Week #44 – Spotlight: Primal Oceans Salt Cave

So, I’ve been pretty excited to share this experience with you. I thought this might post would be a typical spa day, but it was far from it.

Lindsey and I talked about going to a salt cave for months, so when the LivingSocial deal for Primal Oceans Salt Cave in La Grange became available, we jumped at the chance. For $33, you could get an aquamassage and salt cave experience (what Lindsey purchased) or for $35, you could get an ionic detox footbath and salt cave experience (what I purchased).

For more details on the treatments I received, let me paraphrase from their website:

IONIC FOOT BATHS: Benefits of the detox foot baths are endless: enhancing the immune system, speeding up recovery time from injury, relieving arthritic pain; improving sleep patterns, etc.

SALT CAVE: The large amount of pure Himalayan salt used in the cave creates a microclimate, which mimics that of underground natural salt caves.

What’s the deal with the Himalayan salt, you ask? Well, for someone riddled with health problems, let me share a few of the benefits:

  • Contains 84 essential minerals that benefit the body
  • Aids in proper metabolic functioning
  • Creates an electrolyte balance
  • Beneficial for upper respiratory issues (allergies, sinuses)
  • Positive effects on forms of dermatitis (eczema)

So, we arrived at Primal Oceans (very easy train ride from downtown, and walking distance from the station), and Karen was extremely kind and helpful, and the spa was immaculately clean. We got a tour of the facilities, and then it was time for our separate treatments. Mine was a little longer, so I started first.

I sat in a relaxing lounger in a small room by myself. Karen told me to keep my feet in the small tub, as she poured in a small scoop of salt, and put the “ion machine” in the tub. I love science, so I was pretty pumped about this. What happens is, the machine emits positive and negative ions that react to your body. Toxins are released through the pores in your feet, and the result is seen in the water, from urine yellow to poo brown (sorry, best analogies here). I sat there, peacefully, with the lights turned low, a blanket on, and my feet soaking in the tub.

The anticipation of seeing the water change was killing me. So I looked down. Within minutes, the water turned yellow. I panicked. What the heck is going on? I know I’m pretty unhealthy, but it changed in minutes? The investigative reporter (and ignorant idiot) in me googled the treatment and there were a lot of words like “hoax,” “scam,” and the like. I didn’t believe it (I still don’t, by the way), and put my phone away. No matter what you believe, it’s nice to dedicate some time to relaxation.

But then the water kept changing, darker and darker. Until at the very end, it was brown water with sludge in it. WHAT WAS IN THE WATER?!? I was nervous and intrigued and confused, but it was fun, nonetheless. Lindsey joined me after her treatment (hers was ike a human carwash!), and we decided that we should have both done the foot bath to perform an experiment. Would the water have come out the same for both of us? It’s a mystery.

After my feet were clean, we put on some white socks and headed into the salt cave. The cave was cool, dark, and quiet, filled with anti-gravity chairs and a chest of cozy blankets (they have to keep the temperature down for the salt). Lindsey and I were the only ones in the salt cave session, which gave us free reign to chat and gossip all we wanted.

Once the doors were closed, an introduction came over the speakers to relax, as the room became darker and stars appeared on the ceiling. Lindsey and I laid back in our chairs, snuggling warm blankets, and putting our hands in the salt “sand” that covers the cave floor. I must admit, that 45 minutes went by pretty quickly. At the end of the session, we were rested and rejuvenated.

We bundled back up in our boots and coats, and headed to the little gift shop in the lobby of the spa. We both purchased some mementos from our time at Primal Oceans; I opted for a small bottle of bath salt.

Let me be honest, it’s hard to know if these treatments will have long-standing effects. But what I do know is that the experience was extremely fun and unique, the service was wonderful, and if another deal came about, Lindsey and I might have to go back for our ionic detox foot bath experiment!

