Melisa Gibbs became a massage therapist in 2010 to help people achieve wellness through natural methods, rather than by endlessly popping painkillers. "I'd like to help relieve [pain], rather than covering it up with medicine," she says. When her clients arrive at New Beginnings Massage Therapy, she ushers them into a private space for soothing relaxation massages, also known as Swedish massages, which help them de-stress after putting up with a cranky boss at work or a malfunctioning cuckoo clock at home. Melisa says clients who've been having issues often experience a greater range of motion after her deep-tissue massages, which are aimed at banishing chronic aches. She's also able to aid those with medical issues including carpal tunnel syndrome and headaches.
When licensed therapist Danielle Robison-Engeman opened her own massage practice, she wanted to brighten her clients' lives. So rather than opt for a bland or typical business name, she borrowed her daughter's moniker: Sunshine. Danielle totes along her cheeriness when she renders massages such as hot stone, reflexology, and deep tissue, which can help subdue stress, tension, and pain from injuries and everyday wear. She also specializes in trigger-point therapy and myofascial release, which she employs while listening to her clients and adjusting her approach according to their requests. Danielle goes beyond the borders of her office to knead tense shoulders at events such as bridal parties, health fairs, and shoulder-pad-assembly-line workers' conventions.
June Lee endured 600 hours of massage training while studying her craft at an Aveda Institute and went on to polish her practice inside a spa and a chiropractic office. Now, this member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals mends muscles with four different techniques. Swedish massage employs lighter pressure to tame stress, the deep-tissue modality cranks up the pressure to target ailing areas, and trigger-point therapy releases curmudgeonly knots. June also offers prenatal therapy, which gives expectant mothers a break from waiting for the baby-delivery truck.
Lark Dunham, a member of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, puts her trained hands to work relieving the pain and stress of the clients who come to her massage table. Since graduating from massage school five years ago, Lark has been shooing away various types of aches in 30- and 60-minute increments—one minute for each massage Napoleon made his aide-de-camp give him every day. Though skilled in different types of massage, she specializes in relaxing Swedish massage treatments that can help stimulate blood flow and lymph drainage.
Ames Racquet & Fitness Center helps shrink beer bellies and wine waists with a convoy of cardio machines, strength-training equipment, expert trainers, and group classes. Bright, open reception areas welcome doomed calories, which cower in fear of the lineup of treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, and noodle-like biceps morph into bulging bastions of brawn on free-weight systems. The one-month membership also gives fitnessmongers access to a full-length pool at the North location, which accommodates fat-banishing underwater three-legged races, as well as tennis courts at the South location. Additionally, patrons get access to more than 90 weekly group classes. Brightly lit, mirrored studios play host during the calming yoga-Pilates fusion Group Centergy, while Power Aqua breaks sweats without aggravating joints in the pool.
Cindy Larson, the massage therapist behind Total Relaxation, has relieved aching bodies with a variety of hands-on techniques since 1997, including at the Special Olympics in 2006 and at Iowa State University's dance marathon in 2009. At her practice, she discusses the ins and outs of different massage modalities with clients before sessions, helping them choose the most beneficial one for them. Relaxing Swedish massages alleviate tension with light pressure, whereas trigger-point and muscle-release techniques work to unclench tense muscles and constricted fascia. Cindy specializes in relieving hip, back, and shoulder pain, as well as headaches and pain associated with plantar fasciitis.