Elvis Dur wants you to shut your mind off. "Nowadays everything is so fast, everything is so hectic . . . Just be [here]. Just relax 100 percent," he says. "Here" is Body in Balance, a haven that treats massage as a component of healing that can greatly affect the mental and physical states of clients. Dur's holistic approach is influenced, in part, by his experience working with body and emotional challenges as a physical therapist in Romania. When he and his family came to the United States, Dur began anew with massage therapy, but "I offer a different approach." Before each massage, Dur offers clients hot tea and asks them questions about their week to help erase everyday stress. "In this job, you need to talk to people," he says. Based on customers' massage preferences and emotional goals, Dur customizes therapeutic massages and other treatments to help improve clients' well being, encourage rejuvenation, and relieve tension and knots in problem areas. Unlike a doctor's office or clinic, clients can sip hot tea in the cozy relaxation room post-massage as quiet music and aromatherapy waft through the air. Read Body in Balance's mission statement here.
The Akemi Fitness Method studio hosts a mix of alternative workout classes that incorporates a range of movements to tone muscles, improve equilibrium, and enhance endurance. Inspired by the results-oriented Lotte Berk Method, this workout style engages students in core exercises, dance, yoga, and light weight training during a variety of classes. Laura Baginski of Time Out Chicago notes that the Akemi barre class caused her to "walk out feeling taller, leaner," thanks to its combination of ballet barre exercises, Pilates, and free weights. Combat fit classes combine elements from ballet, hip-hop, kickboxing, and yoga, adding in cardiovascular exercises to burn fat and light resistance training to sculpt frames until they achieve the angular glisten of a Roman statue. An hour of the arms, abs and booty session firms appendages, six-packs, and seats. With classes held throughout the day, seven days a week, Akemi's calendar accommodates students with all types of schedules.
Lisa Faremouth Weber, the founder and owner of Heaven Meets Earth, wanted her studio to be a sacred space where students could come for a regular yoga practice and leave refreshed. That's why her commitment to student health reaches beyond the classes and into the very nontoxic paint that coats the studio's walls. Heaven Meets Earth is one of Evanston's only green yoga studios, featuring sustainable bamboo floors, an eco-boutique, and paper products made out of still-living trees.
Certified instructors lead the studio's workshops, teacher-training, meditation classes. They teach students to control their breath and build strength during Sacred Vinyasa classes, and also branch out into Pilates and dance-fitness classes. Teen, child, and family classes instill a sense of peace and focus in the light-filled studio, which features a wall of inspirational quotes.
Nearly a decade ago, master-stylist Jarmen Kordou founded J. Antou Salon in Aveda's established tradition of beauty, health, and earth friendliness. Offering services from cuts to color to nail and skincare, Kordou and crew transform exteriors with Aveda products rendered largely from organic ingredients such as marshmallow root, sunflower oil, and nut-seed pigment from Brazil. With this garden-grown palette at their disposal, the stylists take a personal, consultative approach to beauty, customizing treatments to their clients' face shape, lifestyle, and fedora-wearing habits.
At Asha SalonSpa, aestheticians and massage therapists combine forces to ensure the whole-body well-being of clients. Spa services such as facials, microdermabrasions, and prenatal care coddle the corpus from head to toe, beginning with a neck pillow and cup of tea. At the salon, makeup and nail services revitalize faces and fingers, and hair treatments such as cuts and color rely on Aveda’s natural line of products. Asha also offers several massages, including deep-tissue, couples, and chakra-balancing modalities, allowing patrons to unwind without setting off their clockwork motors.
Steven Papageorge opened his one-man salon in 1983, and like so many strands, it grew and flourished to include multiple locations and even a hair academy. Today, the salons continue to beautify clients with stylish cuts and a number of hue-altering services—such as highlights, color blocking, and ammonia-free Inoa color. The staff’s arsenal includes products from American Crew and Moroccanoil, with the latter adding shine and strength to hair.