The LA Guide to Health and WellnessMarch 27th, 2019
It can be easy to scoff at LA’s devotion to sweat lodges, juice cleanses, and cryotherapy, but there’s something about living in a sunny metropolis that makes us want to look and feel our best—all the time. Luckily, the metropolis makes it easy. Not only are there miles of hiking trails and countless waves to surf, virtually every zip code in the city has an incredible farmer’s market (or two), restaurants that cater to every quirky dietary restriction, and more yoga and Pilates studios than you could possibly try in a year. Welcome to the world capital of wellness.
The Gentle Wellness Center
910 Broadway St., Suite 112, Santa Monica | 310.576.6360
For thirty-odd years, this Santa Monica institution has been focused almost singularly on colon hydrotherapy (to the extent that they train and certify practitioners). There is also an on-site infrared sauna.
1460 4th St., Santa Monica | 310.319.1111
Tikkun is the next level when it comes to Korean spas, combining high-tech far-infrared heat with traditional Korean sauna therapies. So if you want to lie down in a Himalayan-salt-brick-tiled sauna or sit in a Hwangto clay room, you get the added benefit of far-infrared heat. And in addition to the sauna rooms, there’s a long menu of massages and kick-ass body scrubs to complement the sauna time. We’re burying the lede though, because the real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam: You sit on what is essentially a mini throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam treats you to an energetic release. If you’re in LA, you just might have to try it…
15539 Via De Las Olas, Pacific Palisades | 310.459.7715
Surya Spa is no joke—in fact, it’s one of only a handful of Panchakarma spots in the States. That said, it takes a pretty intense level of commitment that’s a bit out of reach unless you have the vacation time and budget: It requires three to four hours a day, for three, five, or seven days (we recommend the full week, though it’s tough, as you have to abide by the very ascetic menu that they prescribe). The house-made organic food and authentic Panchakarma treatments reach far beyond what you’ll find in a traditional wellness spa (people come here for help with parasites, for instance). The results—which can range from better skin to weight loss—speak for themselves. Beyond being a wonderful detox resource, mothers, babies, and mothers-to-be are in for a treat with Surya Spa’s special approach to pregnancy and babies’ first six weeks.
1169 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena | 855.567.2346
Also known as the sweat lodge, this spot, which boasts a pretty major Hollywood following, is exactly that. Equipped with small, cozy rooms where you get into an infrared bed, the idea is that you sweat it out for sixty minutes at a time, while you watch TV, read, or listen to music. People tend to sign up for memberships and come several times a month (or week) and complement the sessions with lymphatic drainage, which is meant to boost the detox process. There’s also a location in Santa Monica and one in Hancock Park.
Be Hive of Healing
5017 Lewis Rd., Agoura Hills | 818.452.4483
Founder Dr. Habib Sadeghi believes that with the right healing protocols—he focuses on homeopathy, osteopathy, and anthroposophical medicine, the belief that we’re able to access the spiritual world through inner development—the body can be restored back to its natural equilibrium and heal itself. He and his staff integrate techniques from Eastern and Western medicine to get to the root of issues, and on top of providing rehabilitating treatments like the Integrative Medical Colon Hydrotherapy and Integrative Neural Therapy, they’re also remarkable at balancing skin. During the Integrative Medical Facial, you get a thorough cleanse and deep exfoliation. The aesthetician traces a scalpel along the side of your face to smooth away the top, dull layer of skin, revealing radiance beneath. It’s enormously detoxifying and brilliant for pores. A rousing facial massage follows, as well as layers of beautiful hydrating and antioxidant-infused formulas that nourish and melt into skin. It’s the only facial on the menu, and it’s beyond.
Vicky Vlachonis is one of a few very special practitioners who take a holistic approach to the body, linking the emotional state to physical health. She is an expert in her field, specializing in osteopathy and cranial osteopathy, acupuncture, cupping, and therapeutic massage with healing oils. Vlachonis is now based in LA and travels widely when needed to treat her patients.
