June 5, 2013
The sweeping white curtains that make guests feel like they’re walking in a dream haven’t changed at the Delano South Beach spa, and neither have the sweeping ocean views, but some things are very different since the rooftop oasis transitioned from Agua to the new Club Essentia Wellness Retreat. For one thing, visitors will see plenty of dangling IV bags.
The man behind the change is Dr. Ivan Rusilko, DO, CSN, PT, an osteopath who specializes in wellness and lifestyle medicine and is board certified in aesthetic medicine, along with certifications in sports nutrition, cosmetic lasers, medical weight management, and antiaging/ hormone-replacement therapy, among other disciplines. IV drips are one of his specialties—he has 77 different ingredients that he customizes for his patients.
“I mix the cocktail right in front of them,” he explains. “If they want better sex tonight, I give them an IV [‘Liquid Libido’] with oxytocin [a hormone released during sex that has been shown to promote bonding]. In Miami Beach, the hangover cure is a big one; we also have a detox to get rid of metals and one to balance hormones.” Club Essentia also uses the drips, with distinctly non-medical names, to supplement spa offerings. “One of my specialties is ‘Dr. Ivan’s Liquid Groovy,’” Rusilko says. “You have it before a massage, and it will be one of the best massages of your life.”
Apart from juiced-up massages, Essentia offers Botox, fillers, and “vampire lifts,” which use platelet-rich plasma from a patient’s own blood. Even facials here are amped—in addition to more classic cleansing and creaming, the retreat has a stem cell facial.
“You have to order it a week before because we get the stem cells from a colony of sheep in Switzerland that probably have better lives than you and I,” he says.
Difficult to believe their lives are better than his. At just 29, Rusilko, who grew up in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he worked on a farm, has had a lucrative modeling career, and twice won the Mr. USA contest. Now he is following in his family’s footsteps—his father was a chiropractor and his brother a urologic reconstructive surgeon. While medicine was a natural path for him, encounters with the entertainment world shifted his focus away from a traditional practice. “People in these luxury settings had a real desire for wellness, antiaging, and aesthetic procedures,” he observes.
Today his plans go beyond the medical spa. “I want to bring a high-end medical club atmosphere here. People can sign up for an annual membership.” The fee? Rusilko says $50,000 per year, which will include thorough lab tests, follow-up visits, and discounted treatments.
Among those tests are hormone levels and age markers that reveal a person’s biological age as opposed to chronological age. “If a CEO finds out his testosterone is like a woman’s or a 45-year-old woman hears her biological age is 54, the checkbooks come out pretty fast,” he says, noting that “as an osteopath, I can do everything a medical doctor can do, but if someone has a serious heart or lung problem, I’m the first to refer that person out.”
“I tag it as lifestyle medicine,” Rusilko says. “My business is selling sex, vitality, and energy.” Delano South Beach, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-6100
By Beth Landman