Take a holistic approach to looking good and feeling better—body, mind and spirit—with some of Houston's hottest beauty, fitness and wellness trends.
Put on Your Oxygen Mask First
It sounds like something George Lucas dreamed up, but Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is medicine’s most efficient way of transporting oxygen throughout the body, says Dr. George Allibone of The Houston Wellness Clinic. He has two pods in his practice, and he recommends the relaxing 30-minute reboot—zipped into a bedlike cocoon and wearing an oxygen mask—to strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation and boost collagen formation for faster wound healing and plumper skin. $100 per session.
Those stubborn pockets of fat like love handles, batwings and saddlebags don’t stand a chance against CoolSculpting, a noninvasive treatment that freezes and flushes out fat cells—permanently. The company’s CoolMini is the newest FDA-approved treatment designed to fine-tune the smallest pockets of fat, including “bra-fuls,” chubby knees and double chins. “It’s a quick and painless 45-minute service that will give you real results,” says Dr. Karan K. Sra, co-founder of Dermatological Association of Texas and Adara Medical Spa, which just brought in the Mini. Dr. Sra also recently introduced miraDry, the first FDA-cleared noninvasive treatment to permanently eliminate underarm sweat and odor glands—immediately. Prices upon request.
Twelve tiny needles on your face may not sound like the most relaxing treatment, but spa owner Sabina Khan says microneedling is one of the most popular services at Chrysalis because this multitasker minimizes pores, spots, fine lines and wrinkles with minimal discomfort. “The microneedling pen stimulates collagen and elastin production and the skin’s own healing response with less downtime than laser, so after a week you notice visibly smoother, firmer and softer skin,” she says. Each time the ultrathin needles prick the skin, they create “controlled micro-injuries” that kick your complexion into high gear and help ingredients go deeper for better efficacy. It’s safe for all skin types. $300-$475, best in a series of three.
Head-to-Toe Skin Smoother
There’s a new high-tech skin-smoothing treatment in town, and it uses radio frequency to gradually heat the deepest layers of skin, creating new collagen to reduce the appearance of everything from wrinkles to cellulite as it firms and tightens skin. EndyMed employs different hand pieces that are small enough to treat eye crinkles and large enough to treat booties and the backs of thighs. “We are constantly losing collagen, and this remodels collagen,” says nurse Anita Vennekotter, owner of Botox Anonymous, which now offers EndyMed. “It’s getting to the tissue at different depths to improve the quality and texture of skin, but you don’t feel pain. It feels like a warm massage.” Vennekotter recommends a series of treatments to get results, ideally six spaced a week or two apart, but it depends on the individual. $250-$350 per session.
The Deep Freeze
What professional athletes and their trainers have known for years is that a dip in extreme cold—hello, ice bath!—decreases inflammation, improves circulation, removes lactic acid buildup to ease muscle pain, increases energy and even reduces signs of aging. Lower Westheimer’s sleek new Köld Cryotherapy is home to a futuristic Cryosauna that envelops your body, from the neck down, for three minutes in a regenerative and chilling -240 degrees. The good news is you get to wear socks, gloves and undergarments. Devotees report feeling invigorated and energized afterward, but not frostbitten. After all, cooler heads prevail! $65 per session, $225 for a month of unlimited treatments.
As Bella Rinova preps for a move from its longtime location into a sprawling 7,200-square-foot space with a covered patio at River Oaks District, owner Lynnette Davis has more exciting changes. She added a trio of celeb fave Intraceuticals facials, including Atoxelene–an eye and lip line-reducing replacement for injections. “A pressurized oxygen applicator delivers a hyaluronic acid serum,” she says. Plus, makeup artist Edward Sanchez joins the team. From $235.
The Neck’s New Thing
If you’re constantly deleting photos because your face looks fat—no matter how many carbs you forgo or how hard you work out, Kybella is the nonsurgical fix for you. “It contains deoxycholic acid, a substance found in the body, which breaks down fat cells and essentially destroys them permanently,” explains Dr. Haresh Yalamanchili, the double board-certified plastic surgeon behind Belage Center for Facial Plastic Surgery. “There is some swelling involved, but it’s much less downtime and bruising than with surgery.” The body ends up naturally absorbing the fat, so “you end up with less fat than when you started,” he says. Patients typically need two to four sessions, and the entire treatment runs $2,000-$4,500.
Intravenous drips take on new meaning at Dr. Shel Wellness & Medical Spa, where Dr. Shelena C. Lalji administers an array of IV cocktails, including ones for immunity, weight loss and hangovers, to help patients get the max benefit of vitamins—ASAP. We pick the one with skin-brightening antioxidants vitamin C and Glutathione. Together, they “remove the oxidative damaged cells, which cause skin to darken, and lighten skin naturally, safely and evenly,” Lalji says. From $120.
