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.
Plush robes and slippers, a warm plunge shower, chilled fruit, and glasses of wine—these are all the trademark amenities of All About U. Guests can drop in for a pedicure with a foaming foot soak, or spend a full day at the spa, dissolving tension with body treatments ranging from a four-hands massage to a body wrap that pairs customized-aroma body butter with a mask of plant extracts. Skincare experts harness the enigmatic powers of Dead Sea minerals, green papaya, and vitamin C, and they also treat backs to facials, readying them for strapless dresses or practice streaks at a nudist colony.
In addition to spa services, All About U transforms manes. Its stylists add dimension to tresses with highlights, enhance them with weaves, and create tidy dreadlocks. The spa’s Boyz II Men full-service barbershop handles buzz cuts and razor tape shaves, augmenting their services with hot-towel facials and shoulder massages that ease clients into a zen-like state previously thought attainable only by three-toed sloths.
Tranquil Moments Day Spa, located inside a renovated house built in the 1930s, harkens back to a simpler time when eyes weren't always glued to cell-phone screens and gas cost only 10 cents a gallon. Visitors disconnect from the stresses of the outside world in Tranquil Moments' laidback environment, where they indulge in an array of treatments geared toward relaxation and beautification. All-natural Aveda products lend their anti-aging properties and sweet-smelling aromas to the spa's soothing facials and personalized massages, whereas rejuvenating body wraps and waxing services make recipients look and feel as new as the day they left the human assembly line. Hardworking digits get their due pampering with a variety of rejuvenating mani-pedis that end with a luxurious coat of polish.
"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.