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I’m not a jaded person. Tiny things excite me: a good coffee, a good cocktail, a good sunset. In some ways, I’m a Karen; a fact that my kids never tire of telling me. Still, I’m glad to find joy in small things. The only problem is that when I experience big things, my joy-ometer swings off the scale. I get over-excited, over-enthused and giddy. This is what happened when I experienced The Ricari Method, a fascinating new treatment imported to London from LA. Which is fortuitous, as it means I - and you - won’t have to fly 5000 miles to get your fix. For make no mistake: you definitely need one. Once experienced, Ricari is unlikely to be forgotten or surpassed.
Let’s start with the weirdness, for the weirdness is the best bit of this review. Actually, the treatment is the best bit, but since the treatment is also weird (but good weird, not bad weird), then it’s fitting that said treatment takes place in a weird (but good weird - very good weird) setting; in the cloistered grandeur of the new London outpost of The Nomad Hotel. There are many special things about the Nomad, but the most special of all is that it was once the Bow Street Magistrates Court, a fabled London institution that has seen such notables as Oscar Wilde, suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and The Kray Twins pass through its doors. Some wag at the Nomad decided that the hotel’s beauty treatment rooms should be housed in its former police cells, complete with their spooky original doors. Being ushered into one gave me a delicious frisson: I could almost feel the ghosts of criminals past.
And then I clocked the treatment room - or rather, suite. Whatever the opposite of a prison cell might be, this is it. It’s bigger than the average one-bedroom flat. It has its own bathroom. It smells of orchids and expensive sex. From the massage table to the dressing gowns, everything is soft, pillowy and lush. Apart from the machine that administers the treatment. By contrast, it’s all angles, attached with myriad long tubes that make it look like a giant spider. Am I afraid? No: because my therapist, Anna Zahn, exudes a cool, calm, benevolently dictatorial presence that makes me feel as though I am in completely safe hands - even when she produces a transparent white body stocking and asks me to strip down to my knickers and wriggle into it.
I lie down on the bed. It smells divine. I barely notice as the weird spider machine kneads, zaps and pummels every inch of my body, starting with my poor, stressed gut. Zahn explains that the body suit contains fine silver threads that help the machine reach maximum efficacy. Here’s the science bit: Italian-made IcoOne rollers, enhanced by infrared therapy, deliver fractionated skin stimulation designed to condition skin tissue, stimulate collagen and elastin, reduce fatty deposits and enhance blood and lymphatic flow. It’s said to be particularly effective on saggy skin, cellulite and scar tissue, as well as easing muscle pain. That Ricari also uses LYMA Laser stimulation - the world’s first clinic-grade laser that’s 100 times more potent than LED - is an added bonus.
(Head to the bottom of the page to read how the LYMA Laser works or click for a technology deep dive.)
“There’s no woo-woo: it’s a medical device,” says Zahn of the treatment she developed over several years. With a background in photography and performance art, she tells me she was surprised to find herself in the wellness industry, but thinks her “outsider” POV has been useful.
I could listen to Anna all day, yet after an hour of being pummelled like an expensive sourdough, I feel myself drifting asleep - something that never happens outside the sanctity of my own bed, and sometimes even that’s touch and go. Whatever the spider machine is doing, it’s doing it painlessly. “You might feel it a bit if you weren’t wearing the bodysuit,” Zahn concedes, explaining that its antibacterial silver threads also lessen the machine’s intensity. The soothing sounds of Chet Baker only add to my reverie. “I like to play music that’s different from the usual tinkly-tinkly relaxation sounds,” she smiles.
The idea of delivering clinic-grade benefits in a luxurious, therapeutic setting seems like the perfect post-pandemic wellness concept at a time when people are crying out for self-care. The last 18 months have made us realise that preserving and maintaining mental health is not a luxury, but a necessity. The pandemic has left everyone time-pressed and wanting real results.
Did I see any? My skin definitely looked and felt more taut, and my face looked lifted. My ever-bloated stomach was indubitably flatter. For about an hour after the treatment, I also felt so relaxed that I could barely string a sentence together. Joy? I felt it in abundance. In Italian, Ricari means “bring back energy to something”, and it certainly did to me. No wonder Chloe J Moretz, Lily Allen, Dree Hemingway and a slew of other famouses are fans. If you love weirdness, hate whale music and prefer your beauty treatments to be at the techier end of the wellness scale, The Ricari Studios Method is the ideal treatment. And if tiny things excite you? Prepare to be excited - a lot.
The Ricari method is all about using clinic grade technology in a therapeutic, spa-like setting. Anna Zahn, the brains behind Ricari, chose LYMA Laser technology because of its power. As she says: "The wellness market is quite saturated with infinite products and routines— I’m more interested in adding value, experience, and sustainable lifestyle shifts." [Forbes]
What Zahn noticed was that while LYMA’s near infrared diffused laser light is able to reach the deepest layers of the skin on your face to stimulate fibroblasts and encourage cellular renewal, the same technology from LYMA can be used on your body for a slightly different effect. On the body the LYMA Laser can cause fat cells to temporarily release the fat substance from the body of the cell. This enhances the results from Ricari’s vacuum massage, treatment. This same finding is why low-level laser therapy is used prior to liposuction. Over the past decade researchers discovered that when focal areas of subcutaneous fat are subjected to near infrared laser photobiomodulation, the ability to perform liposuction is made easier and the results significantly improved.