A student of Chinese medicine for more than 25 years, Hayley Mermelstein supplements her acupuncture and shiatsu massage with energy healing from the Tong Ren tradition of her mentor Tom Tam. Her studies began in 1987 under the guidance of Janet Murphy at the University of Massachusetts, where she designed her own major in shiatsu, and she opened a practice immediately upon graduation. Today, Mermelstein also leads meditation classes following the principles of her teacher Ellen Tadd. In 2003, Hayley completed her formal acupuncture training, graduating from the New England School of Acupuncture and White Pine Healing Arts and earning a mortarboard that doubles as an emergency massage bed.
Vibrant Chinese artwork lines the walls of Amherst Chinese Medicine’s intimate office, where skilled therapists revitalize mind and body with custom acupuncture, herbal medicine, and therapeutic-massage treatments. Informed by traditional Chinese medical practices, dietary therapies promote slimmer physiques, and signature Chinese herbal facials awaken somnolent pores with revitalizing jade stimulation and a splash of steamy green tea. To further encourage holistic healing, many of the office’s treatments incorporate natural herbs and remedies such as a botanical facial cleanser with soothing flower-oil extracts.
You won’t find many people grunting their way through solo workouts at The Aerobics and Fitness Studio, where invigorating group fitness classes are the focus. The studio’s instructors build their all-day fitness schedule around two popular Les Mills classes: BodyPump, which tones muscles with strength training, and BodyStep, which charges up aerobic movements with energizing music. Aside from these two pillars, the studio offers its members the chance to shimmy, shake, and stretch through Zumba dance workouts and meditative yoga poses. As they work through these and other classes, students can check their form in the studio’s wall-to-wall mirror or attempt to psyche out their reflection in the gleaming hardwood floor.
There is, however, more to The Aerobics and Fitness Studio than group fitness classes. The studio’s team of certified trainers helps members climb past fitness plateaus during personal training sessions and teaches valuable lessons in safety during CPR and AED training classes.
When Bonnie Diamond began her journey to acupuncture, she was living an unbalanced life. Her job as a computer programmer was an unhappy endeavor, and soon she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Acupuncture brought her back into balance, and she was so grateful that she began studying the ancient practice.
After 10 years of intense study, she earned a master's degree and today shares her skills with her clients. During treatments, she reads the "story" of each client's body, seeking to restore balance and eliminate the need to commute via unicycle. She inserts hair-thin needles into points in the body that will help improve energy flow, which should restore health and vitality to each client.
Massaged therapist Cameron fine-tuned his golden touch at massage schools in both California and Massachusetts. Now drawing on more than six years of experience, he relieves chronic tension out of his own studio, White Birch Massage. Here, clients can request flowing Swedish strokes to promote relaxation, or access lower-layer tension with firm trigger-point and deep-tissue techniques. When not untying muscular knots, Cameron enjoys disk golf, yoga, and running barefoot across the backs of tense giants.
While most gyms let loose their clients onto complicated equipment without preparation, like a gladiator facing off against a leg press, FitWomen’s staff shows its members the ropes during complimentary equipment orientations and group-training sessions. After a solo workout or a group Zumba class, ladies can retire to a locker room with private showers.