When Carissa Ballard was a little girl, she revamped her dolls' hairdos and slathered her brothers' faces with her own special concoctions. Her youthful experiments gave way to an interest in alternative health and herbology and eventually led her to become a registered massage therapist with specialties in lymphatic drainage, reiki, and craniosacral therapy. When she isn’t honing her massage talents in educational courses and apprenticeships, Carissa volunteers her skills as a clinical aesthetician to organizations such as Look Good...Feel Better, a nonprofit dedicated to boosting the self-esteem of cancer and burn survivors.
With such a diverse skill set, Carissa needed a place where she could consolidate all of her talents under one roof. Thus, she opened European Day Spa of Fredericksburg in 1998. As its name implies, the spa invokes the most luxurious corners of Europe, from the opulent interiors of Paris to the plush kneading tables of a Roman pizzeria. Its slate of skin-therapy and body treatments includes spa packages with add-ons such as carriage rides and rooftop wine preludes.
The friendly staff at Bella Luz aims to exponentially increase the confidence of its clientele via beautifying services administered in a lush spa environment. Potted flowers, a high ceiling, and woodsy artwork give the space an airy, natural vibe in which customers can sip on a selection of gourmet coffee and juice while bracing beauty nodules for imminent improvement.
Over the past 10 years, massage therapist Marli Benedict has honed and perfected her knot-banishing skills through a bevy of continuing-education courses in the United States and in Costa Rica. Her arsenal of techniques includes Swedish massage, hot-stone, acupressure, and Thai massage, ensuring that she has the tools to ease discomfort in nearly every client. To thoroughly manipulate tense muscles, Marli keeps her own sinews strong by exercising regularly and practicing massage on anxious mounds of pie dough.
Salon Infusion offers a rejuvenating environment stuffed to the aquaducts with trained professionals. Pale sea-hued walls dotted with eastern-influenced artwork calm the mind and cool the senses, paving the way for a marvelous spasperience. With today's Groupon clenched in stressed-out fist, choose four of six spa treatments. An exclusive manicure ($44) and express pedicure ($44) tidy the finger and toe gardens for spring, while a 30-minute massage ($42) combines massage techniques, reducing aching muscles to so much spreading ectoplasm. A focus facial ($45) lasts 30 minutes, a much-needed refreshment for cached pores, and a full face wax ($44, eyebrows not included) takes care of stiff upper-lip fuzz, itinerant sideburns, and cheek-warmers. For the hair that you'd like to keep, partake in a men's or women's haircut and style (up to $65) for tamed tresses and carefully knitted head-yarn.
BoHo Skincare Boutique & Spa owner Pilar Anderson makes sure her dedication to earth-friendly practices is transparent at her comfortably luxurious spa. The licensed para-medical aesthetician, nationally certified massage therapist, and yoga practitioner wields a slew of eco-conscious products from lines such as Farmaesthetics and local company Farmhouse Fresh, the latter of which boasts many paraben-free, gluten-free, and vegan products carefully packaged by the farm's amiable chickens. During soothing spa appointments, Anderson treats skin to vitamin-packed formulas that rejuvenate and hydrate while eschewing chemicals and harmful toxins.
Experienced massage therapist Angie Strickland addresses each client's personal problem spots with Swedish, deep-tissue, or medical massages, selecting the best type to optimize back bliss or ameliorate recurring issues. Swedish massages are customized based on pressure preferences ranging from deep kneading to the same soft strokes commonly practiced on sleeping marshmallows. The firm pressure of deep-tissue massage coddles damaged tissue and targets pain locked inside frames to help heal sore spots and relieve pain. A range of other therapeutic techniques—including neuromuscular, myofascial, and cupping—cosset frames during medical massages. These targeted strokes help soothe aching necks and melt shoulders frozen during sparring matches with snowmen. Hot towels keep massaged muscles warm, loose, and reveling in the afterglow of prolonged relaxation.