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I’ve had to fly back and forth from filming Younger in the U.S. to shooting a series in Spain called Arde Madrid, learning a different language and losing my accent as well. I have teenage daughters, and I’m a Type A personality. I just don’t stop, and that’s okay with me, but I was just tired. I needed a reboot.
I saw an Instagram post from my friend, Rossy de Palma, about a wellness resort in Spain called SHA Wellness Clinic, and thought, “Ahh, I need something like that” (when I lived in Los Angeles, I would go to Beverly Hot Springs).
I had to be in Madrid for the premiere of Arde Madrid, so I took the train down to Valencia and got picked up in a car that shuffled me off to this beautiful town on the top of mountains right above the Mediterranean sea. You’re driving by palm trees in the sunshine; it was like a magical location in a James Bond movie — all white, glass and terrazzo.
My goal at SHA was to do a reset. Quitting smoking is always a goal, but I am also married to a chef and cook myself, and I was bored with the way I eat. I wanted to give my body a break, invoke a temporary change that would inspire me to make bigger changes on my own. At home, there’s always a meat sauce cooking or a wonderful Tuscan bread my husband has made, so I wanted to be forced to do something strict for a week, though the idea of not having coffee was scary.
This place seemed to align with what I believe in treating my body, Eastern philosophy aligned with Western, so I went for six days.
From my room, I could see the sea and mountains from my balcony. The design is focused around resting — every single light bulb is on a dimmer. I’d wake up and make myself a cup of Japanese tea; I had my hair snatched up the whole time, no makeup except for a little touch of lipstick.
The first meal they serve you in your room is not prescribed by the doctor: It’s a clean and delicious spa lunch. I met with a doctor, who drew my blood and talked about goals. You speak with therapists about your life, stress levels, sleep and why you can’t relax. They suggest programs — like lymphatic drainage or weight loss — and I’m always wanting to lose a couple pounds because I’m an actor. I wanted more energy, I wanted to sleep better, I wanted my brain to focus better. At my age, I want to be able to feel that my body’s in harmony with myself, my circulation is flowing from my toes to my hair.
They put me on the macrobiotic Kushi diet for breakfast and dinner, and the Biolight plan for lunch (like a vegan omelet with sweet potato and onion). It was 800 calories per day, no caffeine, no sugar, no gluten. You have to eat what they put in front of you (I am still making miso soup for breakfast every morning, because it’s cleansing and balancing). I took a cooking class and got inspired to make superfoods and learned better ways of using ingredients that you might not generally grab off the shelf at Whole Foods.
In between steams and saunas, you start your treatments. One of my firsts was called the Shrinking Violet body wrap, in which they apply different oils with the active ingredient hydrolyses lecithin, and wrap you tight in what looks like Saran wrap, but it’s made of sugar cane. They measure you before, and when they measure you after an hour, you’ve lost inches from your body. Then you go for a lymphatic drainage massage where they do cupping, on the front of your legs, on your stomach, back and arms. It was almost like a suction machine, pulling at your skin and moving the lymph. Next thing you know, you’re peeing a lot and you feel energized.
Watsu water treatment
Next I went into a pool with a therapist who glided me around. It was a treatment called Watsu, sort of like yoga, like you’re coming out of the womb into water. You’re floating and being stretched in different positions. Everything was cracking organically in the water, getting loosened up. I also had Ozone Therapy and Sesotherapy; they draw about a pint of your blood, infuse it with ozone and oxygen and all these vitamins, shake it up so it becomes Pepto Bismol pink, and then drain it back into your body in an IV. It was amazing. I also did a Lung Detox Nebulizer to help clean up my lungs, break up the chest mucus, and a colonic that left me feeling cleaner and lighter.
Facials and beauty treatments
You can go see the beauty doctor and they have everything to offer, but as an actress, I don’t do it because I don’t want to freeze up my face. (I get laser treatments and I buy serums.) I tried Facial Mesotherapy with DNA cell protectors, where they take a little tiny Japanese micro needle and poke it into your skin, but you barely get red. There’s no blood; they just dot your face. Once they’re done, your skin looks like you are 16 years old — bright, shiny fresh. My fine lines went away, and the results lasted me a good 1.5 to two months.
I did cryotherapy, too. A lot of my friends are doing it in New York, even Mark Wahlberg has one installed in his home. You put on a thermal suit and slippers, though you’re naked underneath, and it feels like you’ve jumped into ice water, but in a way that’s not shocking. It was so wonderful that I didn’t want to get out.
After my week at SHA, it was like my skin was tighter to my body, my body had less toxicity, I felt younger and I had more energy. I felt completely energized and inspired to live a cleaner life.
I have never, as a parent, taken the time or wanted to spend the money to give myself something this extreme. I thought of it as extravagant. But after I did it I thought, “Oh, my God, why didn’t I do this sooner?” To be in that environment, to change your habits and to have that alone time to reflect and think about my art and how to be a better person — whether I like what I’m doing and the people I’m spending time with — was a gift in itself. I haven’t been able to live up to everything I would like to do, but it’s a work in progress. That’s just how life is.
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