New York City, known for its fast pace, recently became home to Naturopathica Chelsea Healing Arts Center & Spa, which gives multitasking Manhattanites a place to recharge while addressing their wellness needs. “With more than 20 years as a practicing herbalist and practitioner of the healing arts, I created Naturopathica Chelsea as a community center dedicated to personal transformation,” says founder Barbara Close. “In a city like New York, where everyone is in constant motion, I wanted to create a place where people can slow down, relax, and experience the healing arts, as well as be inspired to integrate healing rituals and remedies into their daily routines.” With another location in East Hampton, the Chelsea spa fits in well with the neighborhood. “Chelsea is vibrant and dynamic, and it is also an up-and-coming wellness destination with fitness studios from SoulCycle to Yoga Shanti and grocery stores such as Whole Foods within blocks,” says Close. “Our hope is to engage this wellness community and help to perpetuate this positive movement.”
More than just a place to indulge in treatments, the six-treatment-room spa offers a Vitality Bar, which serves a host of herbal tonics and elixirs that address everything from muscle soreness to the condition of the skin. “We focus on food and drink that can heal, protect, and reduce inflammation in the body, and taste good, too,” says Close.
Those wanting to boost their immunity or treat a specific condition may also visit the Remedy Bar, which features more than 30 loose-leaf therapeutic teas, herbal tinctures, bulk herbs, and essential oils. The idea behind the spa was to focus on overall wellness. “What sets Naturopathica Chelsea apart is our emphasis on 21st Century Wellness, a modern approach to everyday health and wellbeing focused on supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself with time-tested remedies and rituals,” says Close. “It acknowledges that the most important time for healing comes in between visits to the doctor when we practice everyday rituals to build health and vitality.”
Relying on the eponymous product line, the spa certainly doesn’t disappoint with its treatment menu. The Chelsea spa serves as a hub for brand innovation, where new products and treatments are developed. “We’ve introduced several signature products, including 12 herbal tinctures, more than 25 single-note essential oils as well as signature tea blends, which we will evaluate and consider for outside distribution,” says Close. This spring, the plan is to launch the Bio-Energy Lift Collection and the Naturopathica Signature Bio-Energy Lift Facial ($225, 60 minutes; $295, 90 minutes), a multi-step treatment that is already garnering great reviews from those who’ve experienced it at the Chelsea location. “When I created the menu for Naturopathica Chelsea, I wanted to include both East Hampton favorites, as well as develop new facials and massages aimed at reducing inflammation and addressing the needs of city dwellers, from stress relief to natural immunity to reducing visible signs of aging,” says Close. “My experience as a master herbalist, clinical esthetician, massage therapist, and aromatherapist informs every treatment that we develop, incorporating a variety of healing modalities to restore the mind and body.”
From East Hampton, the spa features the Pure Results Facial ($100, 30 minutes; $160, 60 minutes) and Alpine Arnica Deep Tissue Massage ($110, 30 minutes; $170, 60 minutes; $235, 90 minutes). To expand on the treatments’ benefits, Close extended the length of time to include a 30-, 60-, or 90-minute ritual, followed by a 15-minute consultation session to discuss post-treatment care. “I felt that allowing extra time for our therapists and clients to communicate was essential to the overall experience,” says Close.
Providing a place of respite, the spa also features a Sensory and Meditation Lounge to encourage mindfulness in both spa-goers and therapists. “One of the biggest problems facing our generation is inflammation caused by our environment, processed diets, and the stress of our 24/7 lifestyles,” says Close. “It is a contributing factor in the leading causes of mortality and chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis. Our challenge is to inform our community about the factors that perpetuate inflammation and the ways that they can reduce it in the skin and body.”
To aid in that endeavor, the company has a few more new products and protocols coming down the pipeline later this year. Close and her team are also looking at opening more Healing Arts Centers & Spas in urban areas to help other communities embrace a holistic approach to wellness. Says Close, “Our mission is to inspire healthy lifestyles with passion and purpose.”
Owner: Barbara Close
Spa Director: Susan Wells
3,500 square feet; 6 treatment rooms
Naturopathica, Utility Canvas, Yeah Baby
Bio-Therapeutic, Living Earth Crafts, Millennium Systems International, ProFacial
Michael S. Canter (Brooklyn, NY)