Much like the city's shitty traffic, the Angeleno obsession with newfangled health-and-wellness fads is one of those L.A. cliches that actually has some truth to it. We won't take undue stress lying down — unless we're lying in a sensory-deprivation tank or on a zero-gravity lounge chair with virtual-reality glasses perched on our faces. To keep pace with our endless quest to look and feel better, there are endless solutions, some more out-there than others. Here are three new ways to continue that relentless slog toward nirvana.
Whole Body Cryotheraphy
Raw, organic cold-pressed juice certainly isn’t new or revolutionary in the realm of health fads. The practice of raw juicing, which involves use of a hydraulic press to extract juice from fruits and vegetables, has proven merits, but seeing as it’s been around for decades, the thrill's worn off. But at Culver City's Renew Juicery Wellness Center, the mojo's been jump-started by a Whole Body Cryotherapy regimen courtesy of a state-of-the-art Cryosauna. The cylindrical sauna is entered standing up with only the head free of the pod. The treatment lasts between two and three minutes, as the chamber fills with liquid nitrogen reaching temperatures nearing negative-250 fahrenheit, causing blood to circulate to the center of the body. Originally conceived of in '70s as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the sessions at Renew claim to offer results ranging from reduced inflammation, increased energy, decreased injury-recovery time, boosted metabolism, improvement of migraines, tightening of the skin, and the burning of 500-800 calories in a handful of minutes. After just three months in the biz, Juicery’s devoted and steadily growing client base includes celebrities and professional athletes from surfers to bodybuilders to UFC fighters. Why let them keep this futuristic manna from heaven all to themselves? Renew Juicery Wellness Center , 12460 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 280-8483, renewjuicery.com.
It’s hard to imagine that the words “sensory deprivation” and “luxury spa experience” could comfortably coexist, but with the aid of 250 gallons of water set at 93.5 degrees and a generous 1,300 pound dash of epsom salt, Just Float in Pasadena seems to have managed it. The reported benefits of the “deep soak” tub include increased relaxation, heightened creativity, improved visualization, plus reduced insomnia, depression and anxiety. It's also cool if you’re just looking for something different as a specially curated mini escape from sensory overload of daily life. There are several floating facilities in the L.A. area, but Just Float claims to be the biggest, boasting 11 streamlined private suites with showers and dressing areas. The nice thing is that the experience is made to order — you can float in total darkness and silence, or adjust the lighting and soft music to your liking. The cucumber water, hot tea and adult coloring books are nice touches too. Just Float, 76 N. Hudson Avenue #120, Pasadena. (818) 639-3572, justfloat.com.
Even after two visits, I don't think I'm qualified to competently explain the philosophy behind Dream Reality Cinema. Devised by a husband and wife team who split their time between Hungary and Beverly Hills, where their cozy storefront meditation center is located, DRC is basically a 40-minute guided meditation spent in a prolonged twilight state. Seated in a zero-gravity chair — a really, comfortable La-Z-Boy with an extreme recline — and outfitted with headphones and a pair of virtual-reality glasses, patrons watch a “movie” that walks them through a four-part meditation with instructional, empowering audio and trippy visuals. The point is to stay awake enough that your eyes are open to receive the imagery but fall asleep enough that you reach a different plain of consciousness called “dream reality.” I'll let the website explain: “Dream reality is an always-changing, intermediate state in which the nervous system regains its variability and flexibility.” In waking life we're dumbed-down machines, the narrator explains. Via dream reality, we can tap into a vast amount of potential that's inaccessible when we're just plain-old conscious. Besides facilitating relaxation in the short term, the program — over the course of at least five sessions (at $80 a session) — is supposed to promote restful sleep (and, in turn, more wakeful days), eliminate nightmares and help people who want to learn how to lucid dream. The final stage of the meditation — empowered awakening — is equal parts empowering and amusing. As the narrator offers affirmations like “You are unique” and “You are the creator of your life,” the viewer is treated to a montage of stock footage in motion: an American flag flapping in the wind, a businessman raising his arms in triumph, a woman enjoying a glass of juice. Ultimately, it's relaxing as hell and a fun challenge for the open-minded skeptic. Dream Reality Cinema, 8800 Charleville Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 912-8674, dreamrealitycinema.com.