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, Janice also treats bodies with soothing spa treatments such as mud-mask facials and paraffin dips.
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.
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.
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.
Escape Day Spa co-owners Carrie Wheelock and Alicia Liddon know how therapeutic a day at the spa can be. Wheelock, an experienced massage therapist, has witnessed the restoration and healing power of touch while both giving and receiving massages. Liddon, on the other hand, is not only an aesthetician, but also a wife and mother of three who understands the daily stressors of family life. Her passion for healthy skin has helped ground her and was her inspiration for opening her own skincare clinic.
At the spa's new location in Edgewood, the duo and their team perform treatments that range from multimodality massages and facials with organic Babor products to mother-of-pearl body scrubs and mani-pedis with vegan SpaRitual polish. They also create spa packages that allow romantic couples, pairs of best friends, or celebrities and their egos to enjoy chocolates and champagne while relaxing together.
Skilled practitioners at Much Kneaded Massage Therapy manipulate muscle knots with traditional Swedish and deep-tissue techniques, or knead out knots with their bare feet during Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. A Swedish massage’s long, slow strokes work to increase circulation, reduce soreness, and ease stiffness more swiftly than taking a bath in fabric softener. Deep-tissue therapy targets chronic pain and tight muscle knots with more focused pressure. Alternatively, barefoot practitioners grip overhead bars for support during an Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy massage, leveraging their full body weight and masterful tap-dancing technique to achieve the client’s desired level of pressure. This unique style of massage fuses European and Asian techniques and utilizes pulling, pushing, and stretching movements that may help repair damaged soft tissues.
The licensed massage therapists at Breathe Therapeutic Massage knead away at muscle tension and aches with healing segments of bamboo in the comfort of a warm, peaceful treatment room. In varying lengths, these cylindrical sticks roll across different areas of the anatomy, releasing stress, stretching the fascia, and summoning nearby pandas. Each soothing stroke helps improve circulation and drive away toxins parked in the tissue with much of the same efficacy as deep-tissue massage or acupressure.