edited by Tara de Lis
The chilled-out, aesthetics-obsessed mentality of spa culture is a natural fit for L.A. But bliss and beauty only go so far, so we eschew the froufrou in favor of 20 treatments that not only relax and beautify but provide the proven benefits of wellness.
Ocean Therapy Spirulina Wrap
Seaweed wraps are good, sure, but spirulina—a form of algae—is a less common twist. The gloppy, dark green goo releases nutrients and proteins sure to soothe. 80 minutes, $195. Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, 626-568-3900, pasadena, langhamhotels.com.
Indian medicine’s methodology calls for a dosha: an individual skin diagnosis. The chemical-free oils and fruits are good for rosacea, acne and sun damage. You might leave with crusted citrus behind your ears, but it’s worth it. 90 minutes, $120. Neihulé, 213-623-4383, neihule.com.
The Ona Pada
Think deep-tissue massage with a twist—the primary tool is the practitioner’s foot. Treatment rooms outfitted with parallel bars bolted to the ceiling allow the technician leverage and equilibrium. The larger surface area of the foot increases lymphatic drainage and blood-pressure stability. 80 minutes, $175. Ona Spa, Los Angeles, 323-931-4442, onaspa.com.
In a space modeled on Russian bathhouses, this service is for those who value the benefits of heat. After time in a 220-degree sauna, the skin is drummed with oak or birch branches, removing impurities and increasing circulation. 5–15 minutes, $75. Voda Spa, West Hollywood, 323-654-4411, vodaspa.com.
UMO 24-Karat Gold Facial
A local fixture, Veronica Barton-Schwartz is one of the few aestheticians performing this technique, in which anti-inflammatory gold strips work with superhydrating gamma PGAs, body-tissue-balancing ultrasonic nano-mist and LED light therapy. It’s more than a Cleopatra moment! 90 minutes, $300. Veronica Skin & Body Care Center, Malibu, 310-456-8883, veronicaskincare.com.
Inside & Out
To accommodate the body’s natural biorhythms, each signature treatment is cued to different times of day. The Inside & Out is a morning ritual—a heated herbal body wrap juxtaposed with an ice scrub and then with an infrared sauna experience. 120 minutes, $325. Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, 310-265-2800, terranea.com.
Laguna Beach Kur
A personalized wellness prescription, the Kur uses hydrotherapy to boost the immune system and fight fatigue, then you’re enveloped in a cold wrap of indigenous plants. 60 minutes, $225. Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, 888-715-6700, montagelagunabeach.com.
Fruits of the Orchard
Emphasizing the contrast of hot and cold to stabilize body temp, a jasmine footbath is followed by a coffee scrub, affusion shower and color therapy, for a boost in metabolism and cellular cleansing. 90 minutes, $285. Spa Montage at the Montage Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, 310-860-7800, montagebeverlyhills.com.
Meaning “beautiful, shining jewel” in Sanskrit—a reference to the chakra located near the navel—this treatment begins with a Himalayan crystal scrub, which stimulates the lymphatic system and improves circulation. It concludes with an abdominal massage—great for digestion. 90 minutes, $255. Four Seasons, Los Angeles, 310-273-2222, fourseasons.com.
Ancient Eastern medicine meets American vanity. Visitors go under needles attached to an electrostimulation device, and the effect is more than skin deep, as each treatment can help with hormonal imbalances, insomnia and pain. 60 minutes, $150. Azita Ansari at the Sunset Tower’s Argyle Salon & Spa, West Hollywood, 310-623-9000, argylela.com.
Mediterranean herbs, ocean botanicals and essential rosemary oils from Sedona are used to blend scrub, wrap, massage, hair-treatment and stone-facial elements. Glowing skin is but one result—it also detoxifies and infuses the body with minerals. 90 minutes, $270; 120 minutes, $340. Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, 800-315-8214, pelicanhill.com.
In this treatment—named for the Chumash concept of “a place to rest together”—groups are guided through traditional meditation while self-applying therapeutic masks. The results? Detoxification, cell renewal and improved digestion. 50 minutes, $50. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai, 805-646-1111, ojairesort.com.
Muscle & Joint Treatment
In this therapeutic treatment based on Asian chi, muscles are healed, organs rebalanced and the body detoxified. An herbal bath relaxes and improves circulation. The focal point is the Chinese Gua Sha–style massage of intense strokes with a smooth object. 80 minutes, $230. Four Seasons Biltmore, Santa Barbara, 805-969-2261, fourseasons.com.
Volcanic Fusion Package
Using heat and pressure to encourage toxin drainage, this process includes a scrub of ginger salt, then a remineralization-targeted soak in a pure-volcanic-ash bath and a hot-stone deep-tissue massage. 150 minutes, $260. Body Bar Urban Spa, Silver Lake, 323-663-1533, bodybarspa.com.
This procedure differs from the more common—and more aggressive—peel in that it doesn’t disturb the still developing dermis cells. Low-level currents push vitamins and minerals into the skin and can remove scar tissue. 60 minutes, $100. Face to Face, Studio City, 818-505-0107, facetofacela.com.
Power Body Detox
Ionithermie electrical stimulation is used to reduce bloat. It also aids in general detoxification and increases mineral production. Your muscles may feel a bit tingly afterward. 60 minutes, $180. Exhale Spa at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, 310-319-3193, exhalespa.com.
Guests were requesting this treatment, introduced around the time of the August fires, to clear sinuses, allay colds and allergies and relieve migraines. A cleansing, exfoliating minifacial is followed by lymphatic drainage of the face and neck, and moisturized compresses treat specific complaints. 50 minutes, $145. Sunset Marquis Hotel, West Hollywood, 310-657-1333, sunsetmarquishotel.com.
Since the benefits of natural hot springs have been known for hundreds of years, it’s not surprising that Glen Ivy’s specialty treatment involves hydrotherapy. Flotations are placed on the legs and neck while the body is stretched and massaged. Acupressure and cranial-sacral work bring pain relief from arthritis, physical tension, TMJ and fibromyalgia. 50 minutes, $89; 80 minutes, $139 (plus entry fee). Glen Ivy Hot Springs, Corona, 888-453-6489, glenivy.com.
Signature Goddess Treatment
Hot-pot waters target circulation, and an oxygen stone room detoxifies. The goddess package includes a seaweed shampoo, a toxin-releasing facial, a body emulsion and massage. 105 minutes, $130. Olympic Spa, Koreatown, 323-857-0666, olympicspala.com.
Don’t expect to be massaged and oiled when you see clinical hypnotherapist and energy-healing specialist Barbara Savin for this holistic treatment. By touching you gently or hovering over your chakras (body energy centers), she can work to alleviate both chronic pain and stress. 50 minutes, $150. California Health & Longevity Institute, Westlake Village, 888-575-1114, chli.com.