The Willow Stream Spa offers space-age beauty treatments for the body and face. (Trunk Archive/Dan Saelinger)
The Treatments: Anti-gravity WaveMotion massage and NASA-approved K-Lift Tighten and Transform Facial at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui, Hawaii.
The Lowdown: Most spas in vacation destinations provide jazzed up versions of traditional treatments. In Hawaii, this tends to translate into modern adaptations of traditional lomilomi massage and facials featuring extracts of local fruits and flowers. And while the Willow Stream Spa has its fair share of Hawaii-inspired treatments, it was their futuristic facials and gravity-defying massages that caught my attention.
The Scoop: I’ve long fantasized about the sensation of weightlessness that’s usually the reserve of astronauts. I was hoping a session on the WaveMotion—a massage table designed to mimic the sensation of floating on water—would do the trick. Meanwhile, the K-Lift machine, promised to reduce wrinkles and tighten skin by using technology based on years of NASA research. Apparently scientists attempting to cultivate plants in space discovered that red LEDs worked wonders as extraterrestrial grow lamps. This prompted the Marshall Space Flight Center to sponsor additional research, leading to the discovery that the lights can stimulate circulation and speed up the skin’s healing process. Using this technology, skincare company Kerstin Florian developed the K-Lift machine, which uses 640-nanometer red LEDs in conjunction with microcurrents to promote cell growth. While neither technology is particularly unusual I had yet to hear of them combined in a single device.
The Results: The WaveMotion looks just like your bog-standard massage table, but can rotate 360 degrees and has a bit of a toggle to it. While I did have brief moments on my back where I felt buoyant, I never felt like I was truly floating. Still, when I stepped off the table I felt taller and less encumbered by gravity.
For my facial, the esthetician prepping my skin and applied a twin set of micro-current lights to my face, moving them every 30 seconds or so until the whole area had been treated. I didn’t feel a thing. When the entire facial was over, I immediately rushed to the mirror, where I was greeted with a fresher, but otherwise familiar reflection. It wasn’t until a few days later that I noticed that while the familiar lines were still there, they were noticeably fainter to my hypercritical eye. And while I’m not convinced that plastic surgeons will be trading in their scalpels for red lights anytime soon, there’s no doubt that these astronauts are onto something.