The truth about CBD spa services

CBD has infiltrated just about every aspect of the wellness industry: food, drinks, and skincare, to name a few. And it’s increasingly seeping into spas, too.

While the ingredient is offered in services such as manicures, it’s best used directly on the skin during facials and bodywork because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, says Sarah Garland, senior manager of planning for EQX Body Lab in New York City.

Take your typical massage. Adding CBD to the mix is particularly alluring to the fit set since it works with the body to further ease pain and inflammation, thereby speeding up recovery. Here’s how: Your brain’s endocannabinoid receptors recognize the compound when it enters through the skin. This stimulates your endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in immune function, digestion, mood, and sleep, explains Sean Peters, New York City-based lead educator for EQX Body Lab.

While there’s still research to be done on the compound, one of the reasons it's favored in a spa setting is that it doesn’t appear to have any adverse effects, he adds.

Here, three scenarios in which athletes should opt for a CBD-spiked service.

If you can point to your pain:

Using CBD and manual massage on tight spots—the shoulders, low back, or neck, for example—can make your session more restorative by further easing inflammation. Topically, the compound takes about 60 minutes to settle in and works for about five hours post-application, says Peters. “It can transform a massage from simple bodywork to a specific performance-based treatment,” adds Garland.

If you have a skin condition:

Most major issues including eczema and rosacea stem from inflammation, says Garland. CBD facials can soothe it, thereby reducing redness.

If you’re stressed:

While a targeted approach can be effective, CBD can also alleviate chronic mental stress, Peters notes. Sleep deprivation and anxiety often signal a lack of life balance. By activating the endocannabinoid system, it shifts the body to a rest-and-digest state.

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