While sitting in a cave made of salt to clear up your allergies and substituting acupuncture for Botox might seem a little out there, I’ve spent the last few months testing out alternative wellness treatments that have made a big difference to my health and wellbeing. I’ve always been a fan of the non-traditional medicine route, and it’s been exciting to see some great options popping up in our area in the last few years. These are a few of my favorites.
The first time I tried Inner Light Infrared Sauna in Darien, CT, I walked out feeling lighter on my feet, with that same endorphin high that you get from a great workout. Ever since that day, I’ve been hooked! Because infrared therapy heats your body at a lower temperature than normal saunas, you won’t sweat as much. The space is bright, beautiful and relaxing. On top of that, their saunas include chromotherapy lights, which use colors to change the frequencies of the body to enhance healing. Infrared saunas can be used to ease or treat conditions, like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue and pain, digestion issues and depression. I can attest from personal experience that when I’m feeling the start of a cold, have a headache, or just feel off, infrared therapy always leaves me feeling refreshed and energized. Inner Light has become a little sanctuary for me.
Try It: Inner Light, Darien, CT, $35 for 25-minute express session, $50 for 55-minute standard session
Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture
Because I take photos of myself for a living, I’m hyper-aware of imperfections, but I don’t feel ready for Botox. I’ve tried lasers, microneedling and peels but I was shocked after trying facial rejuvenation acupuncture, which blew them all out of the water. Facial rejuvenation acupuncture aims to improve your complexion, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and rejuvenate muscle tone (which in turn fights sagging and minimizes puffiness). It is also great for the whole body—basically, a holistic facelift. So what actually happens during a session? The first part is just like any acupuncture session where the practitioner uses tiny needles on points on the body as well as face, head and neck to encourage blood flow, promote collagen production, help with lymph drainage and release tight muscles that cause wrinkles, leaving you with a brighter, smoother and lifted complexion. Then a combination of scalp massage, facial cupping and Jade gua sha is used to help sculpt, lift and smooth the jaw line, nasal labial folds, forehead and under-eye areas to reduce congestion, sagging, puffiness and dullness. After my first session, my skin was glowing and looked tighter immediately. The next morning when I woke up, my cheekbones were much more pronounced. It faded after a few days but each session builds on the previous one and after 10 to 12 sessions, it has a more lasting effect. And no, the needles don’t hurt at all!
Try It: Indigo Acupuncture + Wellness, Stamford, CT, $250 per session or $2,800 for a series of 12 treatments
I was skeptical about salt caves when I first heard about them—I vaguely understood the concept that I always felt better by the ocean, but how could sitting in a room full of salt do anything for my health? But one day I decided to test it out and was completely convinced! I walked in on a cold day feeling sinus pressure and congestion and walked out feeling
completely clear. (I swear I’m not making this up!) After speaking to Arianne, the owner of The Salt Cave of Darien, I learned that salt caves have been popular in Europe for decades, and are known for their healing properties. A Polish doctor found that salt mine laborers avoided lung problems you would expect as a job hazard, due to the stable air temperature, low humidity, and lack of airborne pollutants in the mines. Himalayan salt, which contains 84 mineral properties, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. The salt is incredibly efficient at drawing out metabolic toxins from the body’s cells and purging out toxic metals and impurities. It also releases negative ions into the air, blocking the positive ones that cause us damage from cell phones, stress, televisions and radio waves. In addition to the health benefits of simply sitting in the cave, classes are offered in yoga, stretch and lunchtime reboot meditation. The Salt Cave of Darien has more than 4,000 tons of pure Himalayan salt inside and it’s also quite beautiful.
Try It: The Salt Cave of Darien, Darien, CT, $45 for a 45-minute
MEET THE EXPERT
Julia Dzafic is the lifestyle blogger behind Lemon Stripes. She lives in Stamford, CT, with her daughter and husband.
Text by Julia Dzafic
Photos by (acupuncture) Randie Swanberg; (sauna) Carter Fish