Within the tranquil, century-old walls of the Belvedere house, the staff of The Secret Spa & Salon beautify bodies from the toes up. Hair stylists transform coifs with Aveda, Bumble and bumble, and Schwarzkopf products, as owner Richelle enhances natural nails with OPI, CND, and Gelish polish or extensions made from acrylic, silk, or fiberglass. A massage therapist eases tension with hot stones, aromatic oils, and custom pressure, and Dermalogica skincare experts clear complexions with relaxing facials that combat fine lines, acne, and premature aging. The spa also uses Jane Iredale makeup products.
Built in 1905 by the same architect behind the historic Biltmore house, Belvedere—which is part of the historic society—now has a slightly more modern feel thanks to the spa's staff, who accented its wood floors and abundant natural light with green plants and paintings by local artists. The multigabled house also boasts a projecting bay window, which makes an ideal spot for drying nail polish or testing the reflective properties of freshly waxed skin.
White Sage's Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist Jessica Hedrick, tailors massages with various techniques to restore frazzled bodies to a calm respite. During each 60- or 75-minute session, a therapist lithely dances all ten fingers across backs, deploying the long strokes of a Swedish massage and the diving plunges of a deep-tissue rubdown. An arsenal of myofascial methods soothes injured soft tissue, and cranial-sacral therapy indulges necks. After the tissue tenderizing treatment, patients can revel in a relaxed state, free from the effects of physical and emotional stresses such as hectic work schedules or piggyback carpools.
The roster of high-quality salon and beauty products used at Adorn Salon and Boutique includes Schwarzkopf Professional Products, Punky Colour, Bröö Craft Beer Body & Haircare, and Mineral Fusion Cosmetics. The lineup of stylists, nail technicians, and aestheticians is equally impressive. They include aesthetician Holly Morrison, who was named the best aesthetician in the Mountain Xpress Best of WNC 2012 reader's poll. Typical salon services, such as cuts, coloring, and nail care, are offered alongside more unique treatments including dreadlock maintenance, custom facials, and brow and lash tinting.
As visitors to Spa Theology slip into plush robes and slippers and nibble organic treats in the relaxation lounge, stress falls away—so does the rest of the outside world. Evoking a secluded country farmhouse perpetually filled with warm, late-afternoon light and truckloads of all-organic crops, the spa spirits guests away to a realm of rough brick walls, creamy curtains, and recessed nooks glowing with tea lights. Once pamperees have reached at least a level eight on the ahhmeter, they're ushered into a treatment room to be plied with only botanically-based, paraben-free salves.
The licensed massage therapists at Asheville Massage and Natural Therapeutics promote full-body well-being with proficiencies in numerous types of bodywork and energy-healing methods. Their treatments, like putting jeans in the dryer while still wearing them, can help stimulate circulation and make the stresses of the outside world seem all the more distant. They excel in multiple modalities, from deep-tissue and hot-stone treatments to holistic reflexology sessions. On top of offering therapeutic massages, the center, which is located in a historic flatiron building, helps promote healing with craniosacral, polarity, and chakra therapies.
A graduate of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration, Mark Read-Smith continues the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf, a biochemist whose research led her to believe that the body functions best when properly aligned. During his sessions, Mark studies each client’s alignment, considering the origins of each imbalance. Impeded mobility in the arms, for example, might originate in fascia tightness in the lower back, leading to compression in the shoulders that in turn dulls nerve communication to the arms. Sessions can be done individually or as part of The Basic 10 Series, a treatment program developed by Dr. Rolf for the complete restoration of bodily alignment. An FAQ page answers common questions such as, “How is it different than massage?” and, “I’m a caveman who just unthawed—is Rolfing right for me?” Click here for a video of Mark Read-Smith explaining the benefits of rolfing.