141 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.205.7300
Tomoko in Beverly Hills is a transformative experience from the moment you walk through the door, where it’s likely Tomoko herself who will hand you a pair of slippers before leading you into the traditionally minimalist, Japanese-style pretreatment relaxation area for tea, the first of many pots they’ll brew for you. There’s no communal changing area or locker rooms, as each of the four treatment rooms is set up with all the amenities of a luxury hotel room (shower, closet, bath, vanity, etc.). A single treatment can take up to four hours with all the trimmings—starting with a foot soak and reflexology massage and ending with post-massage herbal tea and mochi ice cream.
9278 Civic Center Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.205.2600
It can take years of trial and error to find a go-to spot for cuts, facials, brows, and makeup, so finding a salon that offers all four is kind of like hitting the beauty jackpot. Striiike in Beverly Hills is owned by a trio of sisters—Kristie, Ashley, and Jenn Streicher. Each has a specific beauty talent: Kristie (aka The Eyebrow Whisperer) has a cult following thanks to her famous feathered-brow technique, Ashley is a hairstyling genius, and Jenn is an incredible makeup artist. Striiike is also one of the best under-the-radar spots for facials, thanks to resident aesthetician Melanie Simon. Her two-hour Physics Facial tones and repairs skin with low-frequency electric current and sleight of hand that leaves you unfathomably radiant for days afterward. In a rush? The fifteen-minute Lightning Striiike brings all three sisters together for a quickie mini makeover.
2407 Main St., Santa Monica | 310.310.2914
By way of a serene neutral interior—complete with cactus plants and lots of driftwood—this massage spa aims to re-create a little piece of Tulum in the center of Los Angeles. It’s also open until 10 p.m., catering to a crowd that can’t always break away during the day for some spa time. The best part, however, is the pricing: $35 gets you a twenty-five-minute massage ($85 for eighty-five minutes). While you can book an appointment through the site or app, the spa also allow walk-ins. The original location is in West Hollywood; two others are in Santa Monica and Studio City.
8830 Washington Blvd. | 310.878.9903
This is not your regular neighborhood mani/pedi/beauty joint. The thoughtfully designed space is outfitted with mid-century modern furniture (you won’t find any oversize massage chairs), and the technicians are incredibly well trained. It offers kiddie manicures, at-home appointments, and best of all, it’s open late. Culver City is just the newest outpost—the original is in Tribeca, and there’s a third outpost at the Parker Meridien hotel in Midtown, plus a location in the Financial District and another in Austin, Texas. Facials are the unsung heroes at Tenoverten, which is staffed with highly skilled aestheticians. The four treatments are all incredible—and all powered by beautiful, enriching, clean, and nontoxic True Botanicals formulas. You can’t go wrong with the Pure Radiance therapy, which restores balance with custom enzyme exfoliation, gentle extractions, vitamin therapy, tension-relieving myofascial jaw release to quell breakouts, and Reiki. It’s just heaven.
5259 W Pico Blvd., | 323.413.2404
Loom is doula Erica Chidi Cohen’s home base in LA for women and families in every stage of their journey—thinking about conceiving, struggling, expecting, parenting, and everything in between. During the Roadmap class, you’ll learn more about the menstrual cycle and reproductive health than years of sex ed and Google searches could teach you. Baby Care Basics is a giant parents-to-be chill pill in the form of a two-hour class covering everything—diapering, sleeping, swaddling, all of it. After the baby is born, there’s baby massage, parents-and-me playgroups, feeding support, and so much more. Sessions with Cohen should be mandatory for body, sex, and overall wellness positivity, plus she—and every therapist, doula, lactation expert that works at Loom—is just so cool. The adorable, pastel-and-wood space hosts special events, talks, and drop-in playgroups regularly. (If you happen to be a new mother and can’t catch Coehn in person, check out her book, Nurture.)
