At Wat Po Thai Spa, a 2010 nominee for Best Day Spa by Best of LA, technicians bolster well-being with services that range from traditional Thai massage to skincare. The house-specialty Thai Combo fuses Thai massage, Swedish massage, and reflexology into an international amalgamation of relaxation similar to naptime at the UN. Thai massage harnesses compression, stretching, and rocking techniques to improve circulation of vital energy along the body's pathways, and Swedish massage encompasses gentle strokes such as gliding, kneading, and stretching to increase oxygen flow in the blood and forge full-body tension relief. Patrons walk away from massage sessions with relieved stress, allayed aches, increased internal alignment, and enough flexibility to fold bodies into an empty Pringles can at the first sign of danger.
Certified massage therapist Erin Warfield Shaffer expresses her belief in holistic approaches to wellness by treating bodies to a detoxifying combination of hands, herbs, and hydrotherapy. Shaffer's four massages range from hot-stone techniques that melt tension in backs to reflexology methods that manipulate the feet in an effort to relieve pain in the rest of the body. She also cleanses bodies with such detoxification rituals as the acupoint session, a massage-like treatment that causes key points in the body to absorb healthy herbs so that clients don't have to sleep on a pile of herb-crusted halibut. The center also concocts custom facials and peels that nourish the skin with hydrotherapy, botanicals rich in Vitamin C, and other organic ingredients.
Achieving a sense of physical and mental wellbeing requires more than a daily soak in the vitamin jacuzzi. Luckily, the staff at The Wellness Lounge takes a multifaceted approach to fostering that inner and outer balance. The holistic health practitioners work together to provide nonsurgical, medication-free alternatives to traditional medical procedures, all with the intent of helping their clients live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Those alternatives can take any number of forms. Chiropractic adjustments, for instance, might help restore function throughout the body, while massages can incorporate a variety of specialized modalities to address each recipient's particular concerns. Traditional acupuncture treatments combine with therapies such as moxibustion or cupping to address ailments and promote healing. The clinic moves beyond the purely clinical, too, hosting therapeutic yoga classes that emphasize mind-body connections. And, delivering on the "lounge" half of its name, the center also offers such relaxing touches as an on-site tea room and extremely polite massage chairs.
The certified massage therapists at Massage Thai Way know 72,000 ways to lull the body into relaxation. That's because their treatments follow an ancient system of 72,000 energy pathways known as sen lines, a network that purportedly reaches even to the ears, fingers, and toes. They use acupressure techniques to target these trails during Thai massages, varying the firmness of their pressure to client comfort. Clients remain fully clothed and lie on a futon as the therapists unwind overworked areas, bearing down on aches and guiding the physique through a series of yoga-inspired stretches.
These maneuvers are fully customizable, and the therapists alter their poses depending on the client's needs and habits. For example, they might aim to enhance an athlete's mobility, quell a construction worker's lower-back pain, or remedy common office-job ailments, such as fingers that have become lodged between computer keys. Clients are encouraged to discuss their desired amount of pressure with their practitioner before their 60-, 90-, or 120-minute session.
At SomaSense Bodywork, therapists perform traditional massage, yet specialize in what's known as somatic bodywork. The main tenet of somatic bodywork is that the health of the body is intrinsically tied to the health of the mind. And so it follows that challenges arise when they perform separately instead of in tandem. Somatic treatments combine release of bodily tension with the release of emotional tension, ushering clients toward an overall state of peace.
Massage therapists perform a variety of massage techniques including deep-tissue, Swedish, aromatherapy, and even Ashiatsu, which is performed with the therapists feet while they hang from an overhead bar.
Also fostering this sense of peace is the workspace. Located inside the historic Martin House, the studio is decorated with homey touches, such as cozy wing-back chairs and plush rugs, all of which encourage clients to leave cares at the door.
It takes experience to earn a spot on Advanced Massage Therapeutics’ staff, and its current team has the certifications to prove it. Nationally certified and licensed therapist Melissa Silberman kneads stress from tight muscles with techniques gleaned from more than eight years of experience in clinics and spas. Danielle Vreeland, a California-state-certified therapist, completed 1,000 hours of training before earning the title of staff therapist. The spa puts as much emphasis on its amenities as its staff. Therapists gift each client with a cup of tea or bottle of water during their visit, and conduct each session on memory-foam tables and head rests that conform to clients’ bodies and remind them of the date of their fist kiss.