Essential Kneads Wellness Spa Inc.’s owner and proprietor, Billie Jo Stokes, first learned the subtle arts of holistic healing from her Aunt Donna. Aunt Donna’s teachings opened the door to what would become Billie Jo’s life calling: to help clients heal with therapies such as Reiki and without the use of drugs or invasive medical therapies. She welcomes her clients into a realm of relaxation, where an Oriental motif of wall-hung fans and bedspreads combines with abundant plant life, wooden fixtures, and soft rugs. In these spaces, Billie Jo helps clients completely let go of the outside world and all of the anxieties and humanoid robots from the future that reside there.
Once it makes its way in through the large window draped in elegant red cloth, sunlight refracts off the many mirrors lining the earth-toned walls, illuminating the staffers as they wield scissors, nail brushes, or specialized facial ingredients. At hairstyling stations, certified Redken color specialists dye strands with flattering hues, and Great Lengths hair-extension experts elongate locks without inconspicuously feeding them into a moving escalator. Nail techs in a private suite draw from shelves of OPI polish during mani-pedis designed to gussy up natural or acrylic nails. The resident aesthetician, meanwhile, can perform waxing and skincare services and highlight features with permanent-makeup applications. For special events, such as weddings and dances, the entire team eagerly joins forces to help clients look their best.
Amid hair-snipping stylists, licensed aesthetician Nikki Shahan attends to epidermal needs. Nikki employs custom skin masks, powerful chemical peels, ultrasonic treatments, and grandmotherly cheek pinches to rejuvenate skin of all types.
Aesthetician Agnes Logue honed her skincare expertise in Europe before chartering her specialty facials and complexion-restoring prowess to U.S. soil. From her comfortable and relaxing office, she unveils fresher, smoother skin on faces and full bodies using Pevonia products, which feature prominently into facials and microdermabrasion treatments designed to edge out blemishes, dead skin, and ingrown glitter. The 25-year industry veteran also helps her guests become their aesthetic best through eyelash tinting and perming and body-waxing services.
Equipped with an all-natural paste refined throughout the ages, New Beginnings Skin Care & Massage’s therapists abolish unwanted hair from a variety of bodily geography with the ancient Egyptian method of body sugaring. After entrapping hair from root to tip in the sticky glaze, therapists gently lift hair out in its natural direction, freeing surfaces from fuzzy patches or worn out Dukakis '88 bumper stickers. Less painful than waxing, sugary remedies can be applied anywhere on the body, including the eyebrows ($15+), the bikini line ($25+), or the chest and abs ($65). Sugar treatments begin to deplete follicles after several sessions, often forcing threads to disappear completely before starting new lives as mysterious strangers in hardscrabble mountain towns.
Old Hot Springs Resort sources natural mineral water from 35,000 feet below the Earth’s surface to fill pools and baths for a health-enriching experience. The springs carry a lengthy history, including use by settlers back in 1849 on their way to the gold rush, and before then by Washoe Indians perfecting their synchronized diving routines. The water teems with healthy minerals such as sulfate to strengthen skin and hair, calcium to fortify bones, and potassium to aid muscle function.
Adults splash and swim in aquamarine outdoor pools kept at 98 degrees in the summer and 102 degrees in the winter, or sunbathe on the surrounding patio. Meanwhile, private baths, with water from 95 to 110 degrees, proffer an intimate place for couples to canoodle and spies to exchange confidential microfiche. Staffers drain and refill pools every day, barring the use of chemicals or city water to maintain the mineral water’s purity. After soaking, patrons can deepen their relaxation with a hot-stone massage, held in a hushed room lit with petite lights, or snag refreshments from an onsite restaurant and bar.