Primal Oceans Salt Cave
La Grange, IL

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Week #5 – Mario Tricoci’s Beauty Resolution Event

It’s come to my attention (you know who you are!) that I’ve been dining out a lot lately for the blog, so I was especially pleased to hear a voicemail confirming my RSVP for the 4th Annual Beauty Resolution Event at Mario Tricoci.

Although I’ve been to the downtown location once, I’ve never been to this FREE beauty event. I received an email a few weeks ago, and called soon after to reserve my spot. (Did I mention it was FREE?)

As part of the event, which was held at Mario Tricoci locations across Chicagoland, guests could choose to be pampered with:

  • Lady LUXE Blow Dry Style
  • Cellophane Color Treatment
  • Makeup Application
  • Mini Anti-Aging Facial
  • Mini Therapeutic Massage
  • Mini Signature Manicure

Because this event was RSVP, I was riding solo. If you know me, the only thing I like to do alone is shop (mostly for groceries). The event started at 5 pm, so I decided to show up fashionably late at 5:30 pm.

It was pretty busy once I arrive. I checked in, and was asked to choose which two complimentary services I’d like. Well, if there’s anything I hate more than being alone, it’s decision-making. Where should we go on vacation? Which shirt should I wear today? Chipotle for lunch today or tomorrow? These are all really life-changing examples, but decisions tend to be a struggle for me. Imagine me planning my wedding…yikes…

The massage was a no-brainer, so I chose that first. (Note: My first spa treatment was an aloe wrap on vacation with my cousin Merry when I was 15 years old. We had to pretend that we were 16 years old to get into the spa. Talk about living on the edge.) In the spirit of trying new things, I went for the Cellophane Color Treatment. It seemed “exotic” for me, and the woman was kind enough to say I could get a blow out after. Yes!

I was then taken to get a glass of wine (“Red or White?”—more decisions!) and whisked away to wait for Arturo, my masseuse. I almost felt like I was waiting for a blind date, like Meg Ryan in You Got Mail. But instead of tea, I sipped on my glass of wine, and I was looking at magazines featuring Chicago socialites and not holding a single rose and a copy of Pride and Prejudice.

My appointment was at 6 pm, and I started to get a little nervous when it was 6:10 pm and no Arturo. Did I not have enough knots in my shoulders? Do I not look exhausted enough? Trust me, that’s impossible. But I wasn’t nervous for long. The staff at Mario was extremely helpful and did their best to get everyone an appointment as soon as possible. When Aidan arrived to take me away, my liquid calm resumed.

The 20-minute massage was just what I needed, and Aidan was a joy to talk too, which is always an added bonus. He also used a spice-scented lotion that smelled really good. Thanks, Aidan!

From there, I was guided to the salon section where I met Bethany, who would give me my Cellophane Treatment. This treatment, which I found out is extremely affordable, helps give your hair a glossy shine. Bethany was really nice, and patient as I asked her many times if the treatment would have an affect on my first-time color from Salon Buzz. She said maybe just a little, but it wasn’t anything permanent.

This was only the second time I was having something brushed on my hair, and the first time I went under one of those huge hair dryers (see below). It was bizarre—I kind of felt like an alien, but it was warm, which was heavenly for a person like me who is cold in Florida.

After 15 minutes, Bethany washed the treatment out my hair, recommended a leave-in conditioner for my ends (Do you use this?) and took me to get my hair blown out. The girl who dried my hair was so nice, and we chatted about her upcoming 21st birthday. (Mine consisted of too many Jaeger Bombs and hiding under the bar…oops…) Bethany came to check on me after my hair was styled to check the treatment, which was a little above and beyond in my book. Much appreciated.

This event was a great opportunity to try out Mario Tricoci’s great offering of services, and I will definitely be coming back for more massages at the very least. The salon is clean, the staff is friendly, and who doesn’t love free events?!? Sign up to be on their mailing list to hear about more great events like this one!

Mario Tricoci
900 North Michigan Avenue
Mag Mile

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