The deft hands of Debra Florio, the owner of Contour Body Works and a licensed massage therapist in her own right, alternate between firm pressures and gentle strokes as they sweep over backs in relaxing massage sessions. Debra and her team of therapists rely on a mix of Eastern and Western techniques—from the gentle, full-body strokes of Swedish massage to the shiatsu acupressure and sliding bamboo shoots of bamboossage—to drive away tension accumulated while hanging from cliffs or betting whether strangers are left-handed.
Contour Body Works’ relaxing spa services don’t end with massage. The center’s licensed facial specialists cleanse pores of dirt and oil during European facials that include steaming, extractions, and a mask tailored to each client’s skin type. Dead Sea salt exfoliates skin during salt-glow sessions, and alternative treatments such as mud wraps and infrared-sauna sessions penetrate the skin’s superficial layers to expel toxins and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Similarly innovative treatments include magnetic therapy, which draws on the science of polarity to balance the body’s vibrations and realign the needles on wonky internal compasses.
From within Queens' Club Fitness, Infinity Spa Salon strikes an effective balance between natural skincare and advanced aesthetic treatments. Located a short distance from New York City, aestheticians clear and brighten complexions with seven types of facials infused with vitamin C and hydroquinone-free lightening ingredients, and they also use the exfoliating powers of mechanical microdermabrasion. Unwanted hairs can be effortlessly removed using an all-natural, beeswax-infused formula from GiGi or the advanced technology of an Alma Soprano XL laser, which permanently removes hair from any skin type including ghosts' see-through complexions. In massage treatment rooms, therapists rely on 10 different modalities, including the ancient techniques of Thai massage and shiatsu, to release tight muscles and improve circulation.
Infinity's focus on harmony is also apparent in the salon and spa's interior design, which melds contemporary decor with natural earth elements, such as bamboo plants and warm brown walls.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
For nearly 12 years now, the massage experts at Armando's Day Spa have tailored each massage to address and correct conditions ranging from poor posture to chronic pain. With a combined total of more than 2,000 hours of instruction, the team knows just where to place hot stones to melt pent-up tension, as well as the exact therapeutic techniques that can help muscles recover from injuries sustained in the workplace, on the sports field, or following an automobile accident. But their soothing services don't stop at massage. Body wraps corral the power of volcanic earth clay to increase circulation and help expel toxins, and facials with microcurrent technology help retrain facial muscles and reduce their dependency on battery power. Even the nail services at Armando's can have therapeutic benefits—the spa's signature manicures and pedicures blend in seaweed masks, mineral clay, and other vitamins and marine extracts to help soothe arthritis and reduce joint inflammation, leaving hardworking appendages feeling as healthy as they look.
Acqui Spa’s cocktail- and travel-themed services channel the luxury of a tropical vacation inside vibrantly colored treatment rooms. Facials and body wraps cull smells and flavors from classic cocktails; in the ultimate mai tai body wrap, for instance, infusions of coconut lend serums an exotic aroma, and tangy lemongrass mimics the refreshment of a first sip. Vacation-themed services jet the senses away on distant retreats with far-flung ingredients such as Pacific salts, Polynesian florals, and seaweed harvested by trilingual octopi. The highly trained staff regularly looks to Europe for cutting-edge beauty treatments, such as injections of stem cells—harvested from French cows in a cruelty-free process—designed to smooth and firm skin.
The private, tropical-themed treatment rooms treat the eyes to crisp citrus hues or cool ocean blues. In the waiting room, chaises made of minimalist white leather offset the boldness of walls’ lime-green hue and the busyness of their packed poster-modeling schedule.
At International Massage, Asian-inspired décor, glowing candles, and spa music work in tandem to nurture a tranquil and relaxing environment. Before their appointments, guests wait in a quiet waiting room where they can watch videos that describe the various types of massage offered by the clinic. Once they've been escorted to their private treatment room, they're free to relinquish pent-up pain and tension as trained specialists knead at sore muscles using a custom blend of techniques. To keep the feel-good vibes flowing throughout the body, International Massage also offers Chinese cupping treatments that promote better blood flow, as well as ionic detox foot baths that aim to coax toxins from the kidneys, liver, and colon to ensure the body passes its yearly emissions test.