In the city that never sleeps, it is no surprise that the fast pace of Manhattan takes its toll on locals and visitors alike. Packed schedules and never-ending to-do lists become even more burdensome when the weather offers no relief, making the coldest season ironically the time when New Yorkers seek to chill out the most.
Sometimes the standard one hour massage or quick manicure is not enough to encourage the full relaxation you need. Luckily, the city is filled with endless wellness offerings. However, it can be a daunting task to find the stress solution that best suits your needs. From the person in need of an escape from modern society, to someone for whom the pollution and dry winter air calls for a respiratory cleanse, to those craving some therapeutic heat, our roundup of the best places to unwind in New York City is sure to leave you with plenty of options to relax and recharge.
Locations (in New York City): 1 Park Avenue (Inside Oasis Day Spa), New York, NY, 10016
825 7th Avenue (Inside Better Health Center), New York, NY, 10019
Blustery winds and dark days are bound to ignite cravings for a sunny, beach holiday. Instead of soaking in dangerous UV rays, why not bask in the calming effects of Himalayan salt lamps in a ‘Breathe Salt Room’? Lounge in one of their luxurious beach chairs and dig your toes into the bed of Himalayan salt at your feet, a much more healing alternative to beach sand. Specifically designed for city dwellers exposed to urban pollution, Breathe Salt Rooms release micro-particles of pure, white Himalayan salt into the air; naturally detoxifying the respiratory system and healing skin conditions. There are a variety of ways to experience these warm, glowing rooms, reminiscent of a far-off dessert oasis, and reap all the benefits of dry salt therapy, such as improved breathing and sleep. For a more restorative experience, book a private salt bed or a meditation session. Those seeking a more active detox can join a ‘Salty Yoga Class’ to simultaneously improve their mobility while inhaling the therapeutic Himalayan salt. Escape to one of Breathe Salt Rooms’ two Manhattan locations, or for a real city getaway, they offer three centers in upstate New York. – Browse Treatments
Locations: 190 Allen St., Sixty Hotel LES, 3rd Floor, New York, NY, 10002
11 Howard Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY, 10003
21 East 1st Street, Lower Level, New York, NY, 10003
Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins spell the ‘DOSE’ in HigherDOSE; a line of infrared saunas based on the concept of getting high naturally by releasing the happy chemicals in the brain. Guests are able to sweat more and for longer thanks to heaters that emit infrared light waves that build heat from within the body, rather than a traditional sauna which heats the air. Not only does the lower sauna temperature pose less risk because it heats the body gradually, it has greater detox effects by encouraging a fat sweat, as opposed to the water sweat stimulated in a higher-temperature sauna.
Pioneered in the mid-1900s to speed the healing of hospital patient’s wounds, infrared heat is a go-to today amongst celebrities seeking glowing skin, deeper sleep and a low-effort calorie-burn. While a session in a HigherDOSE sauna can relieve physical ailments, such as arthritis and joint pain, it can also encourage emotional healing through the use of Chromotherapy; the science of using color to shift your mood and frequencies. With each color affecting the brain differently, guests can choose from a variety of shades to light their private sauna. Looking to improve circulation and collagen production? A red room awaits. Or perhaps your body craves a purple room to soothe the nervous system. With three locations open throughout Manhattan and two more on the way, HigherDOSE seems to be the one wellness therapy that is more than a trend and here to stay. – Browse Treatments
Location: 149 Essex Street, New York, NY, 10002
When your wallet nor calendar allows the flexibility to splurge on a full spa day during the busy winter months, squeeze in a quick relaxation session at Chillhouse, the hybrid café-spa designed for those looking to unwind in style. A bright, light-filled café space greets guests with an array of healing liquids and bites. Nourishing ‘Chillhouse Powders’ are blended into a selection of ‘Signature Blend Drinks’, such as the ‘Chill Me Out;’ a warming recipe of lavender and vanilla with active ingredients such as Ashwaganda and Reishi for added calming benefits. Similarly, cocktails include healthy ingredients such as anti-inflammatory turmeric crafted with mango, ghost pepper and soju in the ‘Crazy Sexy Cool.’
Replenish dry hands and treat your nails to the latest nail designs atop sleek, marble tabletops with your choice of several manicure options, all using non-toxic products and a state-of-the-art ventilation system. For those with a bit more time to spare, six custom-designed massage offerings await behind lush white curtains, all with optional add-ons including aromatherapy and heat-packs. With Chillhouse proving that self-care can be both accessible and stylish, you no longer have an excuse to deprive yourself of some winter pampering. – Browse Treatments
Location: 88 Franklin Street, New York, NY, 10013
The one spa in the city that comes the closest to offering a luxurious escape to another time and place is Aire Ancient Baths; an immaculate palace of multiple baths set in a 19th century building. Originally a textile factory, the restored soaring ceilings, held high by exquisite Roman columns and exposed brick walls, give the space a sense of grandeur and opulence that you would expect only to find in ancient Europe. Yet the calming turquoise waters of several pools, ranging from hot to ice cold, lit only by candlelight, make the ambience distinctly intimate and inviting.
Take your pick of massage duration added on to each ‘Ancient Thermal Bath’ package which includes a circuit at your leisure through the multiple baths at different temperatures. For an even more stress-relieving experience, several elaborate rituals are offered that can include an aromatherapy session in a steam room, full-body exfoliation with Himalayan salt, or a hydrating massage with green tea oil. However, the one spa service you will be most hard-pressed to find elsewhere is the ‘The Wine Bath Experience.’ Following your circuit through the thermal baths, the aromatherapy steam room and salt water Flotarium, absorb all the nourishing antioxidant properties of Spanish Tempranillo grapes in a private wine bath set in an antique 17th century venetian well. Aire Ancient Baths, with its honoring of Greco-Roman and Ottoman rituals, offers more than the average rejuvenating spa treatment, enabling the body, mind and soul to be freed from the stresses of modern society. – Browse Treatments
Location: 49 West 33rd Street, New York, NY, 10001
In recent years, North Americans have increasingly adopted Korean beauty regimens, recognizing the culture’s tendency to treat the skin and physical appearance with the utmost priority. But Asian self-pampering practices are not a recent phenomenon, with traditions of herbal medicine, thermotherapy and skin rejuvenation dating as far back as the 15th century. It is no surprise then, that Aura Wellness, the 12,000-square foot oasis located in the heart of Koreatown, has developed a reputation amongst locals and visitors alike for its extensive range of traditional Asian treatments.
Warm up from the winter chill and detoxify in one of their four ‘Therapeutic Grottoes,’ each created with a particular combination of elements specifically designed to heal the body. Grotto building materials range from bio-ceramic stones, to soften the skin and releases toxins, to oak wood charcoal, known to cleanse the blood. The hot grottoes emit infrared rays, shown to boost the metabolism and relieve muscle aches and pains. A stone-cold grotto contracts your blood vessels after expansion in the hot dry and steam grottoes, removing even more toxins from the body. Following a grotto session, take your pick of massages, Korean body scrub treatments, facials, aqua therapy sessions and acupuncture treatments to make your city escape a full day affair. With services offered from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. across three floors, a juice bar in the relaxation lounge and eight private treatments rooms, you are sure to find your ideal rejuvenating treatment at Aura Wellness. – Browse Treatments