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.
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.
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.
At The Woodhouse, relaxation begins upon each client's arrival in the spa's dedicated Quiet Room. A luxurious robe drapes around their shoulders, reflexology sandals lightly massage their feet, and cups of loose-leaf tea warm their lips as they await the start of their services. The spa's product selection reflects a similar attention to detail: employees fill the shelves with natural, organic, and wild-crafted products. They also go the extra mile to include small extras with each session, such as home-care recommendations after facial treatments and foot-cleansing with each massage. The award-winning spa was voted best spa by the readers of the San Antonio Express-News and best spa and best massage by readers of San Antonio Magazine.
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.
Firefly Farm and Day Spa deploys its squadron of trained massage therapists and skilled aestheticians directly to clients' homes for high-quality pampering performed with an arsenal of organic products. After the staff offers fresh bottled water and imported lemonade, clients can exchange their expired skin cells for more fashionable epidermal layer during a high-frequency microdermabrasion facial treatment. The spa's fully vegan and organic body-scrub mask uses marine algae to help balance and moisturize the skin while working to expel toxins, free radicals, and freeloading hippie jewelry. For a more complete escape from a home's unfolded laundry, unfinished dishes, and stubbornly uncommunicative ghosts, clients can transform their abode into a day spa with the full retreat package. Lay back as a caring staff member pampers your visage with an indulgent facial, eases aching muscles with a professional therapeutic massage, and coddles tuckered-out paws or puckered-out mouths with a soothing hand or lip treatment.