treatment room at ricari studios in new york city

I counted down the minutes until my Ricari Studios face-and-body sculpting appointment — a luxury treatment so exclusive it’s currently only offered at five places in the world: NYC, LA, London, Grand Cayman, and St. Moritz. The lymphatic treatment helps to detox, debloat, and energize the entire body and nervous system — making it ideal for jet-setters. What I ended up feeling was an ideal balance of tranquility and stimulation. 

I walked into the Ricari Method treatment room in downtown NYC to a stunning, moody skyline. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcased Lady Liberty, the Hudson River, and concrete towers — all reflected by grand mirrors on the opposite walls. In the middle sat the treatment bed flanked by high-tech, body-contouring machines, Chanel Beauty skincare products, and essential oils to be used during the lymphatic treatment. I knew I was in for something otherworldly.

My technician held up the Instagram-famous bodysuit: a skintight, white onesie that was more flattering than I expected. It is meant to act as a second skin, allowing the machine to glide over the body with ease and provide a hygienic layer. You are gifted the bodysuit after your first treatment and can bring it back for future sessions. I was suited up and ready to experience a VIP body treatment absolutely worth traveling for.

a mirrored wall facing a window with a view of new york city at ricari studios
Image by Lauren Levinson

What Is the Ricari Method?

“This is a conditioning treatment for the skin and tissue using a combination of different tools and technology,” Ricari founder Anna Zahn explains. The goal: condition your tissues and stimulate the lymphatic system in the body. (Refresher: the lymphatic system is a part of our immune system, which manages fluid retention in the body, according to Cleveland Clinic.) There are many forms of lymphatic body treatments, such as deep tissue massages or a light stimulating massage, meant to help flush toxins and fluids, get blood flowing, and promote a relaxing state. The Ricari method is considered a lymphatic body treatment using the modern Italian-made Icoone machine to manually do the deed. Zahn describes the lymphatic effects as bathing the cells in oxygen and activating the “inner mobility.”

In addition to the aesthetic benefits, clients can expect less joint pain, better digestion, and deeper sleep, Zahn shares. It’s also a fantastic complement to travel. “Our clients love to come post travel because that’s when you feel more stagnant or slugging and have fluid retention, like heavy legs and bloating, slow digestion, and not great sleep,” Zahn says, noting travel is when we experience more stress disruptions to our circadian rhythms. “Anything that helps move circulation through the body will help you feel a lot better, either when you’re arriving somewhere or returning from travel. It’s a great way to reset the body to get you out of a state of being swollen, tired, and stressed — and ready to sit on the beach in a bikini.” 

close up of someone adjusting their white body suit at ricari studios in new york city
Courtesy, Ricari Studios

Ricari is an Italian word that means “recharge” or “bring energy back to something” and it fits in line with the brand’s mission. Zahn’s background is in the arts and entertainment industry which seems to influence the method’s choreography-based treatments. It flows. What started as a side project for her has “blown up,” in her words with models, A-listers, and the elite on the roster as regulars. Make no mistake: she had all the intentions to disrupt the spa industry, which she described as antiquated.

“You would go in and hear bad whale sounds and wear paper panties,” she notes. “It was the caricature of a spa. Or you were going into more clinical settings.” The Ricari’s NYC studio, at WSA in the Financial District, walks the walk. It’s a chic wellness destination complete with a juice bar and breathtaking water views. 

Ricari Studios also has an official partnership with Chanel Beauty, offering the French brand’s skincare products during the facial part of the treatment. Zahn was introduced to the Chanel Beauty team through a mutual connection, and they synced. “[We] share same values in terms of beauty as an extension of self-care,” Zahn says. “I’ve learned so much about the origins of the Chanel Beauty narrative that I didn’t even realize were so similar to my own.” She adds that during the Ricari method, your skin becomes a “sponge” for skincare products thanks to the blood flow and circulation coming to the cells. “You’re allowing the skin to maximize the absorption of products,” she explains.

