Jenn Guerra is a person of many talents. The certified massage therapist practices numerous forms of bodywork, from the intense pressure of deep-tissue massage to the targeted manipulation of trigger-point therapy and acupressure. But she knows just as much about the spirit as she does the body. She regularly holds spiritual readings in private sessions, at events and parties, and even over the phone, as long as the client’s line isn’t being tied up by someone going on the Internet in 1995. For all of these services, Jenn Guerra can work out of her office or travel directly to clients' homes.
At Salon 525, aesthetician Brooke Matthews freshens faces with time-tested spa techniques in its spacious Main Street studio. Brooke’s nimble fingers begin each classic European facial with a thorough cleansing that removes excess dirt or leftover triceratops makeup from last night’s Jurassic Park reenactment. Next, the face is scoured with a magnifying glass to carefully extract blackheads, whiteheads, and other pore-plugging impurities before clearing away dull, dead skin cells during a vigorous exfoliation. A soothing mask customized to the client’s skin type lets each face absorb a precise mix of nutrients, moisturizers, and geography facts. Finally, the beauty bolsterer relieves tension and boosts circulation with a soothing face, neck, and shoulder massage.
Inside its golden, Romanesque spa space, Renaissance and its legions of 25-plus cater to muscles, manes, and minds. After an initial consultation, the skincarists will design a treatment facial for your skin condition. Each service includes a sudsy, double cleansing of cheeks, chins, and noses, along with exfoliation and necessary extractions. During the cleaning, a beauty-savvy cartographer assesses skin topography in preparation for a Face Mapping, which, in addition to targeting skin tone with steam treatment, determines whether or not your face is caked in peanut butter. All cleansing is followed with a face, neck, and shoulder massage, along with a clarifying masque and moisturizer.
Situated in a historic neighborhood under the shadow of Sequoia National Park, Liza's Day Spa steeps the senses in tranquility with essential-oil aromas, Asian-inspired décor, and the sounds of burbling water. Skilled massage therapists mend tense backs with modalities ranging from Swedish and deep tissue to shiatsu and craniosacral, each helping to eradicate tension, chronic pain, and ill feelings toward mouthy shoulder blades. In a bath of warm, polished stones, patrons wiggle digits to prep them for the gentle shaping and polishing of hot-stone mani-pedis, and diamond-tipped microdermabrasion and custom facials help exfoliate and hydrate the skin.
Like leaving someone at the altar to elope with a true love, Akari Skin & Body Care owner Julienne James left hair school. It was 1987, and she had been giving her friends mini massages on the side. "I didn't have a true interest in my heart to do hair because of all the chemicals," she explained, "and [my friends] felt better after I did just a little bit of shoulder massage." That passing fancy was formalized through the massage therapy program at Therapeutic Learning Center in Fresno, aesthetician's training at Federico's Beauty College in Visalia, and a vow-renewal ceremony for her and her hands, creating a commitment to holistic health and skincare that she has sustained for more than a quarter-century.
Julienne exercises her passion on clients who range in age from 12 to 90 years. Treatments begin not atop the massage table she modified with extra padding and a tiny, hidden pea, but at the doorstep. The aromas of lavender and clary sage waft from the softly lit space, as these are some of her favorite scents for blending into massage oils and foot lotions. She acquired her knowledge of aromatherapy in England, where she also expanded her repertoire of Swedish, Shiatsu, and therapeutic massage with an Indian acupressure technique targeting stress in the scalp and neck. Massages are usually a fusion of these styles, which are further customized with the heat of the room and the presence or absence of scents and music. Julienne once noticed that a client who teaches piano recognized the classical music she turned on during the session, and has since been very careful about selecting tunes that would not remind anyone of going to work. Her meticulousness also extends to skin. Facials use additive-free Dermalogica products that won out against other brands in a personal, several-month-long test, and her wax is so thorough it can rid clients of hair and the memory thereof.
Guided by the beautifying paws of owner Betty Hernandez, Exposé Salon and Day Spa's staff of skilled aestheticians tend to crumbling façades with the European facial, a traditional skin-soothing treatment that awakens tired pores. The luxuriating service begins with a skin analysis followed by a deep pore cleansing to rid skin of toxins and impurities as a burst of steam exfoliation eradicates lurkers nestled into skin potholes. The treatment concludes with a hand and face massage to ease tension, and the expression maker is slathered in a tailored mask and crowned with a kiss of hydration.