As advocates of health and beauty for the whole body, Krystal Kincaid and the team at The Natural Way offer customized facials, microdermabrasion, waxing treatments, and therapeutic massage. The studio fosters a passionate belief in natural remedies, and thus only uses natural and organic products—such as paraben-free serums from Skin by Ann Webb—when customizing each treatment to the client's individual issues, from easing acne problems to diminishing the signs of aging. The spa's far-infrared sauna has three spectrums of heat to penetrate the body and relieve pain, improve circulation, aid in weight loss, and boost cell immunity. Clients can augment these benefits by combining an infrared sauna session with a session of the spa's therapeutic massage. In fact, most treatments can be enhanced with an add-on, such as a hydrating foot scrub, or a peppermint cooling scalp massage.
Krystal's journey into the wellness trade began in Florida, where she earned her massage license. When she moved to Austin, her expertise in neuromuscular therapy and Swedish massage proved so impressive to the locals that she soon decided to open her own wellness spa. Her vision found its realization in The Natural Way, a suite spa with four private treatment rooms and a team of therapists who specialize in five types of therapeutic massage. Among these, the ancient method of ashiatsu is a standout. Its foot pressures are designed to ease chronic pains, increase blood flow, and reset the hard drive at the base of the spine.
When Martha Millan says, "Beauty shouldn't hurt," she's not peddling a slogan—her first job in the beauty industry literally caused her pain. Working at an upscale salon, her exposure to common hair and makeup products triggered hives and headaches. While searching for more natural goods for personal use, her research revealed unsettling truths about many industry product lines that often use irritating perfumes to mask the underlying odors of harsh chemicals. Feeling that everyone should have the opportunity to look beautiful without fear of harming health, she bought a salon and transformed it into Salon O Day Spa.
Amid Salon O Day's industrial decor, Millan and her team of stylists, aestheticians, and a massage therapist use products so natural that some are even edible, though Millan imagines the taste would leave something to be desired: barbecue sauce. Among the array of certified-organic, not-tested-on-animals, gluten- and chemical-free products, Millan's favorites include Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare, developed by an American physician who advocates against overexfoliation. For hair, stylists use products from lines including Surface Hair and Organic Color Systems, and during nail services, technicians use natural products from SpaRitual in tandem with scrubs made in-house from ingredients bought at a local co-op.
When Michelle Paris moved from Ohio to San Francisco, it was like entering a new world. A student of both opera and business, she saw the move as a chance to break out of her comfort zone. There, according to her website, she "hugged a tree and bought granola . . . and went to visit a chiropractor." Four visits later, her chronic migraines were gone. When it dawned on her that it had been months since she'd taken the pain-relief pills she was so accustomed to swallowing, she decided to go to medical school.
While volunteering at a hospital, Michelle noticed that prescription drugs were thrown at nearly every ailment, but she didn't want to foist drugs on people if there was another, more natural solution. So she enrolled at Life Chiropractic College West, where she graduated at the top of her class. Since then, this doctor of chiropractic has not only helped more than 3,500 patients back to healthy lifestyles, she's also stayed abreast of the latest healing techniques. For instance, she's become certified in the Graston technique—a method of rehabilitation that helps soft tissue heal after injuries caused by traumatic accidents or time spent operating a rickshaw for sumo wrestlers.
The majority of Total Wellness Austin's treatments are customized to meet the needs of each individual, and they all help to strengthen the relationship between mind and body. Owner Lori Massad-Koska sets the tone by developing individualized yoga programs for her clients that assist in lowering stress and improving flexibility, and a series of online instruction videos allows her students to practice in the comfort of their home or their car on the commute to work. Massad-Koska's classes also incorporate furry best friends in Doga sessions, which allow pooches and their pet humans to stretch together.
In addition to sun salutations, Total Wellness Austin aids its clients in the quest for better health with acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care and prompt extended sweating with boot camps led by certified personal trainers. Their focus on wellness extends from clients to the community in which they live: mental-health workshops raise donations for the family room at the Travis County courthouse, which helps comfort children in trouble, and a band of skilled instructors teach free yoga sessions for vets, their spouses, and bands of migrating penguins.
Viva Day Spa’s owners focus on providing all the services and amenities one would expect from a luxurious spa without an ounce of pretentiousness. At both of the spa’s locations, staffers never turn their noses up—even if there’s a bat hanging from the ceiling. They engage clients with this down-to-earth attitude as they prepare them for massages, facials, and other spa treatments—all of which are administered by award-winning therapists armed with natural and organic products. Both Viva Day Spa locations feature an upscale, modern decor rife with wood accents, and the Lamar location displays perky plants and colorful flowers, as well as whimsical yellow puffy orb lights, natural sunlight, and arched doorways with intricate wood carvings. One of its walls showcases a large expanse of lettering that gives “suggestions on how to live a happy and rewarding life,” and there’s even a round room with a curved, pillow-topped bench circumscribing its curved wall. With warm, almost romantic lighting and rich mocha-colored walls, the spa is anything but sterile and cold. The female-owned spa works to accommodate people’s hectic schedules by staying open seven days a week until 8 p.m.
Skin Zen Spa knows the import role skin plays in people's lives. Acting as the body’s barrier, the skin protects from illnesses and environmental factors. Though this germ armor constantly works to keep the bad stuff out, chemical substances can still break in, which is why Skin Zen Spa commits to treating skin with organic, natural, and botanical products. During one of the spa’s body-coddling treatments, surfaces soften with the use of products from Éminence Organic Skin Care, SkinCeuticals, and Skin Zen Spa’s own signature line. Essential and Premier facials remove dirt and oil in the process of washing away lipsticked cheeks from past family reunions. Waxing treatments banish unwanted hair, and soothing massages chase tension and aches away from muscles.
In order to help clients to maintain routine skincare and bodycare, Skin Zen Spa offers facial and massage memberships, which grant members one facial or massage per month, extended service time, and discounted pricing on services provided they remember the secret handshake.