Sure, you could leave yet another pair of Lulu leggings or a year’s supply of face masks under the tree. But this year, why not treat the wellness-obsessed in your life to a one-of-a-kind workout, spa treatment, or healing ritual instead? Here, some of the most unique finds in our city’s health and fitness world.
A boozy bath
Chicago’s craft-beer boom is now flowing out of the tap and into the tub. Wicker Park’s brand-new PIVA Beer Spa (1052 N. Milwaukee Ave.) offers soaks in the stuff, along with massages and salt-room sessions, with a promise of healthier, softer skin and a calmer mind. Buy a gift card online (services start at $155 on weekdays) and get a bonus chuckle from the suggested gift messages: “Love you, brewtiful” or “You make my heart hoppy.” Giftee gluten-free? Opt for AIRE Ancient Bath’s Wine Bath Experience (from $400, at 800 W. Superior St.), where submersion in antioxidant-rich Spanish Ribera del Duero red grapes is followed by an hourlong massage with grapeseed oil described as “intoxicating.”
Colorado-born VIVE Float Studio, which just opened a new spot in Old Town (1513 N. Wells St.), offers an ultimate mashup of trendy healing techniques under one roof. The most innovative may be VibroAcoustic Therapy, a gentle massage of sound and vibrations that aims to re-tune the body’s function on a cellular level. But your lucky recipient can also drift in a sensory-deprivation float room, freeze away pain and inflammation with whole-body cryotherapy, warm up from the inside out in an infrared sauna, or clear skin and nasal passages in a sealed salt chamber, also known as Halotherapy. And with a Holiday BOGO deal, you can join them — $95 gets you the choice of two services, a $190 value.
A virtual-reality bike ride
Spin class meets IMAX — with a touch of Lollapalooza — at CYCMODE, a virtual-reality cycling studio in the South Loop (1333 S. Wabash Ave.). Not only do the bikes shift, the 40-foot curved video screen digitally transports riders — to the streets of a futuristic city, exotic islands and jungles, or, during the 45-minute music video ride, to the set of with the likes of Beyonce. The climbs and sprints make it a hard enough workout for your super-fit friend, while the entertainment element may win over even a spin skeptic. Use holiday promo code CM45 and $45 will get you three classes for the price of two (bigger budget? CM75 gets you a five-pack for $75, CM110 a 10-pack for $110, and CM200, 20 classes for $200).
A spiritual check-up
If someone on your list needs a change in energy heading into the New Year, send them to Wicker Park’s “spiritual spa,” The Ruby Room (1743–45 W. Division St.). A gift card for $110 to $175 will cover a three-part treatment called the Intuitive Blend. Trained alchemists, as the store’s staff are called, will help them see the color, size, and shape of their aura using a biofeedback sensor — then use energy healing and a technique called intuitive exploration to rebalance energy and boost clarity and perspective.
These days, you can do yoga everywhere — at a brewery, in a butterfly sanctuary, side-by-side with goats. But few studios or settings measure up — literally — to 360 Sky Yoga. For an hour each Saturday morning, your favorite yogi can cat, cow, and downward dog 1,000 feet in the air, on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. Each class includes admission to the observation deck — the perfect site for a wheel-pose selfie — and you can gift a four-pack for $72.
Turkish style relaxation
Send them to the Middle East — at least for the afternoon — with the Hammam experience at the Spa at JW Chicago (151 W. Adams St.). There, they’ll find respite from the chill on a heated marble table next to a flickering fireplace, while attendants first apply a cleansing exfoliator, then hydrating argan oil-infused body and hair products. $175 covers a 50-minute treatment; call 312-660-8250 to buy gift cards.