I showed up this afternoon at Exhale in Santa Monica to experience the "body enlightening" therapy for an aticle I'm working on.
I always look forward to going to spas, but seem to show up in a harried state and often miss the relaxing pre-therapy steam, sauna, and soak. Maybe some part of me feels guilty about indulging in all this decadence and calling it work. Plus I sadly must confess, the scheduling and taking off from work to make it on time in L.A. traffic often creates its own mole hill of stress. I know, poor little spa- goer you must be thinking... Anyway, I was very proud of myself to show up an hour early, with time to walk the Santa Monica Promenade and check out Anthropology, Restoration Hardware, and lots of windows before hitting the zen atmosphere of Exhale with 30 minutes to spare.
I quickly learned that I had misjudged the title "body enlightening". In my mind, I assumed it would be some variation of a candle-lit "ritual" that might include a scrub, massage, and bath. Instead, I was told I would need loose-fitting clothes for the session. Since I was wearing a little skirt and tunic, they kindly gave me a pair of brand new core fusion yoga pants and a tank to wear.
It's been a year since I finished intensive therapy from a major fall from a horse and I still have days when it hurts to walk. I tend to shy away from any sort of treatment that involves deep pressure and so I was a little skeptical when it turned out my session would incorporate Thai massage. I closed my eyes and heard the boisterous yelling from the yoga/dance class next door. But within seconds, my entire body felt like it was being kneaded by a cat. At some point Dina, my therapist was standing on my feet, and then sitting on me. It's hard to explain, but it was sort of like Watsu without the water, or a great yoga class if someone else was doing all the work. The session finished and I was more relaxed than if I had been kneaded for hours. All I can say is that it was really, really great and I will definitely be going back again! I made my way home after a post-treatment shower, sauna, soak, tea, fruit and nuts. Yum.
Exhale has tons of body, skin, healing, and yoga classes and chances are, there may be one near you. There is an Exhale in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, another one right here in Los Angeles (Venice), and a slew in NY: Madison Ave, Central Park South, and Bridgehampton.