Licensed massage therapist Kimberly M. Johnson employs seven different styles of kneads to release her clients’ physical and emotional tensions. An annual participant in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Kimberly knows firsthand that athletic movements—as well as day-to-day activities—can put a strain on the body’s muscles. She combines her knowledge of anatomy with a compassionate approach during 60- to 90-minute Swedish massages that unwind knotted muscle fibers with alternating pressures. Aside from this popular modality and its deep-tissue sibling, Kimberly targets athletic ailments with specialized sports massages and prepares muscles for mashing with warm, smooth stones placed along the back or hurled at spots of tension.
The barbers and stylists on Butler's executive grooming team are specially trained to deal with the rugged majesty of a man's hair and skin. They use high-end grooming products, such as Jack Black, Molton Brown, and Anthony, to ensure the classiest haircut ($38) possible. The hot towels and pre-shave oils of Butler's signature hot-lather shave ($30) are so relaxing you might need to be pinched when prompted for your choice of straight razor or Mach-3 razor. Escape to the comforts of Butler's manspa while meticulous manicurists rejuvenate your nails ($25). Finally, understanding the symbiotic relationship between a gentleman and his hard shoe, Butler's shoeshiner will give your foot-protecting friends the luster they deserve ($7).
Though she had never experienced a massage of her own, Janice Amyson knew that she had found her calling as soon as she entered massage school. She carried this initial passion through her courses and into her career at The Amazing Hands Therapeutic Massage, where today she strives to empathize with her aching clients. To make sure that she understands and addresses their individual aches, Amyson never begins treatment without a brief consultation. This all-important sit-down, during which she inquires about areas of particular soreness, allows her to customize sessions that may incorporate modalities such as deep-tissue massage, TMJ treatment, repetitive-use therapy, and medical massage.
The treatment room’s low lighting, aromatherapy candles, and lush green plants join together to soothe frazzled nerves. Arbonne lotions and a heated table aid Amyson’s nimble fingers as she unkinks knotted musculature and rewires cybernetic limbs. Other therapeutic elements include Mentholatum, which opens sinuses to allow for easier breathing, and foot warmers to comfort cold toes. In this same room, Amyson also treats bodies with soothing spa treatments such as mud-mask facials and paraffin dips.
Soft, relaxing music battles audible oohs and aahs at Kacey Mayo's massage studio, where the licensed massage therapist calls upon her training in seven modalities to dissolve stress and pain. Mayo encourages clients to speak up about their expectations and needs so that she can tailor her services to treat past injuries and other areas of concern. Electric warmers keep massage beds toasty, and the specialist uses heated packs to keep unmassaged areas warm throughout each session.
If she were handed a list of humanity's basic needs, Crystal Sutton might write "relaxation" just beneath "food, water, and shelter." The licensed massage therapist believes that cutting down on stress at the spa shouldn't be a special occasion, but a regular occurrence. She even began a massage membership program to encourage monthly visits.
Crystal—who graduated from University of Alabama with a biology degree—backs up that perspective by citing its many benefits, which range from a decrease in chronic pain to better blood pressure. She strives to achieve these results in her clients with a handful of methods. Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages complement specialized styles, such as a TMJ treatment—focused tissue work around the mouth that relieves pain in the jaw from trying to swallow whole grapefruits. For less medicinal treatments, Crystal keeps cosmetologist Michelle on staff who upgrades appointments with a mani-pedi or facial.
The expert tress tamers on the New Talent Team at Richard Joseph SalonSpa—Birmingham magazine's 2011 Best of Birmingham winner—snip, style, and color locks with Aveda products. After stylists consult with clients on whether to go for a classic cut or an avant-garde clip, a clarifying and stress-relieving shampoo massages scalps while gently cleansing manes. Next, a stylist reduces hair density and molds follicles into face-framing devices. With the full-color or highlights option, Aveda Hair Color’s 97% naturally derived formula revamps head gardens with vibrant color that either covers every strand or rewards specific locks for not harboring fugitive snakes. A complimentary 20-minute hand or foot massage relaxes appendages and adds a luxurious touch to the salon experience.