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There are some things in Los Angeles worth booking far in advance — dinner reservations for Maude or Trois Mec, for example. Another hot ticket that you’ll want to plan ahead: a healing treatment with sought-after Ayurvedic guru Martha Soffer at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. The origins of Ayurveda go back 10,000 years, but in the Hollywood wellness community it’s a system of medicine with totally current applications.
Soffer’s usual place of business is the Pacific Palisades’ Surya Spa, where she’s treated the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Kourtney Kardashian, Amber Valetta and a significant slew of VIPs who cannot be named. But for two weeks in June, starting with the summer solstice, June 20, she will be in residence at the Doheny Drive property. The exclusive pop-up is to be the first of a series of four, which will each be timed — appropriately — with the seasons.
It’s not a random gimmick to tie into the hotel’s name. Says Soffer, “For Ayurveda, each season carries unique properties, and the change of seasons is the perfect time to come back into alignment with the world around us.”
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According to the acclaimed Ayurvedic practitioner and diagnostician, “we’re affected by the climate, the wind, the sun, the rain, the shortness or length of the day, and even the phase of the moon. We feel better when we’re operating in easy harmony with the natural world — our health is better, our vitality is better.” Ayurveda, she says, helps restore that balance and harmony, for immediately noticeable results.
Paltrow has been vocal about her experience with Soffer’s traditional and custom-designed Panchakarma treatments, which last one week for four hours a day (and consist of two therapists working simultaneously). They will be offered alongside single treatments that are designed to be performed at certain times of the day (i.e. 7:30 a.m. or 8 p.m. in some cases).
The curated menu of treatments include Light & Bliss, Deep Love & Deep Sleep, and Nourish & Restore ($375 each for 90 minutes), all of which incorporate the classic and completely heavenly Ayurvedic technique of shirodhara, in which warm herbal oil is poured in a steady stream on the forehead (third eye) for an unreal experience like floating in the clouds.
These are not simple massages that make guests feel good. Some of the long-lasting benefits include weight loss, glowing skin, increased energy, calmness and stress relief. Soffer’s goal for partnering with the Four Seasons is to reach people who are used to hotel spa therapies and, she says, “surprise them with treatments that are ancient, intimate, transformative and lasting, and open them up to the easy and practical possibilities of Ayurveda that they can apply in their own lives.”
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