ModelFIT Los Angeles
8067 W 3rd St., West Hollywood | 323.852.3480
On a pedestrian-friendly stretch of West 3rd in WeHo, ModelFIT relies on small movements using hand weights, a resistance band, gliders, and mini exercise balls to target small muscle groups as opposed to more traditional jump squats, burpees, etc., in a bright, light-filled space. Among the best classes: ModelFIT Scuplt, which targets butt, thighs, and abs, and a dance-cardio version, featuring follow-along dance moves. A bonus? After class, fuel up with lunch at nearby Sweetfin Poké or Sweetgreen.
2894 Rowena Ave., Silverlake | 323.522.6108
Natural Pilates may seem mild, fairly easy, and somewhat gentle. Do not be fooled. In the hour-long class of small, subtle movements and dynamic stretching on the Reformer, you may hardly break a sweat, but your muscles will be aching for days afterward. The space is small, with eight Reformers in a sparkly clean, functional studio. Individual sessions are also available, and classes are at convenient times—like the popular 7 a.m., which means you can exercise and still make it to work on time.
11677 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood | 310.652.5522
This spot is famous for its custom-made infrared saunas. In the personal pods, which look super futuristic, you lie on a bed of jade stones believed to have healing properties, while your body is bathed in red infrared light. Your head is outside of the pod during the entire the forty-minute session, and the surrounding air is diffused with a custom blend of detoxifying aromatherapeutic oils—incredible. The lymphatic compression massage and unique Magnesphere machine, which aims to improve your balance and sleep by way of deep relaxation, are so very worth exploring.
10764 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.570.9492
This all-ladies clubhouse is welcoming (to women) and airy, perfect for healing, supporting, and learning from other women. If you’re imagining the stodgy members-only clubs of yore, don’t. WMN is deliberately unfussy. Founded by doula Paula Mallis, WMN Space offers everything from pre- and postnatal workshops, to meditation and movement classes, to full-moon circles. The roster of in-house specialists includes a vaginapractor (if you’re not familiar, it’s essentially a chiropractor for your vagina), healers, hypnotists, as well as talk and body therapists.
Erika Bloom Pilates LA
11611 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood | 212.288.3410
Erika Bloom Pilates has finally ventured west (until now, it was just New York and Connecticut that got to sculpt and tone with the best in the business), taking up residency in Brentwood. The open space is flooded with natural light, making it a relaxing and—oh yes, we’re going to go there—fun workout. The studio’s knowledgeable staff curates personalized routines that borrow from Pilates, yoga, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, and weight training. There are also programs for pre- and postnatal women, osteoporosis, injury prevention, acupuncture, bodywork, and holistic health consulting.
Plumb Line Pilates
1913 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica | 310.453.2369
Plumb Line Pilates is like traditional Pilates, but with special attention paid to the female anatomy. Let’s back up: It was founded by women’s health physical therapist Allison Oswald to combine traditional Pilates with personalized physical therapy or pre- and postnatal care treatments. With a focus on pelvic health, Oswald and her staff take a highly individualized and holistic approach to each client’s specific needs. There is also a certified lymphedema therapist on site to target a sluggish immune system, hormonal imbalance, stress, or really any combination thereof.
730 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City | 323.745.0031
As the metaphor of its name suggests, the Wall is for anyone looking to break through her own individual physical boundaries. The Wall helps you do this by way of high-intensity interval training full-body workouts, paired with great motivating music. If you’re intimidated, don’t be: The staff is trained to keep everyone’s particular workout history in mind, guiding you through every step and making sure your movements and posture are in line. The signature classes combine core exercises with circuit training and indoor cycling, all set in a sleek and chic atmosphere.
1617 Broadway, Santa Monica | 917.841.9868
Sadie Adams’s unique therapeutic approach is designed to help clients tease out energy and vitality from within. Her technique stems from her studies in anatomy at the School for Body-Mind Centering, and in Ayurveda and yoga therapy at the Ayurvedic Institute. After founding Take Care Face & Body in New York City, she has opened a second location, Take Care Center for Body Mind Regeneration, in Santa Monica. Adams combines science, ancient wisdom, and intuitive awareness to support physical and spiritual healing. Her therapies include microcurrent facials, a restorative therapy that stimulates marma points in your face, promoting deep relaxation and healing throughout your entire body.