BODY & FITNESS
“A longer muscle is a stronger muscle,” says Henry Richardson, founder and CEO of Define Body & Mind. “As our bodies evolve over time, we get tighter and weaker, and we’re slowly shrinking over time,” he says. “Gravity causes bones to slowly get closer together, causing decreased space that can cause pain.” That’s why one of his newest classes, Define Mind-Hammock at the Montrose location, focuses on lengthening muscles with the help of hammocks anchored to the ceiling. “You must elongate your muscles while also strengthening them to balance your body,” he says. Using a hammock creates deeper stretches, improves circulation and assists with supported inversions (hanging upside down), which has a list of benefits, from better digestion to clearer skin. “In one class, you will grow roughly an inch,” he says of a temporary effect. “When you take the class consistently, it causes your body to memorize this length.” Inversions and deep stretches create space for the joints and between the bones, which helps the “growth spurt.” And though it looks intimidating, Richardson says the 75-minute class is ideal for the sedentary and as a complement to running, cycling and lifting. “It’s better than a massage because it doesn’t just elongate, it trains your body how to memorize this sense of elongation.” $20 per class.
Fast Track Fitness
When Houstonian Caroline Marache lived in Australia, she discovered the painless, popular slimming treatment Hypoxi. To her surprise, it didn’t exist in the States, so the former financial analyst opened Hypoxi Houston in West Ave—the first in the country and only one in Texas. How it works: Clients slip into a compression garment that targets trouble areas (like belly or thighs) and the dreaded C-word—cellulite—for 30 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike or 20 minutes reclining in a bodysuit. “Vacuum compression increases blood flow to trapped fat and uses it for energy,” Marache says. It also reduces water retention, and a monitor helps exercisers maintain a fat-burning heart rate and RPMs. Talk about working out smarter, not harder! From $70 per session, a series of 12 in a month is ideal.
The No-Impact Workout
Rowing is an “all-body experience” that’s “exploding” from coast to coast, says Greg Scheinman, founder and CEO of Row Studios. “It’s high-intensity interval training on and off the machine without the grind or impact,” he says. “We jack up the heart rate, then rest and recover to build lean muscle mass and lose weight without damage to the body.” Classes are 50 minutes and incorporate endurance, strength and mobility. A fan favorite? Foam rollers that helps unkink tense muscles and fascia. This month, Row debuts its workout partner, West U. CrossFit, the first luxury CrossFit, complete with towel service and A/C. $25 per class, $180 for unlimited monthly classes at both Row and West U. CrossFit.
MIND & WELLNESS
Integrative health expert, yoga instructor and author Elizabeth Irvine spends her days helping clients of her Truewellbeing biz achieve exactly that through positive affirmations, gentle yoga poses, the calming art and childlike joy of coloring a mandala, journaling for self-reflection and relaxing through guided meditation. “Your language shapes your reality,” she says. The mother of three hosts Soul Space wellness retreats twice a year for about a dozen guests who seek serenity and centering. The next is Sept. 25 to 27 at Travaasa Resort & Spa in Austin, from $1,169 per person. Irvine also designs jewelry with stones that have therapeutic benefits—detailed in her book Meditations From the Earth ($19.95, Bright Sky Press).
Raw Food Detox & Downtime
About an hour north, on 50 wooded acres in the middle of Montgomery, is Deer Lake Lodge. The first holistic wellness resort of its kind in the Southeast, it offers a cutting-edge wellness curriculum and organic spa treatments supervised by a naturopathic doctor. Its health and cleansing program is a constant, but co-owner Tracy Boulware keeps things fresh by diversifying the classes, workshops and experts. Come for the day to enjoy events like the May 14 Sound Healing Meditation Workshop ($10) with a spiritual teacher and sound healer or stay a while for programs like Raw Food Weekend, May 19 to 22, $1,450 per person.
Mental health is at the forefront as stress increases globally, and Houston’s top yoga studios are answering with meditative practice and pure meditation classes to help take the edge off. New Yogaleena in River Oaks calls it “Slow Soul Flow,” which relaxes muscles and releases stress during slow flow to soft music in a candlelit room. Big Power Yoga has contemplative “Yin Yoga,” in which poses are held for three to five minutes to tap into the connective tissues and spine while increasing breath to balance a big and busy “yang” lifestyle. And YogaOne has “ongoing mindfulness and meditation classes at all five, soon to be six, locations,” says co-owner Albina Rippy. “We know scientifically that there are enormous mental and physical benefits from consistently practicing meditation.” Classes with instructors like Brandon Dean Lamson, who trained at Houston Zen Center and the oldest Zen monastery in the United States, include some discussion and help hone concentration, alleviate stress and cultivate kindness. From $18 per class.
Align Your Chakras
The Four Seasons kicked off its extensive multimillion-dollar makeover with the 5,000-square-foot Spa & Fitness Center on its fourth floor. Along with the contemporary (white marble and natural oak burl wood) transformation by Rottet Studio, there’s a new spa menu with a special 120-minute Chakra Well-Being treatment to tend to all seven chakras—points of energy throughout the body, from crown to root. The holistic service relaxes the nervous system with warm oil poured over the third eye, seven balancing essential oils and lymphatic drainage. $350.