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Meet Anna Zahn, founder of Ricari Studios, derived from the Italian word for “recharge,” is a health spa with a restorative approach to skin and body care with a focus on cellular stimulation treatments, which combine traditional techniques with innovative technology.

Name: Anna Zahn

Location: Los Angeles

Who are you and what do you stand for?

I think that is a question we consider and converse with our entire lives. Who I am changes daily, and I hope the person I am today is different than the person I am in 10 years. I hope to challenge myself with a perpetual process of reflection and (hopefully) growth.

Though I don’t think I have a definitive statement on what I stand for, I find the center of my interest lies an insatiable love for and connection to human experience and expression. It’s like an endless garden that I can perpetually explore and cultivate. My attraction to human experience fertilizes all of my projects and pursuits.

I think every story begins with you as somebody else – a dream, an ideal, a vision of the future, and if you’re lucky you end up with yourself. I’ve always envisioned myself working closely with human experience, whether it was in performance, writing, creative concepts or one on one in a room. I can proudly say that I have somehow ended up with myself, living my dream in a way. I hope to continue to do so on larger scales with more precision, and if I’m lucky, encourage that in others.

On those days when you’re not feeling 100 percent, what do you do to give yourself a confidence boost?

For me, I embrace that every day is not going to be 100 percent. I feel that our culture often presses us to always fight to achieve a level of perfection that ultimately leads to disappointment, or an inability to integrate feelings of discomfort. As much as I am absolutely driven by ambition and a desire to create and enact ideas in the world, I also feel it’s important to allow room for failure, unforeseen change, challenge, and imperfection. So on the days I’m not feeling 100 percent, I practice kindness with myself and accept the discomfort.

What activities would you say are part of your self-care routine? And how do you make time for self-care?

Honestly, my routine is no routine. That’s probably poor form for someone in my position, but it’s the truth. As much as I love immersing myself in products, treatments, beauty and self care, in reality I respond to the kind of day I’m having or I want to have. So I suppose listening is my routine, and activities (and time for them) changes day to day. I’m probably not going to do a 12-step skincare routine if a date ends up turning into something more (or in a more current landscape – I feel like sinking into the couch and binge watching Netflix), and I embrace that undulation. I’m much more connected to with living my life with presence and balance over rigidity with routines.

Are there any techniques or products you recommend, specifically for your body?

I’m a big believer in taking baths, self massage with oils or creams, regular body scrubs with a mitt or exfoliation product, and even if my day is rushed I usually apply some sort of moisture to my skin after the shower. I love movement like gyrotonic, pilates, rebounding, and elegant, expansive exercise.

What are some of your favorite body treatments?

Hands down Ricari treatments. Aside from that I love Acupuncture with Dr. Ryan Monahan, Bodywork by Zumi Vance, Brazillian style sculpting massage and Korean body scrubs (all of which I have been deeply missing during quarantine).

What is the Lymphatic System and why is it important to care for it? 

In one sentence, the lymphatic system is a set of interconnected nodes, ducts and vessels, much like pearls on a knotted string. Another (less chic) way to think of it is like a highway, and the nodes are toll booths. Whichever metaphor you fancy, this system, which lies just under the skin, is responsible for eliminating cellular waste, storing and distributing fat and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system, transporting white blood cells to assist in immune functioning, and removing interstitial fluid from tissues to minimize swelling.

Most of us stimulate our lymphatic system in our everyday movements, but the various stresses of modern life combined with a lack of physical activity means that most of us require extra stimulation in the form of focused exercise, massage, and hydration. Further, the lymphatic system differs from the circulatory system in that it doesn’t have a pump (like your heart), so giving it some extra love can make a huge impact on your overall well being.

The type of service we provide is really about cellular stimulation: getting down to the nitty-gritty of your body’s day-to-day functioning, which means circulatory support, lymphatic drainage, nervous system support, fascia release, tissue regeneration, muscle recovery, collagen production… you get the idea. We want to help you become more aware of your body and provide a systematic approach to wellbeing that goes way beyond any buzzword or physical markers of health, like being “fat” or “skinny.”

Are you able to share any lifestyle tips that people can adapt to ensuring that their lymph system is working at its optimal rate (diet, tools, lifestyle, etc.)?

I like to keep it easy as we are constantly inundated with more tips than we can keep track of let alone integrate; hydrate, rest, stimulate. Try to drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces each day, add in stimulation when you can, and be sure to give your body and nervous system proper time to rejuvenate through rest and relaxation. I like to dry brush before I get in the shower, and if I forget I spend some time massaging my face and body when I apply oils or creams. I also love to take naps and always need a good night’s sleep. I’m also a big believer in regular baths, massages, and walking.

I believe you should truly enjoy what you’re doing to be “well.” If any part of your wellness routine doesn’t give you some degree of pleasure or joy, axe it. Marie Kondo your routines. Value pleasure and joy as much as hard work. Also, don’t overcomplicate things or fall for every trend. Discover what works for you, whatever that means. Allow yourself space and flexibility to live well. Oh, and drink more water!

Can you explain your Cellular Stimulation treatment?

Though the Lymphatic System has become more popular as a reference in wellness, I recognize that though it is a central figure, it is not the only player in regards to our systematic health, so I created Cellular Stimulation treatments, which felt more encompassing and representative of what our methods are.

I typically refer to all our employed technology as “benevolent,” meaning its naturally stimulating, sensuous, and often derived from athletic or medical application. Our aim is to re energize and revitalize tissue and skin cells to tone, refine, relax and cleanse your body and face through gentle yet efficient skin stimulation. We combine and customize varying mechanical manipulation of the skin, muscle, and tissue for maximum wellness benefit, aesthetic impact, and overall relaxation.

Our treatments are centered around the Italian made ICOONE device. Rollers deliver inward, outward, forward and backward rotations providing fractionated skin stimulation customized to our clients needs. It gently yet intensively conditions skin tissue to reduce cellular deposits, enhance blood and lymphatic flow and reactivate lipolysis. It also stimulates collagen and elastin production to rapidly smooth and firm the skin.

In general I am constantly looking out for any refinements or new innovations in wellbeing technology, and am sure with more time and innovation will come more devices at our studios.

If you could get the world to change its collective mind about one issue, or adopt one way of being, what would it be and why?

People often think of wellness and other items on the self-care menu as indulgences at best and frivolous expenditures at worst. I like to highlight two points. First, I feel this thinking is flawed and ultimately creates challenges in the long term as we continue to burn out left and right. With an increasingly stress-induced landscape, self-care is truly essential as we ride the tumultuous waves of grief and uncertainty. Second, doing right by your body can feel pleasurable and in fact should feel pleasurable.

Western society, especially American society, has a hard time embracing the concept of pleasure. Pleasure is often confused with ego-centrism or selfishness, when it’s really a necessity in my opinion. What are we doing here if not enjoying ourselves? We should be seeking out pleasure in our day-to-day. On the other hand, there’s also this self-flagellatory tendency when it comes to wellness, where people sacrifice their bodies and their sanity on the altar of “health.” It’s a silver-bullet mentality, and it can all be so extreme. I hope we can all utilize more space, even if kicking and screaming in our active landscape, to rediscover our desires, daydreams, and true expression of wellbeing (even if that means eating that entire pint of ice cream).

Fill in the blank: Rest is underrated.