Credit Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias

For all their inherent style, the French have stubbornly ignored the health and beauty trends that have swept America, one gluten-free fad after another. But now, thanks in large part to Paris’s fashion folk, who travel internationally and are often the first to pick up a craze, alternative treatments are starting to thrive in the conservative city. Except instead of driftwood spas on the California coast, the practices are most likely located in Haussmann-era buildings with aestheticians dressed in what could pass for evening wear. Here, an insider’s guide.

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    Credit Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias
    Jean-Christophe Sottiaux

    SLIGHT AND SPRY with a Samurai-style topknot, Sottiaux is technically an étiopathe, which is similar to a chiropractor in the complicated French classification system. Adept at adjusting and cracking to improve posture, concentration and emotional well-being, Sottiaux is also a Jungian dream analyst with a set of tarot cards. A visit starts with an evaluation of the face, stomach and posture, with an eye toward diagnosing past trauma. Clients then strip down to their underwear and lie on a heated table while Sottiaux works on a painful lumbar, a swollen spleen, even the roof of the mouth. A referral can include anything from a visit to a specialist in perineal re-education to leaving a pebble on one’s grandmother’s grave to resolve unfinished business.

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    Credit Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias
    Joëlle Ciocco

    CIOCCO, WHO TAKES a holistic approach to skin care, is best known for her facial massages, ranging from lymphatic drainage and firming to the Buccal, in which she manually stimulates the face muscles to fight aging. This Alaïa-clad aesthetician, who holds a biochemistry degree, also has her own line of small-batch products, like the toning Skin Defensive correcting lotion. ‘‘They are so pure you can eat them,’’ Ciocco says. Refreshingly, there’s no hard sell when it comes to in-house tinctures; she’ll happily recommend generic pharmacy substitutes, as well as easily available (in France) mineral serums of copper, gold and manganese for topical application.


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    Credit Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias
    Martine de Richeville

    DE RICHEVILLE’S SERVICES go far deeper than the slimming effects of remodelage, or body sculpting. Trained in acupuncture and psychology, she offers a lateral, deep-tissue massage, during which she repeatedly rolls and squeezes the skin and muscles along the abdomen, back, buttocks and limbs in order to unblock fatty deposits and smooth out cellulite. She claims this bruising process requires several sessions before there are visible results, but judging by what a closely guarded secret de Richeville is among Paris’s chicest set, she’s up to something. This fall, she’ll open a center at the Caudalie spa at the Plaza in New York.

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    Credit Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias
    Cristina Costa
    Yoga teacher

    OF THE MANY DIFFERENT types of yoga practiced in the West, perhaps Iyengar, with its clinical precision, sustained poses and sometimes-complicated use of props, benefits most from one-on-one instruction. Enter Costa, a São Paulo native, who teaches at the Centre de Yoga Iyengar de Paris and at YI91, and offers private classes at clients’ homes. ‘‘I love the stability that Iyengar gives practitioners, not just in body but in mind,’’ she says with a heavy Brazilian accent. ‘‘It’s a challenge to get my students to practice every day. Liberty comes from discipline.’’ That, and realignment, say loyalists who spend a particular amount of time in high heels and on trans-Atlantic flights.


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    Credit Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias
    Juli Duhont

    THERE IS NO typical appointment with Duhont, who might start by discussing vitamin supplements, or simply ‘‘emptying your head,’’ a technique in which she cradles your cranium while gently applying pressure to various spots. What Duhont practices is best called reflexology, but her services also include nutritional coaching and aromatherapy, all part of a mind-body package. Her first goal is to get the organs happy — ‘‘because if they’re out of balance nothing else will take’’ — after which comes the emotional work. She’ll suggest, for instance, that a patient is too obsessive or high strung for her own good. Different foods, along with botanical essences, might be recommended at various times of day. ‘‘Parents and ancestors transmit fear to their offspring without even really knowing it,’’ Duhont says. ‘‘My job is to decode what the imprint is on the body and modify it so you can live according to your true temperament.’’