The Expert

Ricari Studios

Founder Anna Zahn shares the secrets behind LA, London and New York-based cult sculpting clinic Ricari Studios, where Luminaire readers can enjoy 20% off their chosen treatment with the code LCO20


@morganedug // Instagram

Why Ricari Studios?

It’s hard to believe I started the studio almost a decade ago, and it’s blossomed in ways I could never have imagined. My primary motivation for starting Ricari was to fill what I felt was a gap in spa culture—not only with respect to the services provided but also the conversations we have about beauty and wellness as well as the physical spaces in which these services are offered. Hustle culture often associates self-care with vanity, privilege, and indulgence. I wanted to challenge those negative and outdated connotations in an attempt to reframe the practice of beauty as an essential and celebrated part of our lives.

All of this is to say that at Ricari, our goal is and always will be to offer innovative experiences in refined and inclusive spaces, where self-care is encouraged with a pleasure-forward mindset. As with any venture, my fundamental desire is to nourish the human experience. I hope to help others rediscover pleasure, comfort, ease, and connection in a world that too readily strips us of our humanity.

What is it about wellness that motivates you and your brand?

I come from a performance background, and that experience cultivated a profound appreciation for the importance of physical, emotional, and psychological connection to ourselves and each other. I never thought I would find my place in the beauty and wellbeing industry, and perhaps that distance allowed me to see the business through a different lens. 

Upon entering the beauty and wellness business, I immediately recognized that I could parlay my creative background into a new concept: an experience that united the benefits of beauty technology with an original, experiential setting. As I developed the idea, I grew more confident and began to feel its value. While I knew we were creating something special, what I didn’t anticipate was how rewarding it would be to share this vision with our clients. 

@ricaristudios // Instagram

@ricaristudios // Instagram

"Marie Kondo your routine with no mercy other than that you show to yourself."

Anna Zahn

What have been some of the most defining moments for the studio since?

Working with large-scale brands that have achieved great success, but still maintain their curiosity, commitment to innovation, and humility is a hugely gratifying and somewhat surreal marker of success. I am a huge proponent of the creative power of collaboration, and I believe these partnerships aren’t just good for Ricari, they also help advance our industry as a whole.

That being said, as the studio grows, so do I. Realizing I could create jobs and work for artists, individuals, and creatives like myself has been incredibly formative. The relationships I have with my team, external partners, and clients are all a constant exercise in trust, loyalty, and mutual support. More and more, I feel a responsibility, both as a creative and as a business owner, to stand up for what I believe in and challenge outdated structures, and you never do that without personal risk. You never do it without the possibility of rejection or offending somebody. You never do it without feeling vulnerable. However, that risk is vital to the artistic process. It’s intrinsic to everything we do as human beings that matters. I think continuing to explore, collaborate, innovate, and drive creativity will alway define who we are as a brand.

@twothirdshoney // Instagram

@tinkhan // Instagram

The Ricari Method focuses on lymphatic drainage, with the use of a medical-grade roller device. What exactly is lymphatic drainage and how does the device aid it?

The easiest (but not prettiest) way to think of the lymph is like a sewage highway. One of its jobs is to help our bodies get rid of toxins, but unlike our circulatory system, it doesn’t have a motor (like our heart) helping to move things along. That’s where manual or mechanical support comes into play.

At Ricari, our treatments are primarily centered around the Italian-made ICOONE device. Rollers deliver inward, outward, forward, and backward rotations, providing fractionated skin stimulation customized to our client's needs. It gently yet thoroughly conditions skin tissue to reduce cellular deposits, enhance blood and lymphatic flow as well as reactivate lipolysis. Rhythmic vibrations also stimulate collagen and elastin production to rapidly smooth and firm the skin. Unlike other techniques, the treatment is painless, infinitely customizable, and deeply effective. 

While lymphatic drainage is a central part of the services we provide, I like to remind our clients that lymphatic health is not the only player in our systematic health. I created the Ricari Method to offer more than lymphatic benefits; it was designed to nourish and optimize the functionalities our bodies are born with and to encourage a lifestyle-driven approach to self-care.

@clubrig // Instagram

What are some of the key benefits of lymphatic drainage to the body?

The lymphatic system is a set of interconnected nodes, ducts, and vessels, much like pearls on a knotted string. As I mentioned, one of the key functions of this subdermal system is the elimination of cellular waste. It’s also responsible for storing and distributing fat and fat-soluble vitamins, transporting white blood cells to assist in immune functioning, and removing interstitial fluid from tissues to minimize swelling.

In an ideal world, we should be able to stimulate our lymphatic system through our everyday movements. Of course, the world we actually live in is far from ideal, and the sedentary nature of modern life means that we may require extra assistance in the form of focused exercise, massage, and hydration to keep things moving.

Speaking generally, lymphatic massage increases circulation and moves lymphatic fluid out of stagnant areas of the body and face. Unlike more traditional massage techniques that focus on muscle tension, alignment, or stretching, lymphatic massage is geared towards the inner mobility of fluids and blood circulation. Furthermore, lymphatic massages often incorporate stomach or breast stimulation, which can aid in digestion, bloating, and breast health.

