Three times a week, Just U Relax's owner and principal massage therapist paid a 90-minute visit to one of her favorite clients, an elderly Italian woman who could barely speak a word of English. One day after a visit, the woman's daughter called and asked the massage therapist if she could come back again right away, saying her mother was not doing well. She arrived and set to work massaging her client's body, much of which had collapsed inward from a previous stroke. But instead of seeing the usual results, such as the woman's hands relaxing for a short time before tightening back into a bound position, the massage therapist saw her client maintain her peaceful composure. Then, this elderly Italian woman who could speak little English, let alone speak at all due to the effects of her stroke and Alzheimer's disease, looked at her massage therapist and said with perfect clarity, "Thank you." The woman's daughter called later, saying her mother died that evening, and that she wanted to say thank you for giving her mother such comfort before she passed. It was that moment that made the massage therapist realize she knew she could help people.
Raised by a cardiologist, the future owner of Just U Relax and her brother made a pact to go to medical school together, but when she found herself disenchanted by clinical environments and desiring a more hands-on approach to patient care, she explored massage therapy. Today, she and her team of licensed massage therapists at Just U Relax assess posture, gait, and occupational stress to customize bodywork for each client. The staff sees to guests' comfort in a variety of ways, including giving visitors warm robes and plush slippers, using massage tables with triple-cotton-padded tops, and playing relaxing music as aromatherapy wafts between rooms. Therapists also offer clients snacks such as fruit smoothies and granola bars. Additionally, each therapist is required to undergo at least three hours of training each month to learn new massage techniques and stay sharp.
Marengo Luxury Spa resides within The Arcade—a retail oasis formerly known as "Cleveland's crystal palace." Founded in 1890, The Arcade rises five stories high, summiting at a glass ceiling that spans the area of a football field. On the way to Marengo Luxury Spa, patrons traverse Roman marble walkways and pass gilded carvings, iron balconies, and cast-iron griffins. Upon arrival, clients consult with a spa specialist who personalizes a treatment plan that may include massage therapy or treatments for skin, hair, or nails. Throughout appointments, clients enjoy a variety of refreshments including coffee and biscotti or herbal tea and blocks of tofu. Calling itself "a perfect sanctuary in which to retreat and discover a new you," Marengo Luxury Spa exudes the palatial ambiance of The Arcade itself.
Fitworks is home to a dedicated cadre of certified muscle architects who guide eager physiques through intense, small group workouts. Peruse the schedule before sampling a tension-undoing yoga class or a weekend-morning muscle-pump session, ideal for prepping for an underwater bench-press that will determine the office's next round of promotions. One-hour Zumba classes harness the rhythmic power of merengue, conga, belly dancing, and more to kill calories while resuscitating sleepy toes. After classes, students can freshen up or flex unused singing muscles in Fitworks' shower facilities.
The nails artists at Polished Nails do much more than paint nails. They layer on hues and dream up bold designs that often incorporate everything from glitter polish to faux crystals to scratch-n-sniff lacquer. But the team doesn't just seek to dazzle clients with their artistic whims?they also seek to help customers relax. Plush pedicure chairs pull double duty by massaging backs while feet luxuriate in soothing soaks and technicians clip, file, and buff keratin sheets back to health.
Artistic prowess doesn't just appear overnight. It takes years of practice. That's why each of Dino Palmieri's salons, including the Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa, employs stylists dedicated to staying at the top of their games. The skilled stylists give each client one-on-one attention to ensure every hair service comes as close to the client's vision as possible, which is why it was named by readers of Cleveland Scene as the best hair salon in the city. The stylists add depth to hair with highlights, smooth rebellious strands with GKhair treatments, and apply expert perms to reshape hair's texture until each strand would turn Louis XIV green with baroque envy. That same level of personalized attention carries over into the salon's meticulous nail services, which clients can upgrade with moisturizing white-tea masks or herbal foot peels. Waxing sessions use body-safe Nufree botanical wax to keep skin calm and collected while hair says its goodbyes. Deep-cleansing Darphin facials can be infused with essential oils and plant ingredients such as orange blossom and licorice to relax clients and bring them closer to nature than sharing a hibernation den with their favorite grizzly family.
Anna Beauty Center’s therapists and aestheticians evince a passion for beauty as they eradicate stress and blemishes with massages and diamond-tipped microdermabrasion treatments. When they aren’t exfoliating and hydrating skin, they enhance complexions with cosmetic makeovers and groom bushy tails with waxing services. For added inspiration, they surround themselves with Shiseido, Skin Renew, and qiora products.