
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