The following feature appears in the October 2016 issue of NYLON.
It’s a sunny late-summer morning on Route 22 in Oregon, and as I drive past Detroit Lake, through the towering pines and firs, up to a quaint cottage in the sleepy town of Sisters, I’m struck by a sudden realization: Wait, I forgot my swimsuit. Am I going to get a yeast infection? I figure it’s not an unreasonable concern, considering soon I’ll be plunging my body into a hoppy concoction. Because here, just less than three hours outside of Portland (of course), is America’s first beer spa.
Founded by Sally Champa and Mike Boyle, the aptly titled Hop in the Spa is inspired by the beer spas popular in Eastern Europe, which Boyle came to learn of in his travels. His own positive experience with massage as a healing method following a near-fatal car accident coupled with his newfound interest in brew-centric rejuvenation led him to set his sights on bringing a beer-focused spa to the States. Champa, an Ayurvedic massage therapist who is trained as an herbalist and naturopath, worked with Boyle post-crash and signed on as his partner in the endeavor. Together, they agreed that their spa would focus on hops. “They are powerful herbs that are great for the skin. They moisturize and are wonderful for [people with] eczema and psoriasis,” explains Champa. “Hops [also] have lupulin in them, which is great for insomnia. It calms the nervous system.”
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