Though she had never experienced a massage of her own, Janice Amyson knew that she had found her calling as soon as she entered massage school. She carried this initial passion through her courses and into her career at The Amazing Hands Therapeutic Massage, where today she strives to empathize with her aching clients. To make sure that she understands and addresses their individual aches, Amyson never begins treatment without a brief consultation. This all-important sit-down, during which she inquires about areas of particular soreness, allows her to customize sessions that may incorporate modalities such as deep-tissue massage, TMJ treatment, repetitive-use therapy, and medical massage.
The treatment room’s low lighting, aromatherapy candles, and lush green plants join together to soothe frazzled nerves. Arbonne lotions and a heated table aid Amyson’s nimble fingers as she unkinks knotted musculature and rewires cybernetic limbs. Other therapeutic elements include Mentholatum, which opens sinuses to allow for easier breathing, and foot warmers to comfort cold toes. In this same room, Janice also treats bodies with soothing spa treatments such as mud-mask facials and paraffin dips.
More than 15,000 patients have passed through Parish Vein Laser Lipo Skin Center’s doors since it opened in 1995. Dr. Timothy Parish has been at the helm the entire time and, although he’s added several skills to his resumé since, he still takes the time to personally outline a treatment plan and perform ultrasounds for each patient with varicose veins. A registered vascular technician and registered physician in vascular interpretation, Dr. Parish eschews painful vein-stripping procedures for innovative methods including endovenous laser treatment, which uses laser fibers to damage the vein walls, eventually causing them to break down, pack up their belongings, and disappear. Beyond vanquishing problem veins, Dr. Parish and his team have also mastered several cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal, chemical peels, and dermal fillers such as Botox and Juvéderm.
Dual board-certified Dr. Victor Mendoza combines traditional weight-management supplements with new-age laser treatments to help clients not only shed fat, but also remedy internal ailments such as fatigue or insomnia. The staff tailors each treatment program with preliminary tests that detect the hormone and toxin levels in each patient’s body, which helps determine whether their issues come from environmental forces or simply eating too many pennies. To treat the moodiness, memory loss, and weight gain that comes with age, the spa administers health-bolstering doses of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to heal bodies from the inside out. Dr. Mendoza boosts his regimens’ effects with Zerona body-contouring treatments, which use an FDA-cleared laser system to help noninvasively remove fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Lifestyle makeovers go even further with Fountain of Youth Medical Spa’s other services, such as laser hair removal, chemical peels, and beauty injections.
Escape Day Spa co-owners Carrie Wheelock and Alicia Liddon know how therapeutic a day at the spa can be. Wheelock, an experienced massage therapist, has witnessed the restoration and healing power of touch while both giving and receiving massages. Liddon, on the other hand, is not only an aesthetician, but also a wife and mother of three who understands the daily stressors of family life. Her passion for healthy skin has helped ground her and was her inspiration for opening her own skincare clinic.
At the spa's new location in Edgewood, the duo and their team perform treatments that range from multimodality massages and facials with organic Babor products to mother-of-pearl body scrubs and mani-pedis with vegan SpaRitual polish. They also create spa packages that allow romantic couples, pairs of best friends, or celebrities and their egos to enjoy chocolates and champagne while relaxing together.
The expert tress tamers on the New Talent Team at Richard Joseph SalonSpa—Birmingham magazine's 2011 Best of Birmingham winner—snip, style, and color locks with Aveda products. After stylists consult with clients on whether to go for a classic cut or an avant-garde clip, a clarifying and stress-relieving shampoo massages scalps while gently cleansing manes. Next, a stylist reduces hair density and molds follicles into face-framing devices. With the full-color or highlights option, Aveda Hair Color’s 97% naturally derived formula revamps head gardens with vibrant color that either covers every strand or rewards specific locks for not harboring fugitive snakes. A complimentary 20-minute hand or foot massage relaxes appendages and adds a luxurious touch to the salon experience.
If she were handed a list of humanity's basic needs, Crystal Sutton might write "relaxation" just beneath "food, water, and shelter." The licensed massage therapist believes that cutting down on stress at the spa shouldn't be a special occasion, but a regular occurrence.
