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, Amyson also treats bodies with soothing spa treatments such as mud-mask facials and paraffin dips.
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.
Bernadine Tillman was inspired to pursue her colon hydrotherapy certification out of a desire to rescue a friend's failing health. After the success of her healing efforts, Bernadine expanded her business to encompass other cleansing technologies as well as body-sculpting services. Supplementing the detoxification work of hydrotherapy's ionized, antioxidant, liquid water, the BioCleanse foot bath pulls toxins out through the soles, and an infrared sauna promotes purification through sweating. Body-sculpting treatments draw upon the noninvasive Lipo-Ex, which shrinks fat cells with radio waves, and the VibaBody Slimmer, whose rollicking platform stimulates muscles and trains Elvis impersonators.
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.
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.
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.
Soft, relaxing music battles audible oohs and aahs at Kacey Mayo's massage studio, where the licensed massage therapist calls upon her training in seven modalities to dissolve stress and pain. Mayo encourages clients to speak up about their expectations and needs so that she can tailor her services to treat past injuries and other areas of concern. Electric warmers keep massage beds toasty, and the specialist uses heated packs to keep unmassaged areas warm throughout each session.
The five-room face and body center Beyond Wellness Today complements its kempt beige and grey slate floors with an environment of harmony and rejuvenation. Guests receive a personally fine-tuned service to satisfy their individual needs in private quarters, lending way to a relaxing experience.
Skilled practitioners at Much Kneaded Massage Therapy manipulate muscle knots with traditional Swedish and deep-tissue techniques, or
knead out knots with their bare feet during Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. A Swedish massage’s long, slow strokes work to increase circulation, reduce soreness, and ease stiffness more swiftly than taking a bath in fabric softener. Deep-tissue therapy targets chronic pain and tight muscle knots with more focused pressure. Alternatively, barefoot practitioners grip overhead bars for support during an Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy massage, leveraging their full body weight and masterful tap-dancing technique to achieve the client’s desired level of pressure. This unique style of massage fuses European and Asian techniques and utilizes pulling, pushing, and stretching movements that may help repair damaged soft tissues.
The licensed massage therapists at Breathe Therapeutic Massage knead away at muscle tension and aches with healing segments of bamboo in the comfort of a warm, peaceful treatment room. In varying lengths, these cylindrical sticks roll across different areas of the anatomy, releasing stress, stretching the fascia, and summoning nearby pandas. Each soothing stroke helps improve circulation and drive away toxins parked in the tissue with much of the same efficacy as deep-tissue massage or acupressure.
At Glamour Beauty, aestheticians rejuvenate faces and remix eyebrows with a slew of carefully administered salon services. During 10-minute threading sessions, a beautician rolls a cotton thread over eyebrows to remove unwanted hairs with the precision of an eagle armed with a microscope. A 40-minute herbal facial cleanses and exfoliates pores with the aid of a deep-cleansing mask and a gentle facial massage. The herbal-facial procedure may restore elasticity and sheen to dry or aging skin. Similarly, the 60-minute oxygen facial seeks to cultivate a healthier, younger-looking complexion by directly oxygenizing the skin, which encourages cellular renovation and allows skin cells to breathe more easily on the moon.