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Pamper yourself: New York

By Ann Anderson and Katie Pisa for CNN
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NEW YORK, USA (CNN) -- A real face lift

What is it: Holistic Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

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Chill out after a treatment at New York's Thai Privilege Spa.

Acupuncture for the face? Scary, I thought! Pins in my face, oh no! Unsure of what to expect, I nervously struck a deal with Jennifer Chen, my acupuncturist certified in Chinese herbology. If the acupuncture was in any way painful, we'd switch to a normal facial. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I said.

How long does it take: 75 minutes plus a 30-minute facial. In addition to this, I had a 10-minute foot cleaning/scrubbing of my soles with natural salts and ginger tea was served before my foot scrubbing. Delightful.

Verdict: After a little apprehension and the first few pins around my feet, Jennifer explained the balance so important to acupuncture. The pins in my face were at first a little daunting, but I started to feel more at ease as she worked her magic on my ankles, hips, and the rest of my body. I started to drift, it was incredibly relaxing. By the end, I felt that my body was in balance and, I was told, my skin looked 10 years younger.

Best thing: Smack dab in the middle of bustling Manhattan's SoHo district, the Thai spa is an oasis of peacefulness. It has that wonderful eucalyptus smell like a spa should, the decor is classy, the staff are friendly. The chill-out area of lounge chairs afterwards is a great way to unwind after a treatment. I could have happily spent an hour or so just lounging and reading magazines.

Worst thing: Having to leave. I felt so relaxed and trouble-free, it would have been easy to hang around for ages. Stepping back into reality was difficult.

The after effects: Feeling relaxed, quite sleepy and dehydrated too. My family told me my skin was glowing. I felt great inside, and I imagine a series of treatments would have some lasting long-term effects.

Cost: 75-minute acupuncture/$220 + 30-minute anti-aging face massage/$70. Total cost $290

Contact details: Thai Privilege Spa New York, 155 Spring Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York, 10012, www.thaiprivilegespa.com, phone: +212-274-8123

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Wrap up in black pepper

What is it: Thai black pepper body wrap

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Wrap yourself in black pepper in Poh Tree's relaxing downtown spa.

How long does it take: 75 minutes, but spa manager Jan is so welcoming she encourages early arrivals in order to sip ginger tea and destress.

Verdict: The green tea body scrub followed by a black pepper cream massage was the most wonderfully relaxing treatment ever experienced. The lymphatic massage and overall detoxification left me glowing. The East meets West approach of the spa's treatments feels somehow more authentic.

Best thing: This tiny, cosy spa is one of the friendliest hang-outs in Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side. The sleek and slender space makes it an intimate affair, but instead of feeling small it's actually very welcoming and personable. In addition to body wraps and massages, Poh Tree specializes in facials, particularly suited to those with trouble spots and rosacea.

Worst thing: Feeling too relaxed is a dangerous thing when stepping back out into Manhattan's busy streets.

The after effects: This was the best. My skin felt rejuvenated, better than a normal massage and the body wrap left my skin soft and cellulite-free, lucky me!

Cost: 75 minutes, $135

Contact details: Poh Tree Thai Spa, 122 Ludlow Street, New York, New York, 10002, www.pohtreethaispa.com, phone: +212-598-4241 E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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