My first treatment with Ildi Pekar, NYC's supermodel skin whisperer, was a 75-minute magnetic cupping facial. It works to move and drain toxins (as well as stagnant energy) that accumulate below the skin. Afterward, I was left with practically nonexistent under-eye circles and plump skin in place of my usual droopy, exhausted-looking eyes. So naturally, when Pekar reached about her newest treatment, I jumped at the chance to try it.
Over email, I was told the treatment would leave me feeling energized and totally detoxed. Because both of those things aren't exactly tangible, I wasn't sure what to expect. When I arrived, Pekar asked me to undress and get inside a huge plastic bag. Anywhere else this would have felt like a red flag and I would have run out faster than she could utter "plastic bag." But the results from the last treatment speak for themselves, and I trust Pekar implicitly. So I stood quietly while she applied an electrolyte gel (it contains vitamins and minerals) all over my body and helped me step into the plastic casing.
Once I was naked, covered in gel, and dressed in plastic, I had to scoot and shimmy up on to the treatment table while Pekar attached a machine to the bag. "It's a machine that generates water-based negative ions," she told me, "it helps address so many concerns. This is the treatment of the future."
"I'm excited," I told her, still not exactly sure what was about to happen. "Feeling and seeing symptoms on your skin and body are signs of communication from within," Pekar told me. "You have to take the time to learn what your body is telling you. It's an inside job. After tons of research, I've noticed a few trends with most of my clients: inflammation, acidic environments, and nutritional deficiencies. I decided to launch a treatment to address the root causes of those symptoms, which will help improve the skin and body concerns of everyone I treat."
I learned this was Pekar's alkaline therapy—a $350 treatment that features the healing benefits of "negative ion infusion." The plastic bag is used to create an environment for your body to receive full, uninterrupted exposure to the water-generated negative ions. Pekar placed a clear helmut over my head to create a separate environment for my face. All of this results in neutralization of acid. "When we neutralize acid in the body," Pekar explains, "it becomes more alkaline—creating a healthier and improved quality of life."
Once I was connected to the machine, she turned it on and let me rest. The entire experience just felt like cool air was being blown across my body for 25 minutes. What was actually happening, though, was pretty incredible. Pekar explained how excess exposure to positive ions can lead to lack of energy, fatigue, anxiety, increased stress and weight gain, and can even be a factor in asthma and depression. Plus, it can accelerate the production of wrinkles and cellulite in your body. We experience high levels of positive ions just through our electronic devices (including cell phones, TVs, and wifi signals), as well as hair dryers, air conditioning units, and fluorescent lighting. This is why Pekar has dedicated so much time to creating a treatment that exposes your body to negative ions.
"Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy,” says Pierce J. Howard, Ph.D. Negative ions can neutralize positive ions (they bond together) and help cleanse the air and your body.
While I trust Pekar, I still wondered how blowing this air on my body from inside a plastic bag was really going to do anything. The benefits apparently span from neutralizing acid in your body, balancing your pH, and oxygenating your skin and body to increased energy levels, decreasing stress and tension, boosting your immune system, reinforcing collagen production, and reducing the appearance of cellulite.
After a quick nap, Pekar unplugged the machine and let me get dressed. I did feel energized. I did feel lighter. But how long would it last? I wondered. I went home and weighed myself to see if "feeling lighter" actually translated to tangibly being lighter. To my own dismay, I had lost two pounds in those 25 minutes. Though, weight-loss wasn't the goal at all—for me, it's more about feeling better, healthier, and happier. I went to sleep that night and had a deeper sleep than I had had in months.
I woke up still feeling light and without achy pain or tension that plagues my body (courtesy of sitting at a desk all day and looking at an iPhone screen all night). I can honestly say this treatment made a huge difference in the way my body, skin, and mind felt for days afterward.
Ed Note: Check with your doctor or health care professional before trying any intensive detox treatments.