I would consider myself to be an introverted extrovert. That means that I’m always up for socializing—I often crave human interaction for relief from my own brain—but I get exhausted with being "on" very quickly. That leads to me internalizing a lot, looking inward, and basically wanting to be left alone at functions, despite having just engaged in a thrilling debate about Beyonce’s future twins’ names. Basically, I’m stressed when I’m alone, and I’m stressed when I’m with people—aka I am a yarn ball of a person, just unraveling left and right! Fun!
Here's something people often say to me when I tell them what I'm like: “You should take a hit of this.” Also: “You should book a massage.” But what about both? That's what I decided to sort of do anyway by booking a weed-infused massage; I am nothing if not great at listening to the advice of others.
CAP Beauty is tucked away on a leafy street in Manhattan's West Village. The sunny space is modest in every way—petite in size, no exceedingly flashy signage—until you walk inside and see their beauty selection. Organic product hoarders beware: They’ve got everything your wildest beauty dreams are made of, shelves stocked with products you’ve probably never even heard of, like Rose Moon Sea Salt and White Sage Hydrosol. Adamant about selling products that are as plant-based as possible and that the CAP Beauty team actually believes in, they won’t even stock something if it’s not 100 percent natural and 100 percent remarkable. After nearly blacking out and forcing myself to put back something called an Eyebrow Elixir (RIP to my mammoth-inspired brows that could have been), I remembered the actual purpose of my visit and checked in with the radiant angel who was stocking beauty products.
On their website (which I found after getting lost in the depths of organic beauty Instagram), CAP describes their High Times Massage as a “restorative massage with Apothecanna’s fully potent range of CBD-infused oils for a higher dose of release.” Their masseuse-in-residence who's also behind the High Times massage, Kumara Sawyers (who exudes so much chill and also goes by Kumi, which is the best name ever), practices restorative massage, which rebalances your body and kick-starts healing. I, personally, was sold as soon as I read “a higher dose of release” (I wasn't sure what that meant, but it sounded A+) and booked my appointment as quickly as my thumbs would go. I was ready to get a little stoned and a lot relaxed for the sake of *~*investigative journalism*~*.
At CAP Beauty, the mantra is “Beauty is wellness. Wellness is beauty.” From acupuncture to facials and eyebrow shaping, CAP turns very ordinary beauty treatments into seriously luxurious self-care dates—that also happen to be organic as hell. With names like “The Japanese Root Treatment” and “The Alchemic Facial,” you can’t help but be curious what kind of fun witchcraft they have going on inside. For this particular massage adventure, Sawyers—an ex-model turned yogi, expert masseuse, and curator—uses oils infused with CBD (a derivative of cannabis) paired with deep tissue work to help you chill out and free up bound muscle. From Sawyers, I learned that CBD is a natural resource with strong medicinal powers ranging from fighting inflammation to reducing anxiety, therefore making weed and healing massage a beautiful pairing.
“Apothecanna approached me about their line of CBD oils that are mixed with other herbs like lavender, chamomile, and juniper. I knew right away I wanted to work with it,” she told me. “Now I consult for them, and we find it so important to change the language around cannabis. People are so quick to associate it with getting stoned, but it’s actually a very powerful medicinal plant. With this massage, there’s no THC in the oils, so you won’t get high but...”
Wait, so this won’t actually get me high? I felt bamboozled.
“... you will feel much more fluid and will experience deep relaxation. I work with the nervous system to bring down the fight or flight stress response,” finished Sawyers. Okay, that's actually great. This treatment sounded like it was crafted specifically for me.
Sawyers escorted me to a dark cavernous room illuminated with a few candles. Despite this being the most relaxed atmosphere potentially to ever exist outside of the boat in the middle of the ocean that Rihanna lounges on, I’ll be honest, I was nervous. I haven’t had a massage in years and was ready for her tell me, “Yes, indeed your body is super messed-up and you hold stress in literally every single muscle.”
But as soon as I stripped down and we got started, I felt a sense of calm. The kind of calm you feel when falling asleep on a lover’s shoulder as you jet off on a romantic weekend getaway to Mexico. (Disclaimer: Although I have never experienced that, I feel confident making the reference.) The oils didn’t even smell vaguely like marijuana, but rather like delicious eucalyptus and lavender. It was the right amount of hurt and ease, flux and flow, and although it took me a minute to fully relax my limbs and become a full-out Jell-O human, once I did, I was committed. I was even prepared to stay a Jell-O human for the rest of my days. Sawyers massaged the tension out of places I didn’t even know were tender—like my neck and feet—complete with a brief but life-changing scalp massage. Suddenly 90 minutes seemed very, very short.
“Make sure to drink a lot of water, that’s really important after a massage,” Sawyers told me as the massage ended. “We store toxins in our muscles, so when we increase circulation the toxins are released into the bloodstream and we need to drink up and get rid of them by peeing!”
As a self-proclaimed #H2Hoe, I was definitely up for the challenge of getting rid of those toxins; I was also ready to collapse onto my bed for the best nap of my young life. I felt pure and at peace and honestly even a little high—but more so on the whole experience. As I got ready to leave, I asked her where she thought I had the most tension. She smiled her lovely, serene smile and said, “I can feel that you're very tense, you just need to open up.”