Crystal—who graduated from University of Alabama with a biology degree—backs up that perspective by citing its many benefits, which range from a decrease in chronic pain to better blood pressure. She strives to achieve these results in her clients with a handful of methods. Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages complement specialized styles, such as a TMJ treatment—focused tissue work around the mouth that relieves pain in the jaw from trying to swallow whole grapefruits.
Licensed massage therapist Kimberly M. Johnson employs seven different styles of kneads to release her clients’ physical and emotional tensions. An annual participant in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Kimberly knows firsthand that athletic movements—as well as day-to-day activities—can put a strain on the body’s muscles. She combines her knowledge of anatomy with a compassionate approach during 60- to 90-minute Swedish massages that unwind knotted muscle fibers with alternating pressures. Aside from this popular modality and its deep-tissue sibling, Kimberly targets athletic ailments with specialized sports massages and prepares muscles for mashing with warm, smooth stones placed along the back or hurled at spots of tension.
Beautiful You Skincare Specialties' owner Sarah Smelley boasts certifications in aesthetic procedures such as dermal leveling, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, allowing her to take on epidermal upkeep with a tailored approach. Custom facials work to diminish blemishes or signs of aging, first by asking nicely, then by cleansing and lacquering faces with restorative products from companies such as Dermalogica and Atache. Chemical peels spark an accelerated exfoliation process that reveals a more youthful complexion, and LED light therapy smoothes out blemishes and boosts collagen production, splashing faces with more multicolored light than a head butt from a rainbow.
Though Honors Salon has been in the same location for nearly three decades, its stylists’ approach to hair care has changed with the times. Up to date on the latest styles, techniques, and ways to turn hair clippings into a renewable form of energy, they create unique looks that are also easy to replicate at home. In doing so, they're backed by high-end products, including those from Redken, Moroccanoil, and Keratin Complex. In addition to standard haircare services, they add extensions, wax away unwanted hair on four body areas, and administer threading on brows.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
Dragonfly Salon on 7th's highly trained stylists have plenty of room to craft highfalutin hairstyles beneath the arching cathedral ceiling. The superairy salon emanates a posh ambiance—gilt-framed mirrors frame newly cropped or colored hairdos, and art-deco sconces emit a skin-flattering golden light.
Stylists take pride in their title as an Aveda concept salon. Aveda's mostly natural haircare products use ingredients such as wheat protein and organic essential oils to tame manes without harming the environment. Herbs such as rosemary and lavender also scent mani-pedis.
Dr. Elizabeth Owings brings more than two decades of experience to every waistline she tailors with laser liposuction and every complexion she beautifies with laser skin-resurfacing. At Azia Medical Spa, she's joined by a team of surgeons, nurses, and aestheticians dedicated to improving appearances with a wide array of rejuvenating procedures, both surgical and noninvasive. Massages drive away tension with Swedish, deep-tissue, and shiatsu techniques, while hormone injections help restore energy levels in men and women alike.
Renee Hughes leads the team at Body Logic School of Esthetics with a skill set that could put a one-man band to shame—she's a master aesthetician, licensed massage therapist, certified colon hydrotherapist, Endermologie and lipomassage technician, and certified electrologist. Hughes’s team rises to meet her impressive pedigree as they dole out detoxifying wellness treatments, apply eyelash extensions and permanent makeup, and wield lasers to eradicate hair and land-speeders double-parked outside the office.
On the walls of DnL Hair Studio, portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga bespeak an upbeat atmosphere where both edgy and classic looks are welcome. The stylists—grouped into three levels that correspond with experience—treat hair exclusively with Redken products. They pass beneath chandeliers to reach the chic-vintage bureaus at their stations, remodeling 'dos with services that range from smoothing formulas to simple trims. They can also wax unwanted hair from brows, chins, lips, and sideburns trying to annex the nose.
Skin-care specialists pamper visitors with nourishing skin treatments within a clean, comfortable setting. They specialize in a range of skincare services; facials impart relaxation and bestow skin with a glow rivaled only by a mask made of lightning bugs. They also have advanced training in services such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels. During every single treatment, they make a concerted effort to maintain thorough sterilization and sanitation techniques to create a clean, safe, and relaxing atmosphere.