I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a naturally chill person. I am, however, very drawn to chill environments and activities that create a chill inner and outer atmosphere. So, it’s no wonder then that I so often find myself walking into the Lower East Side’s Chillhouse, a cafe-pampering den hybrid of all things trendy, quiet, and—most of all—chill. While I’ve found myself in the chairs of the nail art studio more times than I can count, it wasn’t until attending the launch party for The Chill Times, a new editorial experience put out by the Chillhouse team, that I learned that the very space I was sipping cocktails and getting my hair styled in a très chic single wave in was usually outfitted with massage beds, the most of-the-moment chill tunes, and—best of all—bottles on bottles on bottles of CBD.
Unfamiliar with the tri-lettered word? Allow me to introduce you to the product, or rather the ingredient, that’s currently taking the world, as well as my adventures in beauty and wellness, by storm. While many people are questioning the sudden popularity of CBD (a derivative of cannabis), thinking people may be more so fascinated by the sudden acceptance of a weed by-product, there are actually real benefits to be had with incorporating the non-psychoactive ingredient into your self-care, beauty, and wellness routines. To better understand what these benefits can entail, I reached out to Constance Finley, a cannabis expert and founder of Constance Therapeutics, a vertically integrated medicinal cannabis company producing standardized, science-based whole-plant cannabis extracts. "CBD topical products like lotions and balms, when made from nourishing plants and via non-toxic processes, can really help a woman calm down,” Finley says. “Calm down from inflammation, from stress, from aching muscles and sore joints, from sports injuries, from a demanding day in the office." In other words, from the daily weight of a woman’s modern-day life. Cool.
Now, back to Chillhouse and the launch party that opened my eyes to a whole new way to relax. As someone who has anxiety that tends to manifest in the form of physical tension, and used to treat herself to weekly deep tissue massages—keywords: used to, because there’s a big price difference between Virginia and New York City massages—to manage the stress of it all, the idea of being able to pair two of my favorite things—massages and CBD—together seemed like such a no-brainer, I was surprised I hadn't thought of it myself. I immediately set up an appointment to do what I like to think of as investigative reporting, but really it was just a chance to lay down, get rubbed, embrace a body high, and bliss out.
When I arrived back at Chillhouse on the day of my massage, I met with my therapist, Andrea, who just so happened to be wearing a shirt that I would happily have bought off her back as it said, “Don’t tell me to relax.” Good, right? I think so. Once I finally got done complimenting her shirt (which I soon realized every other Chillhouse worker was also wearing—talk about a perfect brand motto), she asked me where my main focus area was. Once I told her it was my right shoulder leading into my neck, I quickly made sure she knew to massage the rest of my body too, worried that I wasn’t going to get the rub-down I was so badly looking forward to. Andrea assured me that a full body massage—what they like to call The Works—would be in effect, however, when a CBD add-on is incorporated into the process, they like to focus it on one main area to pinpoint the effects of the balm. After the rundown on what I could expect, Andrea led to me to the chillest part of all of Chillhouse, what I am now referring to as the Chill parlor, but what is in actuality just the back half of the salon.
Once I got to my curtained-off massage room, Andrea told me to strip down and lay face up between the sheets—something I was surprised by, as most massages start face down in my experience. After I tucked myself in, Andrea pulled back the curtain and reappeared, ready to make magic happen. Immediately she began kneading, tugging, and pulling my shoulder and neck in the most gentle, yet effective, way, making me wonder how on earth I’m not able to stretch my neck the way she so softly was just able to. When she applied the CBD balm to the area, after heating it up in her hands, I could immediately feel a slight cooling sensation. I later learned that’s because the balm they use in their massages, Lab Blends Professional CBD Massage Balm, combines 660 mg of hemp-derived CBD with active and powerful pain fighters, menthol and lidocaine. So, not only was the CBD relaxing my never-ending knots, but the pain fighters were semi-numbing them as well.
At the close of the super-soothing full body massage sesh, Andrea explained to me the anti-inflammatory effects associated with CBD massages and, while she’s unsure how well they hold up, her patients all seem to think one thing: They’re totally and completely sold and in love.
As we wrapped up our conversation and I gathered my belongings, she told me to make sure to cover my neck when I headed outside. Unsure why, and not wanting to assume the wrong thing, I asked her if not covering my neck would reduce the loosey-goosey neck and shoulder feeling I was currently experiencing. Her response? “Well, it’s said that evil enters the body through your neck, so you just always want to have it covered up from rain, wind, and any uncomfortable weather; plus your neck is really warm right now from the massage and you don’t want it to lose that feeling.” Noted and true Andrea, noted and true.