AndOn a recent Thursday in West Hollywood, I joined the Six Minute Club. That is, I endured six exhilarating minutes in the near-freezing bath of 43-degree water while Flora cheered me on to my recovery and my favorite motivational songs—”Eye of the Tiger” and “Baby Got Back”—blasted to get me through.
As you already know, ice bathing is a wellness practice that is supposed to relax sore muscles, reduce inflammation, and provide a rush of energy. I had already spent an hour in pneumatic compression pants and an hour in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber after which I took my cold plunge. I followed this with an hour in an infrared sauna. The “toxins” inside me couldn’t stand a chance.
I got to experience these treatments as part of a visit to Remedy Place, a new “recovery club” that offers vitamin shots and IV infusions (instead of cocktails) as well as compression suits, ice baths, cryotherapy and other treatment sessions. To help you decompress and reset like a professional athlete or celebrity.
Take a tour of Remedy Place (and other self-care hotspots) in our West Hollywood Wellness Guide:
“We coined the term ‘social self-care,’ so it’s not like a spa where you go and isolate yourself,” says Remedy Place founder Jonathan Leary, DC, a doctor of chiropractic and alternative medicine. Instead, Dr. Leary describes his club as a gathering place where people can work out daily, get wellness treatments and even take meetings or dates—in an infrared sauna, say. It may also be the latest in a growing number of facilities that are either entirely dedicated to—or place a heavy emphasis on—recovery.
Putting a premium on self-care
In a way, facilities like recovery spaces have been around for a long time, notes Erin Nitschke, EDD, CPT, a professor and health coach who also writes about trends in the fitness industry. “Think massage therapy, saunas, spas and restorative yoga classes,” she says. So why luxury? “These clubs may offer a variety of services that existing facilities may not have the space, overhead budget, or available professionals for,” says Dr. Nitschke. It may seem counterintuitive, but by bringing multiple services under one roof, ultra-luxury recovery clubs can make them more accessible and affordable — even if they’re still expensive.
Early adopters of this model include Rise by We, a gym-meets-spa-meets-cafe launched by WeWork in 2017 beneath a co-working space in lower Manhattan (which closed during the pandemic). Then, in the middle of Manhattan is The Well, a 13,000-square-foot “wellness retreat” that opened in 2019. Both were pioneers in the one-stop wellness space. Today, more fitness powerhouses are expanding their options, and newcomers are launching multifaceted business models already in mind.
Recent examples include RVIVL, which opened this summer in LA’s Playa Vista neighborhood. It plans to offer similar treatments, including infrared light, cryotherapy and more. In Malibu, a newly opened fitness, mental health and recovery facility called 9x will offer workout classes, ketamine treatment, recovery massages and yoga sessions.
Meanwhile, LA gyms Peak Performance Recovery and Fairfax Training Club list recovery sessions with percussive therapy products, as well as meditation and breathwork classes, as do spin and HIIT. And on the East Coast, S10, a once no-frills gym in downtown Manhattan, has relocated and rebranded as a multi-faceted fitness and recovery destination with restorative services such as a private spa, flotation pods, microcurrent facials, cupping and soft-tissue therapy. Like facial release. Even mainstream high-end gyms like Equinox are highlighting recovery in their class offerings and marketing materials.
Luxury restoration costs
While self-care doesn’t have to be expensive—basics like sleep, hydration, and nutrition go a long way—these recovery clubs are geared toward people with disposable income who want to invest in themselves. For example, a monthly membership to Remedy Place costs $495, which gets you four treatments and one IV drip session. All access costs $2,500 per month for unlimited sessions. Private treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ice baths range from $40-$160 each, which can be purchased á la carte. (Visitors to Remedy Place do not need to be members.) RVIVL’s treatments come with a similar price tag. Membership or personal service at other clubs is comparable.
But it’s worth it
Only you can determine what is worth it to you. But when it comes to the return on your investment in luxury recovery treatments, exercise physiologist Sharon Gumm, PhD, CSCS, says research shows that while many of these treatments can increase the subjective feeling of recovery, the biomarkers don’t indicate that the body is recovering. Retrieve more measurements.
“There’s valid research,” she says, “but it’s being exaggerated and taken out of context to sell something, and I believe that’s what’s happening now with the luxury recovery. I think there’s a danger that people will be convinced.” That these things will improve their recovery so much that they then don’t have to focus on the simple basics, which are boring things that take time and effort that nobody wants to do.”
Dr. Leary actually agrees that the most important aspects of recovery are not the cost. He even points out some free ways everyone can get some of the benefits at home that Remedy Place offers, like taking a cold shower instead of paying $40 for cold water. But he also believes in a kind of trickle-down economics of wellness: that the more recovery becomes a part of people’s routines, the more society as a whole will focus on self-care. “Everyone has to have their own light switch, and that light switch can’t be forced,” he says “You can’t turn on someone’s light switch, but you can inspire. And I think that’s really a big part of the remedy.”
From personal experience, I can attest that an ice bath is anything but boring and an hour in an infrared sauna will melt away all your troubles. But are they just as beneficial as a good night’s sleep, even if they cost more? Probably not. They sure are to feel Fancy and maybe that’s what you’re paying for, anyway.