HotBox Infrared Sauna Studio
835 S. Hill St., Downtown | 213.628.3221
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into this sauna studio is how spotless it is. Impeccable, in fact. That can be said of the décor, as well: A streamlined, all-white aesthetic reigns—up until you enter one of the sauna suites. Here, you can choose to cast a colored light based on your mood (we chose orange for its mood-elevating, stimulating, feel-good effect) during your sweat. Then you sit back and do just that—sweat—for forty-five minutes. Each suite comes with an iPod and a vitamin C–infused rain shower. Given the potential benefits of using an infrared sauna, there are plenty of reasons to come here. But what keeps us hooked is simple: We always leave feeling calmer, clearer, and just all-around better.
177 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey | 310.927.7257
New spots continue to pop up in Playa del Rey, the beach neighborhood just south of Venice and Marina del Rey. One of the openings Westsiders are excited about most is Knockout LA, a fitness studio on the increasingly busy stretch of Culver Boulevard right in town. Knockout’s core class offerings are dance, yoga, meditation, and breathwork. There’s also a series of rotating workshops, like Disruption. Taught by Erin Ward (who also does Taryn Toomey’s The Class), Disruption is a feel-good mashup of everything you’ll find at Knockout—plus it manages to weave in a few minutes of writing as a form of emotional release. (Go with it: It works.) The front of Knockout is a pretty, curated beauty/wellness/workshop, so bring your wallet with you if you want to shop after om. The studio space itself is one long room that’s lit up by a wall of inset candles.
360 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.927.3097
Acupuncturist Mona Dan runs her own spa in Beverly Hills, and has recently opened a second location in West Hollywood. You can see her for a single acupuncture session or buy a pack of five or ten sessions. Clients also come to Vie Healing for bodywork—massage, cupping, Reiki—and the rejuvenating variations of peels and facials. You can also sometimes catch intuitive energy healer and Reiki master Kelsey Patel if she’s in town.
Y7 Silver Lake
4300 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
It’s hot and dark, and it can get crowded—but honestly, the more the merrier. Thanks to a booming soundtrack of Drake and 2 Chainz and the only light coming from candles, you can neither hear or see other yogis. It sounds a bit corny, but we’re saying it anyway: Y7 makes exercise fun. The beats, the upbeat teachers hollering encouragement, the lack of forced-upon-you Zen mean that an hour flies by. Prepare for a serious sweat and stretch, with a side of convenience. Mats and towels are available for rent at the desk, the lockers are the combination kind, meaning you don’t need to come prepared with a lock, and there are several showers (as well as deodorant, face wipes, and hair ties to freshen up) on the premises.
1427 7th St., Santa Monica | 310.260.4808
With only nine Reformer beds, classes at this beloved Pilates studio are small—which means plenty of attention from instructors despite the fact that classes are almost always fully booked. The space is sun-soaked and tranquil; the only wall not filled with mirrors or windows displays a white neon sign that aptly reads “sweat + good vibes.” Andrea Speir teaches many of the classes herself; they vary in purpose and intensity but all share the same challenging but gentle ethos (and heart-rate-upping playlists). Every instructor here is great, but we love Kit’s early morning cardio class prework, and Dane’s evening barre class if you require some extra motivation to push yourself after a long day. Also note: There’s usually plenty of free street parking before 8 a.m., and at any other time, you can park into the public garage underneath the Santa Monica Public Library a block away. For one-on-one instruction, book time at the private studio a couple of doors down.
