The “Brain Spa” at OWM Integrative Wellness

From meditation to coffee, we are always looking for ways to lower our stress and stay more alert during the day, right? Well, have you heard of adaptogens and nootropics? They can help, too. I recently went to OWM Integrative Wellness at 891 Delaware Avenue and tried their Brain Spa, which has adaptogenic and nootropic components, and afterward I felt calm and focused.

Dr. Leonard Kaplan, DO, his wife Beth Kaplan, Dr. Kim Howes, ND, and their amazing team have put a lot into this integrative wellness practice. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the doors of OWM was how beautiful the space is. The historic Orin Foster House has a bright entryway filled with beautiful stonework and bright green plants, providing a spa-like atmosphere. OWM offers a great selection of services, including naturopathic medicine, alternative cancer therapies, yoga, intravenous infusion therapy, platelet rich plasma therapy, and many others, so the ambience is a key element of the practice. 

The Brain Spa, as its name explains, is a treatment focused on brain health using adaptogenic and nootropic elements. Let’s start with some basic information about these substances. Adaptogens are natural substances like herbs and mushrooms that are believed to help your body cope with stress, fatigue, and overall imbalances. They work by regulating your body’s stress response and promoting a state of balance. Nootropics, on the other hand, are substances, natural or synthetic, that aim to enhance cognitive function. This can include improving memory, focus, creativity, and overall brain performance. The Brain Spa uses both of these for a calming, regenerative experience – a so-called “brain rewiring therapy” that feels really good. It can be seen as a wellness tool, much like a massage, enjoyed regularly to enhance cognitive function and stress management. 

I was taken to a treatment room and seated on a comfortable adjustable reclining armchair, where I awaited the treatment. The nurse brought me a warm cup of ceremonial cacao to start, which consists of high-quality cacao and lion’s mushrooms (both nootropic), ashwagandha, reishi, cordyceps mushrooms (all adaptogenic), MCT coconut oil (energy source for the brain), and organic maple syrup. Wow, just wow. The flavor was amazing. This drink was thick, creamy, earthy, chocolatey and sweet. I have never tasted something quite like it, but it was absolutely delicious. 

While enjoying my ceremonial cacao, the nurse helped me put on leg compression sleeves that stimulate circulation and recovery. They compress your legs in set increments of time and then release (which turned out to be great because the previous day was leg-day at my gym). She then set up my IV for the infusions. The first one was Cerebrolysin, which improves the brain’s ability for self-repair by stimulating neuro-recovery. The second was a mix of vitamins C, B and B 12, magnesium, zinc, taurine and proline. And the third was glutathione, which aids in tissue building and repair as well as immune system function. All in all, these infusions are like cocktail hour for your brain – with major health benefits.

As they began dripping into my vein, I was handed a virtual reality headset. Now, I had never used one before and was a bit weary because I tend to get motion sickness during any sort of screen that moves, but it was nothing like I imagined. Using these goggles, I chose a regulated breathing program, and was transported to a natural scene with ancient monoliths and rocks, with elements that moved with each inhale and exhale. I felt like I was in some remote area of Ireland. I loved this as much as the cacao. With soft meditative music, this breathwork exercise led me to a state of absolute calm. When that ended, I started a visual meditation with all sorts of colorful kaleidoscope like images, and was absorbed in the slow movements of the shapes, completely forgetting I was in a treatment room at all.

As I came back to reality after this hour-long immersive experience, I reflected on how clear-headed and calm I felt. I had arrived late to my appointment due to annoying rush hour traffic, practically running from my parking spot. But… the stress of the morning was all completely behind me at the end of the Brain Spa. And while the nurse detached my IV, she told me about the Ketamine IV treatment (a synthetic nootropic) that OWM offers to patients with severe depression or PTSD, and how they come out of their shell little-by-little, showing more of their personality with each infusion. Ketamine shuts down their fight-or-flight response and allows the brain to repair itself. How amazing is that? 

My drive home from the city that day and for days after was something truly remarkable: I wasn’t screaming at other drivers (yes, sadly, I do experience the occasional road rage). I was abnormally calm and collected. At home, I got right to work on everything I had to do, with less intrusive thoughts. My focus was sharper and I dealt with distractions better. That night, I slept deeply and soundly. These effects are still present today, and it is one week post Brian Spa. 

You can order adaptogens and nootropics online of course, but Dr. Kaplan’s ceremonial cacao tastes about 1 million times better. And during a brain spa, a professional has the correct dosages and is aware of your personal needs when you enter the practice. I wholeheartedly recommend a Brain Spa for anyone curious about the world of adaptogens and nootropics.

And, as mentioned, OWM Integrative Wellness is much, much more than just the Brain Spa. Check out their website for everything they offer:

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