If someone told you five years ago that you could turn to forest bathing to combat stress, face workouts to get a plump, glowing complexion, and a reiki practitioner for energetic healing, you may have thought they were nuts.
Not anymore—we’re officially in an age of woo-woo wellness, in which we’ve got a plethora of out-there treatments at hand to help with both physical and mental woes.
Just ask Geri Hirsch and Erin Falconer, co-founders of online lifestyle platform LEAFtv and veritable holistic beauty junkies. The duo has been deep in research mode for their newly launched Year of Wellness subscription box ($60/month), a themed package filled with 5-8 must-have wellness tools such as clean beauty products, superfoods, fitness accessories, and more.
But their quest for the next big (healthy) thing hasn’t always been rainbows and R&R—Falconer and Hirsch have come across some straight-up fails as well. One example? That celeb-favored IV drip that’s supposed to infuse your body with essential vitamins and antioxidants. “I threw up after it and Geri had a horrible breakout that lasted for a couple of weeks,” says Falconer. “I’m super squeamish, and just sitting there not knowing what was dripping into my veins started to mentally freak me out.”
Bad drips aside, the LEAFtv gals swear that they’d put their stamp of approval on many of the unusual wellness modalities they’ve tested, and they’re sharing their favorites with Well+Good.
Keep reading for the craziest treatments that are actually worth trying out, according to Erin Falconer and Geri Hirsch.
Yes, the “v” stands for vagina. Gwyneth Paltrow famously professed her love for it, and Falconer and Hirsch thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well. A sort of facial for your lady parts, the treatment supposedly detoxes your stomach, balances hormones, and promotes fertility.
“We found it really relaxing,” says Hirsch. “The whole experience is really wonderful. I had lost my period as a result of a new thyroid medication, and two days after the steam I got my period—which was [said to be] one of the benefits. A whole lot of people think it’s nonsense, but I’m a believer.”
She notes it’s also got a sexier side effect: “It stimulates that area and warms you up,” says Hirsch.
At-home LED light face mask
One day, Falconer asked her facialist which type of skin treatment is most powerful. “She told me it was definitely the LED light, because it’s the most penetrating force that gets deeper than anything else and makes the biggest change,” says Falconer.
She then saw Jessica Alba post a selfie using an LED mask at home. “I knew I had to buy one immediately,” she says. “My facialist told me there was a good one on the market that wasn’t too expensive, so I ordered [the Carer version for $200] off Amazon and started using it five days a week.” (She’s since cut back to twice a week.)
The mask emits three different colors of light, all of which have different benefits: red promotes anti-aging and collagen stimulation, green helps with discoloration and skin texture, and blue treats acne. “I’ve had so many compliments since I started using it about 3 months ago,” says Falconer, who puts hyaluronic acid on before using the mask, usually on the red light setting. “It’s really easy and only takes 20 minutes. You just plug it in and watch TV.”
Floating tanks—where you chill in a completely dark, individual pool full of body-temperature salt water—put you into a seriously meditative, relaxed state. But that’s not all, says Hirsch. “I really felt like it had a strong physical benefit—it basically takes all gravity off your body and relieves naturally occurring stress. It made me feel great afterwards.”
“Floating was probably my favorite of all the things we tried,” adds Falconer. “It was a very cool, unique experience that equally affected my body and mind—most of the trends we’ve tried only worked on one of the two.”
These aren’t your regular steam rooms—infrared saunas induce a more intense, detoxifying sweat that can lead to clearer skin, relieve soreness, promote weight loss, and more. “I felt super relaxed,” says Falconer. “It’s a slow, growing heat, and though there’s a point where I’m suffering for a couple of minutes and wondering when it will end, I definitely think it’s good to do.”
“I left feeling really great and I think my skin looked really beautiful afterwards,” Hirsch adds. “I felt lighter, leaner, and cleansed.”
“When I tell some people I spend 20 minutes each day rubbing warm oil all over my body, I get raised eyebrows,” Hirsch admits. She’s talking about her regular abhyanga practice, an Ayurvedic method of detoxifying the body through an oil massage. The idea is that you use a certain oil based on your dosha that gets your blood circulating and stimulates your lymphatic system, while pulling impurities out of your body. “In some cultures, they do this instead of using soap because of how detoxifying it is,” she claims.
Hirsch starts from her feet and moves up using hot, organic, cold-pressed olive oil. “I’m always cold, and this helps to keep me warm,” she says. “You’re supposed to take a shower afterwards but you don’t necessarily need to use soap since it’s already very cleansing, and when you get out you don’t need to add any moisturizer because your skin will be incredibly nourished.” When you think of it that way, 20 minutes doesn’t seem so long, does it?
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