Exhale Spa seeks to transform its clientele inside and out. The founding team of fitness professionals and aestheticians sought to create an environment where they could empower visitors with pampering spa treatments, invigorating fitness classes, and lifestyle education, helping clients attain a sense of control and holistic balance. Now with 19 locations across 11 cities, Exhale Spa and its signature services have earned mentions in numerous national publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Exhale's signature Core Fusion classes incorporate dance-inspired stretches, yoga poses, and Pilates exercises into total-body workouts that build long, lean limbs and sturdy abdominal muscles over time. For an even more varied workout, the instructors introduce boot-camp techniques, cardio exercises, or multiplication tables to select sessions. Yoga classes present a similar amount of breadth and variety, drawing inspiration from a number of introspective and physically oriented styles. To help hasten physical transformations, nutrition and wellness coaches teach attendees about the impacts of diet. These sessions build an awareness of healthy eating habits through custom meal plans and by teaching clients how to identify the edible parts of a fruit basket.
Many of the center's traditional spa services seek to inspire confidence. Facials pamper and refine skin using everything from green tea and fruit extracts to microcurrent technology, and mani-pedis revitalize digits before glazing nails with a vibrant new coat of color. Bodywork treatments look beyond physical relaxation and focus on holistic concerns. Massage therapists can use Eastern or Western modalities to soothe overstressed musculature, and acupuncture treatments and reiki sessions jump-start natural healing processes by encouraging the free flow of inner energies.
The healthcare practitioners at Advanced Physical Medicine utilize advanced technology in their comprehensive, multifaceted approach to pain management, physical therapy, and fitness. Chiropractic physicians treat injuries and misaligned spines with therapies that include decompression machines, and acupuncture sessions address chronic pain from sciatica or carpal-tunnel symptoms acquired while positioning full-size construction cranes over vending-machine toys. Physical therapists focus on rehabilitating patients who have suffered accidental injuries, incorporating innovative ultrasound and light-therapy treatments to promote healing. To encourage wellness from the inside out, certified colonic therapists rid intestines of accumulated waste and toxins, and weight-loss experts help clients to overcome house clutter by creating extra storage space in their pants.
Both the Chicago and Oak Park locations welcome guests with an abundance of natural light and cheerful green exercise machines. Giving back to the local community is a passion enjoyed by many on the staff, including podiatrist and college-level instructor Dr. Mary Ann Bender, who, along with her students, provides foot care at eight uninsured and homeless clinics in Chicago.
The stylists at XEX Hair Gallery love being in downtown Chicago. “It’s such a blend of different kinds of people down here,” says David Perry, co-founder and lead stylist at the Aveda concept salon. For such a diverse clientele, stylists are trained in-house to master haircare for all ethnicities. They also travel around the country to attend ongoing-education classes. “We always try to stay up on what’s current and what’s in fashion,” Perry says.
There’s a notable visual difference between XEX Hair Gallery and most other salons—pieces of Venetian Murano glass artwork by Raphael Darra provide bold pops of pigment along the salon’s neutral-toned walls. Besides giving the salon a funky, artsy feel, the pieces serve as a metaphor. “Hair is art,” Perry says. “Not only does [the art] bring a lot of color to the salon, it also reflects the individuality of what people are.” If the art on the walls recalls a hip coffee shop or David Geffen's attic, it’s not an unfounded connection. Perry calls his salon a “discharging chamber . . . where people come in and they feel like it’s home. People know your name, you feel welcome, it’s a cool place.”
As for the coffee, the salon serves wine and beer, but someone will run out and get a cup of joe for clients if that’s what they request. Says Perry, “You name it, we’ll get it for them.”
Growing up, Timothy Suh learned that strength could take several forms. His father was a tae kwon do master who helped inspire a lifelong passion for martial arts. His mother waged a two-year battle with cancer, and her passing prompted Timothy to study alternative medicine. Today, he combines these strengths to aid other cancer patients with their pain, linking his acupuncture treatments with tai chi and yoga practices.
The symbiotic relationship between Timothy's specialties underlines Alternative Health Group's primary mission: balance. All his staffers also boast complementary disciplines. For example, licensed massage therapist Danielle Pacific teaches restorative yoga poses to her massage clients, which they can assume at home for further relief or on the sidewalk to bend the rules of hopscotch. This holistic approach allows the team to bring Eastern and Western influences together and to address root causes of symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves. With personalized acupuncture sessions, clinical massage, herbal remedies, and classes in yoga and tai chi, they strive to recalibrate bodies and minds from all angles.
The assorted acupuncturists, chiropractors, and aestheticians of Interchange Medical Wellness Center alleviate assorted ailments with myriad treatments that boost well-being. The skilled staff evaluates clients holistically, examining sleep and exercise habits, stress sources, and grade-school attendance records before recommending a course of treatment. Chiropractic adjustments manipulate misalignments to help heal running injuries, herniated disks, and sciatica, and acupuncture treatments attempt to prime the body’s natural healing processes and melt mental tension. Pilates assists clients in dropping unwanted inches while increasing core control and flexibility, and an assortment of group exercise classes—such as yoga, kickboxing, and full-contact Heads Up, Seven Up—allow clients to shed sweat collectively. To reward physiques for a well-performed workout, Interchange offers muscle-pampering massages and facial treatments blended to reduce the signs of aging and treat such conditions as acne and redness.
Gold Coast Wellness brings both traditional and alternative healing under one roof. But whether a treatment plan involves chiropractic services, physical therapy, rehabilitation, or massage therapy, the center’s staff of physicians and medical professionals follows through with the aid of modern technology, from x-rays for diagnosis to X-wing fighters for defending the airspace over the clinic.
The staff shies away from what they call “ornamental aesthetics,” forgoing soothing music in favor of medical-grade techniques. But the office does hang local artists' paintings and photos on the walls to help guests take their minds off stiff necks and achy muscles. And to prevent mental strain and physical “darn it”-saying, the center provides online scheduling and complimentary valet parking.