If you need a little break from the hectic holidays, a local seaweed spa is offering a natural cure to help you relax.
Seaweed Sok in Newport Beach opened over the summer and I recently decided to try it out myself. The idea of bathing in seaweed seemed like taking a swim with the creature from the Black Lagoon, but owner Missy Finlay was quite the persuader.
"If you are depressed, getting ready for a big sporting event, need to detox before a trip or after, have a Type-A personality or are under a lot of stress, seaweed is mood-altering and will make you feel euphoric," Finlay explained.
Seaweed Sok is the only pure seaweed bath house in the United States. The trend of seaweed bathing is a popular European pasttime that Missy and her husband, Irish native, Hugh Finlay, wanted to share with Orange County.
The quaint spa has four rooms each with their own elegant clawfoot tub and individual sauna box. The bath is filled just enough to soak the seaweed and the rest of the water and temperature is up to you.
You have one hour to yourself in your spa room. First you hit the sauna. You step into a tiny box that covers your legs and torso and releases a hot, yet relaxing steam. There are digital photo frames set up at each mini personal sauna with rotating photos of serene beach images.
There is a Himalyan salt rock lamp that emits a healing glow and the soft zen-like chimes coming from a hidden speaker makes you sink deeper into permanent bliss.
After you have steamed like broccoli in the sauna, you move onto the bath where you can fill it up with warm water, step in and completely immerse yourself into the bath.
Seaweed is not only good for your skin, but Finlay says its also good for your hair and face. The seaweed, yes is slimy, but it is pure and untouched and clean. It has been used as an anti-aging, cellulite, anti-inflammatory and even cancer treatment.
Flown in from a tiny, remote beachside town of Slago, where surfers flock on Ireland's west coast, the seaweed has been harvested there by the same family for the past 100 years. They started dehydrating their seaweed when visitors asked to take it home.
As you sit in the bath big leaf seaweed floats around your body, making your skin feel silky soft. Finlay says the seaweed has an extraordinary amount of vitamins and minerals and is harvested and dehydrated at the perfect time, keeping all the essential vitamins in so when the seaweed is immersed in water it is has optimal benefits.
Bathing in the fresh seaweed is very relaxing and afterwards your skin is like silk. You definitely felt lighter, euphoric and overall a positive sense of well-being.
Finlay and her husband were so passionate about bringing this unique concept to Newport Beach that they put all their chips in the center table - as in selling their house.
The gamble paid off. Finlay and her team, made up of family and friends, keep the business small and personal and their client's experience special.
"Instead of 'here is a prescription' this is the real true organic thing," Finlay said. "It's detoxifying because your basically going first in the sauna to open the pours, loosen your muscles, relax you, then you go into the bath and soak up vitamins, minerals, iodine, vitamins B, C, E, K."
Still not convinced of the miracle of seaweed?
"We had a lady that came in with a spider bite and she came out of the spa and her bite, the bump was gone," Finlay said.
Sounds miraculous to me!
$65 - One hour individual
$85 - Two people
$125 - Six times
Seaweed Sok is located at 504 W. Balboa Blvd. in Newport Beach. For more information, call 949-689-7086.