Experiencing the Ricari Method

close up of the treatment machine at ricari studios in new york city
Courtesy, Ricari Studios

It doesn’t hurt. As the machine glides over pretty much every inch of your body (which as a reminder, is outfitted in the white suit) it slowly stimulates the lymphatic system, breaking up any static tissues, and moving fluids out of the body. As a result, you may need to use the restroom a bit more post-treatment as your body continues to detox. The machine wand features a roller with microstimulators, meant to protect the skin and avoid bruising (this isn’t cupping). 

It reminded me of sitting in a massage chair at a nail salon — that gentle kneading and rolling feeling against the skin. At some point, the setting was changed to vibrate, and I was told this targets fat and dimpling. It felt a bit pinchy but was not at all painful.

I came in after a session with my personal trainer, and my legs were tight from squats and lunges. Immediately after my leg was done it felt noticeably more relaxed, as if the tension melted away. The Ricari treatment has been compared to acupuncture or reiki in that it releases energy. I feel gooey and as if my nervous system was finally out of “fight or flight.” I was practically floating off the table.

The grand finale included pressotherapy, another lymphatic drainage treatment. Two big heavy sack-like pants were secured around each of my legs. The name is fitting as when the technology is activated, it feels as if the sacks are gently pressing against the legs to encourage more blood circulation and flow. “It’s kind of like having 24 hands massaging you while the specialist works on your face and decolleté,” Zahn describes.

A mini treatment was done on my face including a smaller lymphatic machine working my jawline and face. Chanel Beauty creams from the Sublimage line are incorporated into the treatment to hydrate and offer anti-aging benefits thanks to the French brand’s patent vanilla extract. As a longtime user of the Sublimage line, I can attest that it feels like silk on the skin, offers deep hydration, and has the most sumptuous vanilla bean scent. Aromatherapy is also used to help further a state of zen.

The Ricari Method After-Care

side by side photos of someone pulling on a white body suit and a close up with it on at ricari studios in new york city
Courtesy, Ricari Studios

Immediately after the treatment, I felt sexy with a more contoured physique in the fitted white suit. Back in my jeans, my belt closed easily and my body moved with more ease. The next morning and days after, I felt tighter, more cinched, and less bloated. For the first time in two years (and two babies later), I could see and feel my abdominal muscles. My jawline was immediately more defined and ready for post-treatment selfies. 

To enhance the Ricari method results and make them last longer, it is recommended to do daily dry brushing, wear medical-grade compression wear, go in the sauna, try gentle movement (walking, yoga), take Epsom salt baths, drink plenty of water and eat healthy. As with most body-contouring treatments, the more you do it, the better it works. After five sessions close together, you can expect semi-permanent results with ongoing monthly upkeep. If you’re looking for aesthetic results before a big calendar date such as a wedding or trip, try doing the treatment three times consecutively in a week.

Booking the Ricari Method

There are Ricari studios in five travel hotspots, including the WSA in NYC, the L’Ermitage Beverly Hills in LA, a private London studio in Knightsbridge, Palm Heights in Grand Cayman, and Hotel Steffani in St. Moritz (during the winter months). Prices start at $150 and go up to $425, depending on how long and how much of the face and/or body is worked on. 

While Zahn doesn’t plan to open any additional studios at the moment, her entrepreneurial spirit is thriving. She’s a big fan of compression wear, especially when it comes to travel, and teased there could be something coming from her brand in this space. “I wear compression wear all the time,” she shares, “And I would never fly without wearing it. It’s like night and day.” She credits these garments for helping with blood flow on airplanes.

While I don’t have many long flights in my future thanks to motherhood duties, I definitely enjoyed this treatment for its relaxing and sculpting benefits. And when I went to my high school reunion a week later, I felt just as amazing and svelte as I did in my white alien suit.

Featured image by Lauren Levinson

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