I (and the HPB writers) get a lot of offers for complementary services – from traditional spa visits to culturally-inspired wellness sessions. I usually determine if there’s a real story that readers will care about. If I’m being offered a simple Swedish massage, as much as I love those, there’s not really an informative story there. Most people have experienced a Swedish massage. Facial acupuncture, colon hydrotherapy and vaginal steaming aren’t as mainstream, so those are some of the stories we’ve covered. And I always give preference to green establishments and spas that use natural products.
Recently I was downtown Philadelphia, in the beautiful Rittenhouse Square area, enjoying a bite to eat at a local cafe. Across the street, I spied a lovely spa called Eviama Life Spa & Boutique and I popped in to admire it. I left a card. A week later, the owner, Penny, contacted me and we discussed a story idea. Little did I know that I’d get to experience such wonderful and unique treatments in a completely green environment.
Although you may not live in Philadelphia, reading about the treatments I received can help you decide if you’d like to try similar treatments if a spa in your area offers them. Or make a day trip to Philly!
After Penny gave me my initial greeting and tour of the spa, Marissa, my lovely therapist, gave me a warm cup of herbal tea and a plush white robe. She directed me into a room drenched in sunlight overlooking a closed courtyard filled with trees and flowers. Once I’d undressed, Marissa gently dry brushed me for several minutes. My back, arms, tummy, legs and the bottoms of my feet were treated to a soothing brushing. I chose to wear a thong during this session, but you can be as naked or clothed as you’re comfortable with. Dry brushing has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately as its benefits are becoming more widely known. Brushing helps to shed dead skin cells, increase circulation and rid the body of toxins. It’s also said that dry brushing helps eliminate cellulite, but that’s not been proven as fact. Still, it’s a soothing, enjoyable experience that I was happy to get as a precursor to my next treatment…
Many of the nicer spas and health clubs offer Swedish saunas. These are steam-based and heat the air, whereas infrared sauna use a heater that produces radiant energy that penetrates the body and heats the user directly. My first question, of course, was “Is this safe?” I was given informational sheets explaining how the sauna works and its safety factor. I learned that the sauna produces the same rays as the sun, but filters out the (harmful) UVs. Hospitals use Infrared energy to keep premature infants warm. Infrared saunas are said to help increase blood circulation, lower blood pressure and aid in detoxification. Athletes often make use of these saunas for deep tissue repair and to treat injuries that require heat therapy. With my tea in hand and my fluffy robe, I embraced this treatment fully!
As someone who loves heights and doesn’t get claustrophobic, I am open to trying just about anything (except skydiving!). So when I was offered the chance to get a full body herbal wrap, I was all over it. Butt naked and shivering after leaving the sauna, I was laid atop a massage table covered in huge, warm, wet cloths and plastic linings. The cloths had been soaked in a custom blend of herbs chosen according to my body’s needs. My detox wrap contained astragalus root, calendula flower, horsetail, Bullwhip kelp, olive leaf, oregano, rosehips, yarrow flowers, oatstraw, lavender and nettle. The spa also offers cellulite and body contouring wraps along with other custom blends. I was wrapped (tightly) in layer after layer of cloth, then plastic, then a huge, warm blanket and a comforter. I looked like a burrito. There I laid for about an hour listening to soothing music and meditating while my body sweated off the toxins and ingested the herbs .
Although I very much enjoyed this treatment, a few of our writers looked at me in horror when I described the process. “Didn’t you feel trapped?” a friend asked. No, I didn’t. But I would advise a trip to the ladies’ room before you’re all wrapped up. And drinking lots of water afterward.
I have to admit, I’d never heard of the Kansa wand prior to visiting Eviama. An Ayurvedic tool first used thousands of years ago for healing, the Kansa wand is now offered in select spas as an enhancement to facials and massages. Marissa used the pure copper, tin and rosewood device to massage my face after she’d rubbed on a delicious smelling blend of Dr. Hauschka’s oils . Although it felt amazing, I can’t say I found it to be more than a massage tool. When I researched it online, it’s said to revitalize tired muscles and balance the three chakras – kapha, pitta and vata.
The spa added on other services such as a mini reflexology treatment and a full body rub with moisturizing oils – all from Dr. Hauschka’s line, which is just amazing.
Aside from the wonderful treatments, I was incredibly impressed with the spa owner’s commitment to green resources. The spa’s interior is made exclusively of renewable, salvaged, recycled and sustainable materials, non-toxic finishes and adhesives. All of the products used and sold are natural and from fair trade sources.
I’d love to go back and sample their spiritual and more unique offerings, such as Color and Light Therapy, Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu.
Prices: Dry Brushing, Herbal Wrap and Sauna – $136
Reflexology – $25 (as sampler)
Kansa Marma Infusion – $39 (as an add on)