2110 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park | 310.905.9777
We spend a lot of time at the original Love Yoga in Venice, so news of its East Side outpost was thrilling. Just like the Lincoln Boulevard space, co-yoga directors Kyle Miller and Sian Gordon have created a paradise that smells more like white sage and Diptyque candles than a sweaty yoga studio. While the studio interior has obvious appeal, the teaching is where Love Yoga really shines. The overall vibe is laid-back—no heat, no mirrors, and definitely no weights—with a meditation and Savasana built into every class. Clear direction and game-changing adjustments will make seventy-five minutes go by extraordinarily fast, though there’s nothing about this that’s easy: Expect to sweat (a lot) and to feel it the next day.
2021 Main St., Santa Monica, Los Angeles | 310.310.8880
The space is an eco-haven, designed with renewable, sustainable flourishes (the walls are made of cork, seagrass, and recycled wood)—and the facials are healing, pampering, and just: beyond. The Custom Superfood Facial floods skin with nutrients from tamarind, acai, turmeric, and manuka honey, while the Enlightening Ormus treatment’s miracle trifecta of microcurrent, LED light, and nurturing essential oil blends thoroughly revives skin. The infrared saunas are each tucked into a cozy private room with a shower—and they aren’t hooked up to Bluetooth, which means the promise of a genuine digital detox, too.
Los Angeles Yoga Club
1206 Maple Ave., Downtown | 323.977.4777
The Los Angeles Yoga Club is a traditional Ashtanga yoga school that follows the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (an Indian yogi and Sanskrit scholar who’s credited with bringing Ashtanga into the mainstream). A sister school to Eddie Stern’s Brooklyn Yoga Club, the aim is to assist students in the development of their personal practice, with the disclaimer that it’s within a class setting. This sounds unusual, but it works in the sense that yogis take the asanas at their own speed, and the focus is on personal form and ability rather than keeping up with everyone else. This type of self-practice has all—or at least most—of the benefits of a one-to-one class minus the price tag.
11819 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood | 323.545.9642
There’s no doubt that the familiar forms of yoga, like Ashtanga and Jivamukti, can be incredibly rigorous, but typically we associate yoga with feelings of calm. CorePower combines the stretchy, lengthening magic of yoga with the strength-building power of weights. The studios are kept warm to help loosen up stiff joints, and the upbeat teachers make keeping up easy (or at least easier). Wear fitted, sweat-wicking workout gear if you have it—the combination of free weights and downward dog will have you breaking a sweat.
Face Haus Santa Monica
1426 Montana Ave., Santa Monica | 855.550.4287
The idea and execution here are brilliant: Face Haus is a facial bar with treatment chairs spaced evenly apart in one huge, airy room. The therapies are excellent and varied, ranging from peels and eye-area pampering add-ons to more intense sessions that include LED light and microdermabrasion. Renowned Beverly Hills–based dermatologist Harold Lancer is the consulting physician, so you can rest assured your face is in great hands. Bonus: You can rent out the whole place for private bridal and baby shower facial parties. (The OG location is in West Hollywood.)
Rejuvenate with Nousha
726 Superba Ave., Venice | 310.740.4389
In a small white-washed bungalow on a leafy stretch of Venice, Noucha Salimi, a registered nurse, specializes in what she refers to as facial rejuvenation. While she’s able to administer Botox and Juvederm, it’s her wholly transformative reiki facials that keep us coming back. Here’s how it works: an hourlong session begins with a short facial massage and dermaplaning (to exfoliate dead skin cells) and then applies a concentrated face mask. While the mask is on, she’ll do a reiki meditation applying a gentle touch and doing light energy work to identify and help release tension. By appointment only.
Body by Nonna
8981 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.801.6621
A one-time Olympic hopeful for the Ukranian gymnastics team, Nonna Gleyzer has an innate understand of how to stretch the human body to the limits of its potential. She’s also part of a long lineage of Kabbalistic Rabbis, so she understands some of the more nebulous stuff, too. While she can certainly work you out on a Cadillac (and does so with many of Hollywood’s leading ladies and men), you really go to Nonna for her capacity to immediately identify areas that are unbalanced and out-of-harmony, whether it’s postural or emotional (or both), and then set them right. She is a rare talent. While she has an unassuming studio in West Hollywood, she also occasionally does house calls.