Himalayan Salt, Sea & Chakra Therapy
I checked in for a half day at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental New York to see if the post-traumatic stress of holidaying with two Fruit Loop-addicted nephews could be soothed away with a series of strategically placed strokes. More than a posh penthouse in which to be waited on hand and foot, this spa has fluid, highly personalized treatments catering to every aspect of your well-being, from physical to emotional. The menu's crowning selection is the Himalayan Salt, Sea & Chakra Therapy, three hours of body worship that must be felt to be believed. A fusion of ancient bathing rituals and modern spa technologies, the treatment begins with an organic purification tea, a foot bath and a lavender facial cleanse.
The body is then dry-brushed to stimulate circulation, heightened by the application of an oxygen-intensive serum. A thermalism series is performed by warming the body with an infrared sauna wrap, then cooling it with chilled compresses infused with aromatherapy oils. Foot reflexology follows a fascia-releasing head and neck massage to move fluid between connective tissues. After the thermalism series, the therapist helps to drain toxins through the lymphatic system using silicon cups applied to the back. The effect is calming, unlike more aggressive Chinese glass cupping, which may leave bruises. The body is then brought to a state of homeostasis with a full-body massage using heated Himalayan salt crystals. The ritual concludes with a facial massage, Chakra healing and crystal therapy, resulting in a state of complete relaxation.
This salt-based treatment is right on trend with the resurgence of salt therapy springing up in spas worldwide. The full-body massage using heated Himalayan salt crystals from the primordial sea is the most grounding bodywork I've yet to experience.
The salts also provide a dense concentration of minerals that balance the skin's pH, remineralize the dermis and naturally protect against bacteria. Medical studies reveal salt therapy is beneficial for respiratory illnesses from asthma to allergies, as well as skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, and even cystic fibrosis.
Near the top of the Time Warner Centre, this 35th-floor spa temple offers postcard-worthy vistas of Central Park and the Hudson. Eager guests arrive early to enjoy a dip in the vitality pool and a lie-down in the amethyst crystal steam room, which offers fog, land rain and tropical-rain settings. Your experience begins with a detailed consultation for a tailor-made treatment.
All this attention doesn't end when you leave; a lavish bundle of aftercare treats continues the benefits at home.
The Spa at The Mandarin Oriental New York at 80 Columbus Circle, 35th floor; 212-805-8880; www.mandarinoriental.com; 3 hours; $695 (U.S.) weekday, $715 weekend.