Exhale Spa is known for combining top-notch spa services with exercise, which is why it has a different vibe than most spas. There's less reverent swishing around in robes, and more people running around in leotards on their way to yoga or Core Fusion, Exhale’s proprietary exercise class that combines core-conditioning, yoga, Pilates and stretching to produce long, lean muscles.
There are about two dozen Exhales in major U.S. markets (as well as Bermuda and Turks & Caicos) and the flagship site in NYC is Exhale Midtown. But Exhale Upper East Side is the original Exhale, and still pretty big with 10,000 square feet, 15 treatment rooms, and three exercise studios.
This Exhale is located on Madison Avenue between 76th and 77th, in Manhattan's most exclusive neighborhood, filled with luxury retail shops, art galleries and eateries. Head to the second floor of and you will be greeted by helpful personnel who happily direct you to the changing room.
Although smaller than the midtown location, this site is diligent in keeping up with amenities and necessities. The ample robe was roomy and the lounge room cozy and well appointed. Six comfy green chairs had plenty of pillows and the lighting was subdued by attractive faux Chinese lanterns.
A sampling of teas were available as was water, although the use of plastic and paper cups seemed puzzling, given Exhale’s dedication to the environment. I was scheduled for a Power Facial, which sounded menacing but was in reality divine.
A Power Facial and Sugar Glow
Caitlin Conn, the lead skin therapist, explained that the facial is "very results-oriented and allows us to incorporate upgrades and use conditioning enzymes that don’t irritate the skin.” What followed was the most heavenly facial I have thus far experienced. The number of steps taken would make your head swim.
Besides the usual cleansing, skin analysis, and steaming, The Power Facial includes exfoliation with a potent Japanese mushroom enzyme, use of Cool Beam light therapy to stimulate collagen, massage of my face, hands, neck and shoulders were be massaged with exotic Kahina Argan oil, and a gel-based mask. My skin glowed for days after.
Exhale’s Glow Body Scrub will definitely leave you glowing. It combines dry brushing with a citrus sugar scrub and application of a moisturizer that will leave your skin feeling energized, supple and hydrated.
The dry brushing, which began at my ankles and continued upwards, stimulates detoxification through lymphatic drainage and increased circulation, according to Caitlin. Then she rubbed warmed citrus body scrub over my skin, exfoliating my skin even further.
Caitlin used a soothing application of Exhale’s White Tea lotion that left my skin feeling soft and smooth. And experiencing her agility with removing and repositioning sheets was like watching a ballet. This treatment is highly recommended, and be sure to ask for Caitlin.
Exhale's Waxing Experts
And if you are in need of waxing, look no further than Waxing Director Di Medlock, who is in charge of the waxing for all Exhale locations. She consulted with me about my sorry-looking eyebrows and gave a quick and accurate assessment. She shares a down-to-earth friendliness with her co-worker Caitlin. “We’re just a couple of dorks who know too much about skin care and waxing,” she said with a laugh.
After doing a light clean-up of some straggly eyebrow hairs she recommended a prescription-strength eyelash/eyebrow growth medication, or Revitalash, a product developed by a physician for his wife who had breast cancer. It’s available at Exhale ($150 with portions of the proceeds going towards breast cancer research). Next time I need waxing I know with whom to consult.
Exhale Upper East Side At A Glance:
Type of Spa: day spa
Location: Exhale Upper East Side, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075. Phone: 212-249-3000.