Aquarium maintenance might seem like a strange background for an expert in neuromuscular therapy and deep-tissue massage, but that's exactly how massage therapist Lynne Luckow got her start. She decided to change careers after reading about the health benefits of massage and went on to study anatomy, physiology, and medical massage at Aesthetics University. She opened Healing Hands Therapy Center in 1993 and continued her training with renowned professionals in the field of alternative medicine. Eventually, she grew her practice to the point where she was working 12 hours a day, six days a week, roughly the amount of time it takes to give a full-body massage to a really big whale. Luckow knew it was time to expand: the center is now home to eight highly trained massage therapists, who earned it nominations in CityVoter's Best Massage category in 2011.
In addition to performing massages, Luckow promotes physical and emotional healing with Ayurvedic counseling and meditation. She has further rounded out her team with licensed acupuncturist Brenda Sherman, who holds a Master of Science in acupuncture and oriental medicine.
"Massage is my passion," says Nick West, a licensed massage therapist who channeled his interest in physiology and his desire to help people into a worthwhile career. Prior to each session, which takes place in a warm, private room filled with soft music and the purr of a thousand kittens, he chats with clients to get a sense of their emotional, mental, and physical needs. This allows him to custom tailor their treatment, whether incorporating soothing Swedish strokes or targeted deep-tissue kneads to achieve the most effective results. Though happy to assuage general aches, Nick finds the greatest reward in helping those suffering from chronic-pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and cancer.
Divine Massage Therapy induces a multisensory, full-body feeling of tranquility by combining tension-melting massages with soothing music, soft lighting, and scented essential oils. Beyond basic relaxation massages, specialty treatments include a Fire and Ice massage that transitions between warm and cool stimuli to ease pain. Raindrop therapy sees the therapist sprinkling the skin with 12 essential oils to mimic the relaxing feel of gently falling rain, then massaging them into the skin to create a tingling sensation that mimics the relaxing feel of a gentle jellyfish kiss. During each massage, guests can rest their eyes on work from local artists, such as oil paintings by Rob Shaw, which they may purchase to take a piece of the studio’s serenity home with them.
The skilled staff at Back to Essentials uses alternative therapies in a holistic and preventive approach to health. Services range from detoxification treatments such as colon hydrotherapy and ionic footbaths to pain-easing massages and chiropractic adjustments. In addition to quelling aches and ousting toxins, an infrared sauna can give skin a healthy glow, like that of a comet that?s just run a marathon. To help clients cultivate healthy lifestyles, Dr. W. Claire Wages teaches them about anatomy, physiology, and the dynamics of disease prevention.
Nora Elkin noticed that those around her were settling for stress—shrugging it off as normal. So in becoming a licensed massage therapist, she made it her mission to show clients how truly relaxing stasis can be with a dynamic menu of healing massages. In her cozy McCrory building studio, Nora and her fellow therapist, David Williams, pair flowing Swedish strokes with luxurious add-ons such as hot stones and aromatherapy to improve circulation and alleviate long-held tension.
The products used at Wisteria Aveda Salon Spa harness the beautifying power of plants and flowers. In line with the Aveda philosophy of caring for the earth, the stylists here wash and primp hair with naturally derived shampoos and pomades, and makeup artists flatter features with mineral-based powders and recycling stickers. Organic keratin and protein treatments tame frizzy locks, and botanical waxes whisk away unwanted fuzz.