Over her 15 years as a fitness instructor, Ananda Shala's owner, Aimee Firor McBride developed a special passion for yoga and Pilates. Her love of the practice led her to India, and into the studios of renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea during her more than 500 hours of teacher studies. She draws upon this experience as she helms a coterie of certified instructors who lead groups through classes and workshops. On hardwood floors flooded with natural sunlight, instructors guide students through Prana Flow Vinyasa yoga for all levels, hot yoga in an 80- to 90-degree room, and meditation classes.
In addition to yoga, instructors also teach Pilates, including mat classes, sessions that integrate weights and strength training, and machines that help lengthen and strengthen muscles. During private sessions they help students work on individual needs or master a specific technique such as folding laundry with their feet. Corporate workshops help business people soothe their minds during stressful situation, and special events such as yoga parties and classes for kids and teens explore yoga in a fun environment.
When one of the cofounders of Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa was diagnosed with cancer in her 30s, her doctor put her on the most aggressive chemo and radiation therapies available. As her immune system fought the cancer, her body absorbed the side effects. A longtime friend recommended acupuncture to counteract the suffering; though she was initially skeptical of the holistic procedure, she agreed to give it a try. After just one appointment, she felt her senses awaken. Further treatments permanently changed the way she looked at health care, making her feel like a brand-new person and convincing her to share her discoveries with as many people as she could.
At Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa, she does just that, combining venerated Eastern wisdom with professional spa products to deliver healing massages and rejuvenating facials. Within earth-toned treatment rooms draped with russet curtains, massage therapists ease muscle tension and redirect chi—the energy that regulates the body’s functions and suppresses its natural appetite for hangnails—with focused acupressure techniques. Thalgo facials employ marine botanicals, such as regenerative algae, to nourish and hydrate complexions.
Imagine dropping a stone into a pond. Though the stone only touches a small portion of the water's surface, the effects of the impact radiate throughout the entire pool. Reflexology is based on a similar idea—as a therapist stimulates pressure points on the feet, the effects are said to affect the entire body. At Magic Foot Spa, practitioners specialize in this therapy, first soaking feet in water warmed over the blushing cheeks of an ankle-anxious Victorian before targeting pressure points that correspond with various body organs. As practitioners increase pressure on each foot, the manipulation can ease muscular tension and release energy blockages in the digestive, immune, and circulatory systems.
The team also performs full-body acupressure treatments that are based on similar principles. These gentle massages work by activating the key pressure points used in acupuncture, but with fingers, palms, and elbows instead of needles. As clients lie fully clothed on a massage table, therapists focus on these points—which are believed to correspond with the body's energy channels—so that they can balance opposing energy forces and thus improve bodily function.
Co-owner Rebeccah Bartlett Leister of Structures Salon and Spa will not trade jobs with you. "I love that every single day I am here I laugh out loud," she says on her staff bio page. "I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy my 'work' this much." One draw may be the salon and spa's proprietary organic and natural products that are crafted by a small family business. Another draw might be the encouragement staff members receive to augment the products' powers with rounds of continuing education and creative projects such as fashion shoots, makeup design, and hair-coloring experiments. Leister herself has experience designing makeup for Vanity Fair and InStyle magazines.
Wide windows illuminate Structures Salon and Spa so that stylists can mix colors in optimum light and let new hairdos photosynthesize. Colorful yarn twines around stair railings to create chromatic triangles, and appliqué birch trees stand tall along the lobby's windows.
Husband-and-wife team Dr. Alan Rohrer and Ann Rohrer, a certified electrologist and master cosmetologist, founded Crystal Lume Medical Spa in an effort to help clients achieve their cosmetic goals with modern, noninvasive technologies. Ann brings an artists' eye to electrolysis, laser procedures, and microdermabrasion, working to illuminate natural beauty and reveal the da Vinci goddess hidden beneath depleted skin cells. Dr. Rohrer also emphasizes clients' good looks, rejuvenating facades with Botox, wrinkle fillers, Juvéderm, and other aesthetic services. They also wield lasers to eradicate unwanted tattoos and perform therapeutic massages to help erase tension caused by walking around with a tattoo that says "kick me."
LaVida Massage believes massages should be available to everyone. They back up this belief not only by offering a wide range of techniques—athletes, mothers-to-be, and office workers alike can find a modality to suit them—but also by making the massage process easy. Each of their massage sessions last 60 minutes: the middle 50 minutes are reserved for the massage itself, and the last five minutes allow time for redressing. The five minutes that precede every service go toward a consultation where clients can discuss individual concerns, such as neck tension from leaning over a computer keyboard or foot soreness from driving their car like the Flintstones.