Alongside regular treatments, how can we support our lymphatic system in day-to-day life?

It’s nothing you haven’t heard before: hydrate, rest, stimulate. Try to drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces of water each day, add in stimulation when you can, and be sure to give your body and nervous system proper time to reset and recover through rest and relaxation. Personally, I like to dry brush before I get in the shower, and if I forget, I try to spend some time massaging my face and body when I apply my oils or creams. I also love to take naps and am not ashamed to admit that I require a generous night's sleep. I’m also a big believer in regular baths, massages, and walking. 

No matter what you do to feel “well,” I believe enjoying it is essential, if not intrinsic. If any part of your wellness routine doesn’t give you some degree of pleasure or joy, release it. Marie Kondo your routine with no mercy other than that you show to yourself. Value ease and joy as much as hard work. Also, try not to overcomplicate things; don’t surrender to every trend. Explore what works for you, whatever that means. Allow yourself the space and flexibility to live well and change your mind.

@studiomilenakling // Instagram

@sophiebuhai // Instagram

Is there a bespoke or curated element to the Ricari treatments?

Absolutely. The Ricari Method unites beauty, wellness, and recovery. So, whether you are preparing for an event, recovering from surgery, or training for a marathon, we tailor the treatment to fit the needs of the client. Come as you are, and we will take care of the rest.

Each of our specialists has an incredible and unique set of gifts and talents. Some of our specialists are also doulas, acupuncturists, estheticians, massage therapists and artists—multifaceted individuals whose expertise augments the collective knowledge of our community. We encourage an open dialogue between specialist and client in order to create an optimized treatment experience that provides the most possible benefits.

You have studios in LA, New York and London. What parallels can be drawn between each?

I always joke that each location is a different movie with the same director. All our studios are vastly different in terms of setting and space, but they all provide the same Ricari experience.

What does wellness mean to you?

For me, self-care means knowing and exploring what is truly valuable in our lives. It can be as elaborate or spartan as you want it to be. Relaxation, connecting over a meal, travel, and human connection are all part of living “well.” Simply taking a bath, going for a walk, or being “lazy” can be deeply valuable for your body and for your life. I mean, what are we doing here if not making time for joy and vitality?

People often think of beauty treatments, rest, and other items on the self-care menu as indulgences at best or frivolous expenditures at worst. I feel this perspective is flawed and ultimately creates long-term challenges that lead to inevitable burnout and more serious crises. Life is *insert expletive of choice* stressful, and self-care is truly essential as we continue to weather the storms of grief, uncertainty, and loss brought on by Covid and other unprecedented events.

There is also something I would love to remove from our collective definition of wellness, and that’s an obsession with immediate and often superficial results. The just-click-here culture of instant gratification has created a lot of toxicity (pun intended) in wellness culture. Our industry is rife with false prophets turning profits by selling extreme ideas. Instead, I would hope that we could focus more on the profound and sustainable changes that can happen over time when you commit to yourself and your own happiness—not just physically, but mentally as well.

@stassandco // Instagram

@pinkhawaiiii // Instagram

Is there a wellness ritual that you swear by?

Honestly, my ritual is no ritual. 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, and beauty I respond to the kind of day I’m having or to the kind of day I want to have.  So, I guess you could say that listening is my ritual.

I’m not necessarily going to do a 12-step skincare routine if a fun evening with friends or loved ones extends late, or if I simply feel like melting on the couch and binge watching the entirety of an amazing show; and I don’t see the value in feeling guilty about it. I think it’s important to learn to adapt, because it helps us stay present for ourselves and for others. There will be times when you feel on top of the world, putting in those hours at the gym and crushing it at work; and there will be times when you feel like a waste of space, and all you want to do is eat a meal in bed that you didn’t have to cook yourself. It’s all ok. It’s ok to let imperfection and your own humanity be part of your definition of wellness.

Is there a particular person in the industry that you are inspired by or have enjoyed collaborating with?

As I’m currently stationed at Palm Heights, I’ve had the gift not only to spend time here with PH Founder and Creative Director Gabriella Khalil, who is a constant stream of inspiration for me, but also to draw inspiration from all of the artists stationed down here at present. Gabby’s commitment to fostering creativity and featuring a wide array of artists here at Palm Heights is genius. 

Also working with Kristen Millar and the NoMad London team has been beyond enjoyable - I feel like they’ve become an extension of our family. I’m constantly inspired by Kristen’s creative genius and innovative approach to collaboration. And as fate may have it, many many years ago before starting Ricari I read an extensive piece on the interior designers Roman and Williams. It explored their foundations in film production that ultimately became a signature approach to their cinematic, story-driven interior design. I recall being so inspired by this idea of transferring storytelling and cinema into other businesses, and I do believe it gave me more confidence in doing so with Ricari. To now find ourselves living inside their designed space at NoMad feels surreal. 

I’m also perpetually inspired by our clients and staff. To create such an innovative, collaborative, and supportive community means there is never any shortage of daily inspiration. 

@palmheightsgc // Instagram


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