The Sok Bath
This state-of-the-art bath, $85, 50 minutes, is offered at the Kohler Waters Spa (Kohler, WI). "It's like a bath within a bath," explains Jean Kolb, spa director. An infinity bath, the water overflows into a trough and is recirculated. This tranquil bath offers the sensation of cascading water, gentle bubbles, and underwater color light therapy for the ultimate in relaxation. The treatment ends with a Vichy hydro massage and can be combined with a Warm Wrap ($155, 75 minutes).
The Water Windows shown here are located at Eden Spa on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and are 8-feet high and 4-feet wide with water running down a single side of clear acrylic panel. They are custom units and can operate as stand-alone pieces or be placed into a wall to create a "dynamic space divider," explains Jimi Beach, lead designer at BluWorld, makers of the windows. The cost was about $6,500 each.
For more information, call (888) 809-7666.
The Sea Plunge
Gurney's Spa (Montauk, NY) has been busier than ever lately developing a slew of new water treatments. The Sea Plunge, combining thermalism with thalassotherapy, takes advantage of the spa's beautiful oceanfront location. First, clients experience heat therapy, such as sauna, steam, or Roman Bath, for about 30 minutes, interspersed with cold Swiss showers. "It's a guided therapy," says Susan Yunker, spa nurse. "Because everyone is different and people respond to heat in different ways, we need to monitor guests by checking their pulses." The treatment is done most often in a group setting of three to 12 people (this is popular with conference attendees who use it as a unique team-building experience). After the 30 minutes of hot and cold extremes, the group gathers and jumps into the ocean. "It's almost like shock therapy, because the extreme experience creates balance and deep relaxation," explains Yunker. "Guests will never forget it. It's a really positive and cleansing experience." Offered every Friday morning at 7:30, the fee is $15, the same as that of a fitness class.
The Float spa
"This is a unique experience of complete weightlessness," says day spa owner Bruce Schoenberg. At his New York City spa, Oasis on Park, one can opt for The Float Spa-a top-of-the-line flotation spa that offers the same benefits as traditional flotation tanks. Says Schoenberg, "You can take an hour in the Float, and it's like five hours of sleep." In contrast to the tanks, the Float Spa is an open environment, like a room within a room. There's even a sound system for those who prefer to float to the music of their choosing. The entire space is 144 square feet; the Float Spa takes up 60 square feet and is 6 by 10 feet. It's filled with 800 pounds of Epsom salts and is religiously cleaned and cared for. Clients must first shower and wash the hair and body before entering the apparatus, and no other treatments may be done beforehand. First-time floaters go through a phone orientation of dos and don'ts and must sign a stringent release form before floating. The Float is manufactured by Sidhani and repped by a company called Float Dreams out of San Francisco. Oasis charges $100 for 60 minutes, $140 for 90 minutes.
The lack of a Watsu pool didn't deter owner Sheila Cluff from introducing Watsu to The Oaks At Ojai's spa menu two years ago. In a unique twist, Tessa Kahler, a therapist at the spa, had gone into partnership with Cyrena Hausman, another therapist, who had built a specialized heated pool behind her home for Watsu treatments. Kahler approached Sheila and daughter Cathy Cluff, director of operations. "It was a perfect fit," says Cathy.
"It allowed us to offer guests a new treatment with an experienced therapist without a big investment in space or capital." Guests at this refreshingly simple and moderately priced destination spa simply book the appointment at the spa's front desk, then are met in the lobby by Kahler or Hausman and driven a quick five minutes to Hausman's pool. The treatment ($45 for 30 minutes; $75 for 60 minutes) is good for increasing range of motion, calming the emotions, and increasing circulation, say the pros at The Oaks.