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Extreme Wellness

Boldly go where you haven't gone before to feel – and look – your best

Full disclosure: When we sent different writers out into the county to experience the latest trending, out-of-the-box treatments and report back, we didn’t know whether to call this a health story or a beauty story. Was the premise, “When I look my best I feel young” or “When I feel young I look my best”? Ultimately we found that the question really didn’t matter. The writers found that truly innovative treatments exist at the intersection where health and beauty meet. Therapeutic in nature, these often weird-sounding regimens can leave you with a feeling of well-being. And when you feel good, you radiate attractiveness from the inside out. Here is what we learned on a journey into the new frontier of wellness offerings:

Mona Lisa's Secret
Vaginal rejuvenation? When I first heard about it, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to rejuvenate her vagina. I’m busy enough trying to rejuvenate my face – and, OK, some body parts too.

As it turns out, the procedure isn’t about good-looking lady bits – there’s a wellness reason: post-menopausal atrophy. After menopause, some women experience dryness, itching, burning, urgent urination and leaking and painful intercourse. The treatment, which uses a CO2 laser, can substantially help those problems. Some say it feels like a hot stone massage and swear that it increased sensation after one treatment.

For full benefits, expect to need three treatments at six-week intervals and a yearly “touch-up” thereafter, explains Dr. Lamia Gabal of Prestige MediSpa in Irvine. A package of treatments runs about $3,000, and, alas, is not covered by insurance, says Gabal.

But the real key here is who is doing this treatment and what are their qualifications; it’s been FDA-approved for use in the U.S. only since 2014. The original system for this procedure was developed in Italy and is marketed as the “MonaLisa touch,” says Gabal. “There are other laser systems that are much cheaper, but I like this technology because there is more data behind the use of this particular system.”

My recommendation is you make sure the person is either a urologist, a gynecologist, a plastic surgeon or a licensed technician. Yes, ask technicians to see their license. You don’t want just anyone putting a laser on your most intimate body part. Just like you don’t want your manicurist injecting Botox or fillers into your face while your nails dry. – Christine Schwab

Prestige Medispa, 16300 Sand Canyon, Suite 405, Irvine 949.313.7910 :: prestigemedispa.com

How Bright is the Future, Really?
Around 18,240 red lights bright. Technology developed by NASA to promote wound healing in space has been adapted by Irvine-based LightStim for the company’s new LED bed. Temperature-controlled panels emitting multiple wavelengths of light have been FDA-cleared to reduce inflammation and relieve pain while increasing nitric oxide and circulation and promoting whole-body wellness. But will the bed increase the production of collagen and elastin in the skin like anti-aging face panels and hand-held devices have been shown to? With its similar configuration of lights, it’s possible. One person stretching out in her LED bed every day, hoping to find out, is LightStim President Joniann Marchese.
Make an appointment at Gentle Touch in Newport Beach for $150, or write a check for $65,000 and have your bed delivered by the father-and-son team who designed it – Amanda Fletcher

Gentle Touch Aesthetics, 901 Dover Drive, No. 130, Newport Beach 949.631.2500 :: ocbeautifulyou.com
LightStim, 16552 Von Karman Ave., Irvine 949.502.4088 :: litstim.com

Just Float Away
They need to create a better name for isolation float tanks. They’re more like a “whole body facial.” Although some days being isolated actually sounds nice, and really, who wants to float with a bunch of people? We can do that at the beach.

You need to know what you’re getting into. I am claustrophobic and had I not investigated this treatment, I might have walked out when I saw a big tank filled with water and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt with a lid that closes it into total darkness, like a clam shell. Before I screamed, they assured me (perhaps because of the paleness of my face) I didn’t have to close the lid.

The results were worth it: A complete body cleansing and softening and a deep state of relaxation. The anti-inflammatory minerals in the water aid in the detoxification of the body, while the relaxation detoxes your mind. Practitioners say a half-hour of isolation equals four hours of restorative sleep. So with or without the lid clamped shut, the float puts you in a positive mood and makes your skin feel like a baby’s. It’s even supposed to promote creativity, so I am thinking one of those tanks might just fit in my office …
Depending on time, these treatments average $60-$100. – C.S.

Newport Float, 1525 Mesa Verde Drive East, No.110, Costa Mesa  714.429.1504 :: newportfloat.com
Awaken Float Lounge, 1637 E. Lincoln Ave., Orange  714.805.9955 :: awakenfloatlounge.com
The Float Lounge 1031 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach  949.715.5565 :: thefloatlounge.com

The Iceman Cometh
When German tourists found a 5,000-year-old corpse in the Ötztal Alps in 1991, the “Iceman” was so well-preserved they could still make out the tattoos on his skin. Imagine if it were possible to harness the safeguarding power of the deep freeze for living tissue?
Turns out, it is.

Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen in a specially designed body chamber to expose the body to extreme cold (minus-250 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to three minutes at a time. This flash freeze drops the temperature of the skin as much as 40 degrees, triggering an anti-inflammatory response that works to reduce chronic pain and accelerate recovery from exercise, injury and disease. Used in therapeutic settings in Europe since the 1980s, cryotherapy done regularly can also improve circulation and increase collagen production, improving the skin’s tone and texture. The majority of clients step out of the chamber energized and excited to try it again.

So why isn’t everyone doing it? The truth is that a fair amount of mind over matter is necessary to stand inside the chamber for the desired amount of time. “Treatments engage your fight-or-flight response,” says Scott Young, a chiropractor with Cold Rush Wellness. “It can be hard to resist the urge to bolt.” While Young recommends doctor-supervised sessions, starting at $65 each, Polar Cryotherapy’s Dan Slipkowsky admits that for $60,000 and a liquid nitrogen connection, there is nothing stopping you from getting stone cold in private. – A.F.

Cold Rush Wellness, 30251 Street of the Golden Lantern, Laguna Niguel, 949.281.6853
:: coldrushwellness.com
Polar Cryotherapy, 2651 Irvine Ave., No. 120, Costa Mesa, 949.505.9789 :: polarcryotherapy.com

Scrape it Off
If your body is a house, ultimately you are its keeper. Drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep and moving often – sometimes vigorously – keep your foundation strong. Sure, lasers and light beds and cryotherapy can help us become better versions of ourselves, but manual manipulation is still the cornerstone to optimal health and wellness. That being said, sometimes you still have to clean the gutters.

A third-generation practitioner of Chinese traditional medicine, Pei Chen says that gua sha “is like taking out the trash.” Also known as skin scraping, this practice involves using a hand-held tool made from jade, crystal or amber to manually massage muscle stiffness, improve circulation and promote the proper functioning of the lymphatic system. Chinese theory is that toxins stuck in the body can be rubbed out, improving overall function as well as correcting the skin’s uneven tone and texture. So, why not just scrape it off? Or out, more appropriately. Let’s be honest. This stuff can hurt. A lot. And often the immediate visual results aren’t pretty. Treated areas can be covered in reddish-blue swatches of bruised skin for days after treatment. Perhaps the real question is why do it at all? Because 2,000 years of practice has proved it works. – A.F.

Pei Chen, L.A.C., 3840 Warner Ave., Suite 100, Fountain Valley  714.757.7762 :: peichenlac.com

Drip, Drip, Drip
Supermodel Ireland Basinger and her actress mother, Kim, do it. So do Miss USA Olivia Jordan, skateboard legend Nyjah Huston, NHL players Joffrey Lupul and Scottie Upshall.
It’s IV therapy at The Hydration Room, and if you’ve got sore muscles, jet lag or just a hangover, there’s a drip for you too.

Dr. Brett Florie opened Orange County’s first IV “medi-spa” in Newport Beach in 2014 and has since built a following of celebs, athletes and pretty much every Hurley and Volcom pro surfer, who post their visits on Instagram, #thehydrationroom. The popularity led him to open a second spot in Laguna Beach and a third last summer in Huntington Beach.

Boost Hydration has joined the party, sending a mobile IV bus to your “home, office or hotel.” One of its drips is called Party Prep and promises, for $150, to prevent your hangover before you even head out for the night.

At The Hydration Room, you choose from a menu of 17 drips (with names like Happy Tummy and The Hangover Detox) designed for everyone from the weekend warrior to the globe-trotting executive to those whose jobs, or at least social life, depend on radiant skin. Prices range from $55 to $250.

Florie, 41, has an osteopathic degree, so his cocktails are natural: no narcotics, additives or stimulants. The theory is that an intravenous drip of vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and electrolytes directly to the bloodstream can reduce inflammation, replenish fluids and help with muscle recovery quickly since it doesn’t have to go through the digestive system.
Drips take about half an hour. During that time, clients recline on a leather chaise under a cozy blanket with a cup of chamomile tea, watching videos of stars in the night sky or sweeping desert scapes and listening to Coldplay or Passenger.

If you don’t have half an hour, you can pick from a menu of vitamin shots ($25-$60). Clients drop in for these “in that 4 o’clock time when you want a Snickers or a coffee,” Florie says. He also makes custom drips for cancer patients and people who need immune support or relief from chronic pain.

“I see what it does for people’s lives and I truly believe in it,” says Florie. “I think it’s only going to get bigger and bigger.” – Lori Basheda

The Hydration Room, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach, :: thehydrationroom.com
Boost Hydration, 2216 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa 949.629.2333 :: boosthydration.com
LiV, 20301 S.W. Acacia St., No. 250, Newport Beach  949.273.0200 :: livih.com

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