"I've always followed in her footsteps," says Shawna Nichols of her mother, Shawnee Goettig. Both women worked in medical care, Nichols with Alzheimer’s patients and Goettig in hospice care. Then, when Nichols joined her mother at Basic Wellness Center, she initially took on the administrative side of the business. But seeing each client walk out the door with a serene smile prodded her toward her mother's path again, and she soon became a massage therapist herself.
The mother-daughter team specializes in medical massage to treat chronic pain, customizing sessions to each client's needs or wingspan. Their hands glide over musculature aided by hypoallergenic lotions with an olive-oil base. Their private treatment rooms promote relaxation with dim lighting and a New Age soundtrack. Aromatherapy augments all treatments, including reflexology sessions and detoxifying footbaths, which relax pores while using an ionic charge to allow the body to release toxins back into the wild.
Aerofit isn't your ordinary fitness studio. Instead of wearing athletic shoes, students go barefoot. Instead of gazing in the mirror, they get up close and personal with the ceiling. And in place of studio floors, there are nothing but trampolines. The trampolines serve as the stage for most of Aerofit's classes, which combine high-flying acrobatics with functional fitness training. Each class teaches a repertoire of basic moves before progressing to more advanced tricks, so beginners need not worry about starting fresh. Though all of the jumping is enough to burn calories on its own, several of the studio's classes mix it up with fun games and circuit training. The instructors make sure to cover safety and injury prevention in every class, explaining that it's actually physically impossible to jump so high you'll never come down.
Within Pure Barre's spacious, mirror-lined studio, transformations are occurring. Through every ballet-inspired movement, students work to sculpt long, lean, lifted muscles as they target the areas of the body women struggle with most, such as the stomach, the seat, and the arms. The regimen goes beyond aesthetic concerns, as well, by ensuring moves are good for the body?a thorough stretching session follows every strength section of the workout, and the classes protect students' joints by avoiding bouncing movements and maintaining a strict no-hopscotch policy. Students even glean a meditative benefit, as the focus required allows them to block out the stresses of life for as long as they're within the studio's mirrored walls.
The athletic instructors at Athens Vertical Pole Dance Academy draw from backgrounds in aerial dance as they dispel common notions about pole dance through classes, workshops, and performances. They teach open-ended sensual and circus techniques to males and females inside a studio, where two 9-foot and two 14-foot spinning poles let students hone their strength, balance, and flexibility. Instructors reserve an impressive 24-foot static pole for special performances. Above the cushioned floor, stereo and theatrical lighting systems and a ballet bar let visitors warm up for dance performances or avant-garde staged readings of Charles Dickens' stories.
From spacious locker rooms to family-friendly facilities, BodyPlex gyms are built to take the stress out of working out. Fitness machines ranging from cardio equipment to free-motion systems beckon those familiar with the gym scene to jump right into a regime. Newcomers need not stress about a learning curve, as personal instructors power walk the grounds, ready to give one-on-one instruction with an appointment. To ease the workout worries of parents, enthusiastic staff members man the gym's onsite Kidsplex, a youth-focused playroom stocked with crafts, toys, and two different video-game systems. Additionally, those who achieve their best when with like-minded people can break a sweat and their personal fist-bump record in one of the gym's daily fitness classes.
Dolphin Dive Center owner and master diver Tim Bridgham has a philosophy a lot of people can relate to: we spend much of our lives standing on our feet, sitting on our butts in chairs, or sleeping?so getting in the water can be a blissful alternative. As a full-service dive center, Dolphin Dive is a place where students and seasoned divers can get all their gear, as well as the knowledge to put it to good use. Beginners can splash into the heated, indoor pool to get the hang of breathing underwater during the try scuba course, while more seasoned divers and mermen in disguise can take the advanced open water class.