The fully glass exterior of Aroma Spa exposes the glowing dispositions of staff members bustling between a reception desk and coffee-hued armchairs in the waiting area. Dark cherry cabinetry contrasts polished wood floors and shelves loaded with products from Matrix, OPI, and Bioelements. Dreamy sighs drift from private rooms for body wraps and massages, serving as an aural backdrop to black salon chairs standing in front of mirrors as though they were filled with vain ghosts. Throughout pampering services, patrons sip piping-hot coffee, and full-day spa-goers nibble on a complimentary lunch or dinner amid mint-green walls.
The certified therapists behind Escape Massage knead away curmudgeonly knots seven days a week inside 10 private and two couples massage rooms. Three-inch high-density foam massage tables cushion bodies while warm waves of heat fend off goose bumps as they disperse through fitted cotton-flannel sheets and quiet heaters. After therapists dim the wall sconces, they manipulate sinews with Swedish massage techniques, and optional deep-tissue, aromatherapeutic, and hot-stone techniques, concluding each session with hot towels upon request. Escape Massage also provides prenatal massage tables, which come with specially designed padding and pillows that allow moms-to-be to lay face-down and solicit parenting advice from Mother Earth. Escape Massage is open 7 days a week.
As a certified massage therapist and doula, Alicia Wilburn is adept at caring for bodies in all stages of life. Her broad spectrum of services follows a natural progression, including yoga classes designed to improve fertility, pregnancy massage, comprehensive childbirth support, and infant massages. During spa services, her team employs natural ingredients such as moor mud, sea salt, and sugar to rejuvenate skin worn out by time or a baby's sandpapery hands.
Swedish massage relies largely on a technique known as effleurage. Learn how it zaps stress with Groupon's peek at this basic stroke.
Effleurage is the glue that holds a Swedish massage together. Its smooth, gliding strokes may not deliver much pressure?the word itself is taken from a French verb that means "to touch lightly"?but the technique simultaneously soothes the nerves, boosts circulation, and allows the massage therapist to identify problem zones that need extra attention. Because effleurage doubles as an assessment tool, many therapists begin each massage with it, usually by gliding their open palms lightly across the body to feel for tense spots and potholes while acclimating the client to their touch. This form of effleurage is known as "superficial," and it serves a soothing prelude, epilogue, and transitional movement between deeper, more focused kneading.
A slightly more forceful style of effleurage is known as "deep effleurage." This form still uses gliding strokes, only with more pressure, as the therapist aims to stretch out the muscle tissue and the web of connective tissue that covers it. Therapists will generally direct the first part of their deep-effleurage stroke towards the heart, finishing with a lighter return stroke away from it. Not only does this warm up tissues for deeper muscle work, but it can also speed up the movement of blood and lymph fluid. This boost in circulation can help drain fluid from injured areas, reducing painful pressure while also releasing endorphins that further relax the entire body.
RVA Massage and Wellness’s staff of certified massage therapists is led by owner Stephanie Quinby, who also serves on the state of Virginia’s Advisory Board on Massage Therapy. Quinby and her staff use a variety of techniques to knead away aches and pains, including therapeutic massage, which can help treat an injury; deep-tissue massage, which can alleviate muscle tightness with intense, localized pressure; and sports massage, which can improve range of motion. The massage therapists believe in the importance of a consultation with every client, as it helps them determine the optimal type of massage.
James River's certified massage therapists specialize in a variety of mind-melting modalities. A Swedish massage employs Switzerland's noteworthy tension-easing techniques to manage stress-induced muscle maladies. Athletes who demand dramatic, tear-jerking performances from their bodies can opt for a deep-tissue massage, which increases circulation and expedites recovery from general physical wear and tear. The orthopedic massage is an injury-specific session that targets trauma in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, while its neuromuscular cousin focuses on overall healing and wellness. See detailed descriptions of massage services on James River Massage Therapy's website.