As someone who grew up playing competitive sports, Michelle Gaine always understood the importance of therapeutic massage and proper physical training when striving to achieve peak performance and overall fitness. This fundamental understanding sank in even deeper after she was involved in a life-changing car accident. Over the course of 12 difficult months, a number of therapists helped her regain control over her body, ultimately inspiring her decision to spend the rest of her life assisting others in the same fashion. In 2000, she graduated from a clinical massage program, achieved an NC LMBT license, and became nationally certified in the art of massage therapy.
Rather than offering standardized treatments, Gaine draws from nine modalities to formulate custom massages. She eschews the one-size-fits-all philosophy found in some studios, pricing the use of any of her techniques based solely on the length of the session. This allows her to treat each patient in a manner that will reap the most benefits and address specific problems, such as chronic pain or a dray of back-burrowing squirrels. Yoga and qi gong instructors also help further Gaine's mission of restoration and healing with breath training, stretching, and meditative philosophies designed to help bodies align themselves from the inside out.
Dr. Lanford Peck has had as much success as you would expect of an Ivy League med-school grad. Since earning his degree from Yale School of Medicine and completing his residency training at Yale Hospital, the board-certified doctor has accumulated more than 12 years of practice experience and has ascended to the position of owner and medical director of Laser Aesthetics and Liposuction. Along with his team of medical aestheticians and permanent-makeup artist Lynn Keenan, Dr. Peck makes a point to learn about cosmetic technologies as they emerge. His philosophy is the same one that inspired Nietzsche to take up cardio kickboxing: the better you look, the better you feel.
The selection of treatments available at the center is vast. Microdermabrasion, peels, and lasers resurface complexions with varying degrees of intensiveness, sometimes to diminish acne scarring and sometimes to restore a dewy glow. Patients can play up their favorite features with lip augmentation, permanent makeup, or lash-fortifying Latisse, or they can cause hair and spider veins to wither in the glow of specially designed lasers. Laser liposuction is also available to reduce fat and enhance figures.
Within the colorful walls of The Academy for the Performing Arts' 10,000-square-foot facility, enthusiastic instructors instill confidence in the leaders and creative thinkers of tomorrow. Kids benefit from small class sizes and a high teacher-to-student ratio during dance classes such as tap, ballet, hip-hop, and cheerleading, or half-day preschool programs that incorporate dance, music, and visual art. Kids aged 2?4 fine-tune their gross motor and social skills while older children can prepare for recitals or become members of the center's dance company.
The academy also keeps parents in shape with adult fitness classes such as boot-camp sessions led by a personal trainer or high-energy Zumba workouts. The crew hosts children during a bimonthly parents' night out that allows adults to take some well-deserved time for themselves and finally engage in a critical debate of Kung Fu Panda.
Voted a favorite place for party services by Carolina Parent readers from 2010-2013, Bounce U welcomes kids to descend upon an inflatable, climate-controlled playground where they can bounce and ricochet in safety. Along with birthday parties and group outings, Bounce U hosts open-bounce sessions that let sock wearers of all ages imagine they're synchronized leapers in a futuristic moon performance as they carom around the inflatable stadium, expending energy with every leap. Adults are welcome to act like 8-year-olds and join the vivacious youngsters in the playground.
The inflatable arena also opens its buoyant doors to technology-themed bounce camps and programs, where boys and girls spend half their time with brain-bolstering projects such as creating their own stop-motion animation movies or reprogramming the remote to skip all news channels. After stretching the limits of their imaginations, kids then spend the other half of the day stretching the limits of their limbs on the inflatable playground.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray-tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
At Flaunt Boutique and its sister store, Bad Poodle, ladies and girls of all ages can unleash their inner fashionistas. Playing ringleader is owner Jessica Lamarre, an image coach with more than 20 years of experience making women look and feel their best. Jessica travels and researches extensively to find budding fashion trends, which she brings back home so she and her crew can use fashion to encourage others to find their voice and move in the direction of their wildest dreams.
Jessica encourages ladies to play dress-up with unique garments procured from designers such as Desigual, Maxi, Cecico, and Jessica Simpson. Pieces range from casual tops and dresses for all occasions to furry boots, suede heels, and jewelry. At Flaunt Boutique, ladies can dress up during fun, store-sponsored adult events including tea parties. At little sister store Bad Poodle, kiddie birthday parties let little divas flaunt their fashions like a kitten with a new pair of mouse-fur socks.