Travel

By Danielle Belopotosky

In the course of history, the Swiss have been known for its contributions to the greater good of society – the Rolex, milk chocolate, and neutrality. Even more impressive is its government funding of the production of organic goods. One such product is by Hormeta, and it is a mix of minerals that are a core ingredient in a new treatment at the Four Seasons Spa – the BioTechnical Slimmer.

According to the spa’s website, this firming treatment aims to regenerate “microcirculation in areas where collagen or elastin has been damaged to help tone and tighten skin, reduce water retention and relieve aches in joints and muscles.” This is a hefty claim, and with summer on the horizon, I was eager to give it a whirl.

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Upon arriving at the Four Seasons on 57th Street, with its grand marble entrance, the sanctuary nestled in the underground called my name. A private elevator, entombed in gold and marble, dropped me at the spa’s entrance. Appearing from what seemed out of nowhere was Suk Mancinelli, the spa manager. A petite Korean woman, Suk greeted me with a warm smile; her unassuming presence put me at ease immediately. Suk escorted me to the women’s lounge, complete with hot tea, coffee, and a bowl of shiny, ripe red apples. It was St. Patrick’s Day, and I must have been the only person in New York City not out celebrating and drinking green beer. Instead, my body would soon be covered in a green seaweed wrap.

The treatment room was serene, dim, and relaxing. I lay on what they call a “cocoon bed floatation unit,” which really means an elevated waterproof bed with a cushy cushion underneath what appears to be a space blanket – you know, one of those silver blanket marathoner’s receive at the end of the race. Atop of my bare body rest towels for warmth.

Suk, my therapist, exfoliated my body with a soft-bristled hand brush – working in a clockwise motion. This helps jump-start circulation and energize me, she said, in addition to ridding my body of dead skin to create a clean slate for what’s to follow.

Next, Suk applied a gel base, mixed with the Hormeta mineral formula from Switzerland. Minerals are essential to remove toxins and to promote healthy skin. It serves as a conduit when the seaweed mix is applied, aiding in its absorption of the epidermis. The gel-based mix will help tighten and firm the skin. Generous applications are rubbed on the usual problem areas – the thighs, belly, back, hips, and oh yes, the derriere – I’ll admit it, she didn’t miss a spot.

After the gel was slathered on, Suk applied a seaweed mix all over my body. The seaweed is imported from Britain. She then wrapped me in the space blanket, covered neck to toes. To keep me warm, Suk set a layer of blankets on me. There I lay, much like a burrito.

For the next 20 minutes, while the gel, minerals and seaweed worked on my body to re-hydrate, detoxify, and rejuvenate my skin, Suk attended to my aromatherapy needs. Beginning with the inhalation of a delicate “Renew” formula, my olfactory senses awakened. She continued to give me a hot facial compression, and a pressure-point head and neck massage.

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It’s Suk’s philosophy, as much as the “Spa-ology” of the Four Seasons, that the guest is not left unattended. “I give full treatment for the full hour,” said Suk, “I want to people to say they got a ‘Wow’ treatment … and to come back.”

While I was wrapped up for 20 minutes, Suk recommends a longer session, as much as 45 minutes. It’s important to note that this, like any body-wrap treatment, should not be received more than three times a week because it can cause the opposite affect – the dehydration of the skin.

After 20 minutes, Suk unwrapped me, though I remained under the towels. Now, for those of you who are hydrophobic, I should warn you what’s next can cause any water-loving person to become a little ruffled. I tell you this only to be prepared, because in the end, it’s quite soothing.

Up until this point, I noticed an unusual contraption – a Vichy shower – mounted on the wall. It has a long-central pipe with several pairs of legs, each with two faucets as feet. The shower was placed a few feet above my body (though not directly over my face) and turned on. While the Vichy shower is minding its business rinsing off the seaweed and gel, Suk is busy with a hand-shower, circulating in a clockwise motion, gently massaging the muscles. “Water helps balance your energy,” said Suk. “The clockwise motion harmonizes the whole body.”

After my water logging, I emerged from the water, dried off, and showered in private room. After, I looked in the mirror, examined my belly, thighs, and overall tone of my body. My skin seemed tighter, firm. I definitely felt better.

Now, I would be lying if I didn’t walk into the spa specious of the “slimmer” claim. And I only had one session, so a fair assessment is impossible. However, the treatment exceeded my expectations, and Suk catered to my every need. My skin was soft, rejuvenated and visibly refreshed. In fact, my skin hadn’t been that soft since I was baby.

It’s clear to me that the benefits of this treatment are greater than just firmer, glowing skin. My body felt detoxified, my skin tight and weightless.

The Spa at the Four Seasons has offered this treatment since October of 2003, and while mostly women receive the treatment, said Suk, many men have reaped its benefit. She said that one man was able to buckle his belt one notch smaller when he left. It’s Suk’s standard that the Four Seasons “be 110 percent for the guests.” As promised, Suk provided a memorable “wow” treatment.

More information about the Four Seasons Hotel Spa can be found at:
http://www.fourseasons.com/newyorkfs/vacations/spa_services.html

It is located at:
57 East 57th St.
New York, New York
Tel: (212) 758-5700

Originally published June 2004
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