Story and photography by Barbara Angelakis
Sphatika® Skincare & Spa
818 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10065
Rarely do I review day spas, but SPHATIKA® - located on the fashionable upper east side of Manhattan - is an exception due to the vision of its creator and owner Janet League-Katzin. As a small child growing up in Chicago, Janet would sit with her Mother in the kitchen, watching her create creams and lotions for family and friends using only natural ingredients. She never dreamed that those singular mother/daughter moments would lead her one day to be the designer of her own bespoke skincare line and healing spa.
Janet’s personal search for health and well-being, along with the knowledge gleaned by watching her Mother so many years ago, led her to seek out and develop a product line that uses only the finest natural botanicals in combination with Elixir of Quartz Crystal®. Her skincare rituals for day and night are described on her web site and are available for purchase both on the web site and in the spa. But impressive as the product line is, my purpose for being here was to experience the other side of Janet’s creativity… her personally designed line of therapeutic treatments, specifically the three hour long Royal SPHATIKA® Signature treatment.
Located in the haute couture neighborhood of upper Madison Avenue, I expected an ultra-luxe store front but SPHATIKA® is on the third floor of a rather modest building. After successfully navigating the gated door that operates the antique elevator - which I elected to use instead of climbing the stairs - I was initially taken aback by the small size of the spa, but that was soon replaced by the wonderful vibes and warm welcome I received along with the attractiveness of the decor. Janet’s journey to discover ways for promoting health that are not only beneficial and nourishing but also pleasingly esthetic led her to surround herself and her clients with crystals as part of her working modality. Ergo, the name SPHATIKA, which means quartz crystal in Sanskrit. For those unfamiliar with the wondrous properties of crystal, suffice it to say humans have been taping into the positive energy generated by crystals since the beginning of time.
Once signed in and fitted with fuzzy pink slippers, I was offered a glass of lemon infused water and led to a rather small dressing area to disrobe. Personal attention is provided at every step of the way and once in my cozy robe I was led into the Shanti Laka or Place of Peace. Here surrounded by massive crystals and listening to the music Janet had commissioned solely for SPHATIKA®, I could feel all tension leave my body. The melodious music of the flute and piano, were as meditations in sound, dissolving all cares. I was handed a small crystal into which I was to impress my intention (what I wanted to achieve from this treatment) and which would go home with me afterwards as a talisman. After a few minutes to make friends with the small crystal, I was seated in one of the three Far Infrared Saunas, each located in its own individual cabinet. The Far Infrared system uses light to penetrate muscles, joints and bones to release toxins on a cellular level. Not normally a friend of heat, I was relieved to know that I could control the temperature and length of time from inside the cabinet and surprisingly, I emerged feeling wonderful and floating on air. The Far Infrared system has also been found to be useful in treating the stiffness and fatigue associated with arthritis.
Next Svetlana (Lana for short) took me into a treatment room and instructed me to lay face up on the table. This part of the treatment is designed to detoxify the lymphatic system and sooth the central nervous system. After body rocking – a new experience for me and one that helps calm the nervous system and align the spine - a short foot massage, and a full body skin brushing, Lana applied a SPHATIKA® Orchid Mineral Mask. She then explained that she would lower a steam canopy to completely envelope me from neck to toe while she performed a lymphatic drainage facial. When she was finished with the facial she removed the canopy and I felt like a butterfly newly released from the confines of its chrysalis, free to fly. She completed the treatment with a Hemp Oil Body Massage. After reminding me to drink lots of water to flush my system of toxins released during the treatment, she led me back to the Shanti Laka and brought me a snack of fruit and nuts while I lounged and communicated with the array of crystals lining the wall.
My follow-up visit, this time for another of Janet’s signature treatments; the two hour SPHATIKA® Oxygen Facial, was again a new experience. All treatments begin with a stint in the Far Infrared Sauna before being introduced to the esthetician, in this case Midori who had just returned from her native Japan. Midori began with body rocking before applying a whole series of SPHATIKA® products with a light, practiced, touch. At some point her touch lulled me to sleep but I awoke just as she started the infused oxygen spray. The regenerating benefits of the facial continued and even days later I saw improvements in reduced pores and sun spots, overall the texture was better, and lines around my nose and mouth were noticeably smoother.
SPHATIKA® is not just a pampering and beautifying day at the spa – although it is that – it is a wellness, healing gift to oneself.
© September 2014 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.