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 In HearSway

After this O2 Chair, You Won’t Want to Go Back to Regular Air

After experiencing the custom aromatherapy and oxygen chairs of The Spa at Pinehurst, you’ll wonder how to go about your day breathing regular air. Follow along with this Sway reader, who is still recovering from the experience.

Ok, so let’s first address the obvious:

The Spa at Pinehurst is nice — so nice that your mood changes as soon as you step inside. I expected to feel intimidated, but it was the opposite: the welcoming staff immediately made me feel at home, and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy their work.

I received slippers specifically made for my shoe size, and a robe that was literally the most plush thing I’ve ever put on my body. Even the lockers were ridiculously well-crafted, and I was able to assign my own lock code with zero help. Score!

I’m shy, so I was super grateful to find a private changing room. And I was even more grateful when my massage therapist, Korinda, tracked me down in the women’s locker room. I didn’t even have to wonder around looking like an idiot, which is my usual mode of travel.

Now, on to the Aromatherapy Design:

Korinda led me to the aromatherapy design table, where we would be working together to formulate my scent therapy. The spa uses the Body Bliss system to create recipes based on a series of questions, which you’ll answer on a Resort iPad. You can choose essential oils based on your mood, how you want to feel, or your birthdate.

I went with the middle option, formally named “positive outcomes,” and ended up with a creation called “Slowing Things Down.” It was heavy with an essential oil called Vetiver, a thing I’ve never met but somehow still knows me:

I felt a little attacked, tbh.

Combined with the scents of cedar and lavender, my shea butter ended up smelling very clean and, well, spa-like. I was impressed with my choices, but then Korinda told me this system doesn’t make a bad combination.

“The essential oils are really good quality and all mix well together — I haven’t come across a scent that a client didn’t like,” she said, giving the algorithm all the credit.

With shea butter in hand, Korinda led me back to a massage room, where I melted onto a heated table and nestled my head into the support. She tells me that she loves helping people feel relaxed, which explains why she’s been doing Swedish-style massage at the Spa for almost 9 years.

The smell of the shea butter I created fills the room, reminding me of what a good job I did picking out my essential oils. Algorithm be damned; I clearly knew what I was doing. The massage was over much too soon, as all massages are, and I was escorted to my next activity down the hall.

Finally, the Oxygen Chair:

Korinda tells me she loves this new spa feature, which feels like “being cradled like a baby.” Branded the O2 chair, this zero-gravity recliner is equipped with an air filtration tank and sports a nozzle that sits directly under your nose to facilitate fresh-air flow. Once Korinda gets me settled with headphones and a sleep-style eye mask, she hits start and lets the chair do its work.

At this point, I was already too relaxed to realize my finger was on the lens.

When I say the chair gets to work, I mean that this is a multi-faceted experience. Immediately, a robotic female voice tells you to relax. Then, you hear the sound of waves crashing in the distance. The disembodied voice tells you to breathe in and breathe out, and the chair undulates to match: the back moves up when she tells you to breathe in, pushing out your diaphragm. When she tells you to breathe out, the back of the chair recedes. All the while, air is whooshing toward your nose.

I’m not going to lie, it’s all a bit overwhelming at first. But eventually, the voice fades into the distance. The chair continues to move with the sound of the waves. I won’t say it feels like you’re being cradled like a baby — I’d say it feels more like floating in an inflatable raft on gentle seas. Without the threat of sharks.

For the remainder of my 20 minutes in the chair, I drifted in and out of a nap. And when I was greeted by Dustin Donahue, spa operations manager, I was so relaxed that could barely form a coherent sentence. It was awesome.

“When the chair expands, it allows you to get more oxygen into your diaphragm and your bloodstream,” Dustin says, explaining why science is great. “Some people use the O2 chair before their treatment, because it takes a good 6-7 minutes to relax on the massage table — after the chair, you’re already in that relaxed state so you can enjoy your treatment even more.”

Then, I Got a Souvenir to Take Home:

Dustin led me back to the Body Bliss station. There, we followed the recipe guide for an aromatherapy roll-on stick that I could take home with me, along with the remainder of the shea butter used for my massage.

This time, I allowed the system to create a scent based on my birthday. And even though there are hundreds of possible combinations, I ended up with a blend of essential oils that smelled terrific. Another win for me.

Paired with tiny crystals of Goldstone (to attract opportunity) and Adventurine (to support happiness and prosperity), I now have a little vial that should be very helpful on my work desk. I will report back and let you know if it works.

This post was produced in partnership with The Spa at Pinehurst. Want more information and rates on these services? Follow these links for the O2 chair and the aromatherapy design massage.

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