Are you cold-plunging yet?
If not, your FOMO is justified. If so, you either popped for one of those pricey home setups that emerged on the market in the wake of the Covid era's biggest wellness trend...or, you're a die-hard verging on insanity schlepping bags of ice from the gas station to fill that hundred-year-old bathtub that you barely fit in. We feel you.
But what if we told you the inevitable is here: Cold-plunging is emerging as more than just a locker room amenity; at a handful of spots in the Bay Area, it's the main event with wide-ranging benefits. During the recent heat wave when we yearned for that ultimate cooldown, we found ourselves happily trying not to hyperventilate at an extra-special new wellness space: Worthy Self-Care Studio.
In Berkeley, Worthy Self-Care Studio offers a bright spot to relax between treatments including cryo facials, lymphatic drainage, infrared sauna and, of course, cold plunge.(Courtesy of Worthy)
Here in Berkeley's Elmwood neighborhood, Bay Area native Meliza Mokrani has created a just-right hybrid of spa and boutique health provider. Without the fussiness of a spa but none of the sterility of a clinic, Worthy is an airy space, housed in a former mechanic's garage with high ceilings that let in filtered light, serving up both zen vibes and cutting edge functional healthcare technology in services including infrared sauna, LED light therapies, CryoSkin facials, NuCalm meditation, and lymphatic compression massage via a techie contraption called the BallancerPro (seriously, this feels so good). And, of course, cold-plunges, all guided by a certified cold coach to include grounding, a somatic body scan, breathwork, and intention setting.
Mokrani—a daughter of Algerian parents raised in the Wine Country, a single mom who also counts fitness and nutritional coach on her résumé—opened Worthy in answer to the challenges she saw during her own personal journey toward healing past traumas. While administering an absolutely heavenly cryo facial, Meliza told me how much she herself had benefited from these various transformative modalities—which are known to reduce inflammation, regulate the nervous system, balance hormones, and improve cognition—but that she'd remained frustrated by their lack of accessibility to most people.
"So often services like ours are cost-prohibitive and, often times, to the people that need them the most," says Mokrani, who also struggled to access the services she desperately needed.Worthy is her way of paying it forward, of making paths to real healing accessible for her friends, family, and community. Not only is she making this care approachable by offering it an environment that's comfortable and familiar, she's also making it affordable via the 501c3 Worthy Wellness Initiative as well as sliding scale membership programs.
(And trust me, as one who has treated a chronic illness with all of the above from the confines of a very expensive doctor's office, I can attest that what Mokrani is doing here is nothing short of angelic.)
Mokrani's empathic nature shows in her choice of business name. She's not jumping on the cold-plunging-is-hot bandwagon; she genuinely cares about this work and believes that everyone is "born worthy of feeling good in their body, worthy of love, of kindness, of goodness, and ease of being." This makes her the best person you could imagine to guide you through your first icy dip.
// Worthy Self-Care Studio (2633 Ashby Ave. Berkeley) offers guided cold-plunge sessions for $55 each and also has several packages available that allow you to use credits for multiple services. Learn more and make reservations at worthyselfcare.com.
Not an Oaklander? Worthy is, er, worthy of the trip. But just in case, here are a few more places you can plunge in around the Bay Area.
(Courtesy of Refuge Carmel)
You can make a whole day of the ancient tradition of water circuit therapy at this alfresco spa oasis. Start in the cedar sauna, eucalyptus-infused steam room, and one of the warm pools with thermal waterfalls before taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean–cool or Nordic-cold pools. Afterward, have a massage or simply kick back next to a fire pit with a view of Santa Lucia Preserve. // 27300 Rancho San Carlos (Carmel); reservations ($67/day) at refuge.com
Kabuki Springs & Spa
This San Francisco bath house needs no introduction. Open since 1968, the Japantown mainstay remains alluring for a couple hours of traipsing about between steam, sauna, hot, and cold pools. And unlike many spas that offer a cool plunge among the amenities, Kabuki does not require that you book a spa treatment to access its bathing facilities. Though, as always, reservations ($45/150 minutes) are required. // 1750 Geary Blvd. (Japantown), kabukisprings.com
Reboot Float & Cryo Spa
Cryotherapy aficionados may already know Reboot, which has three Bay Area locations including two in SF. Newer to the offering is Fire & Ice, a 45-minute session in a private room that combines an infrared sauna with a cold plunge tub ($70/single session or $150/three-pack). // Multiple locations, rebootfloatspa.com