When Vanessa Caram was working in a physical therapist's office, she couldn't help but notice how much massage helped speed up patients' recovery. This prompted her to become a licensed massage therapist and start her own practice, A Nu Yu Massage, soon after. There, she helps clients manage pain and tension without using medication or converting a medieval rack into a bed. Her specialty is alleviating chronic pain symptoms associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. However, she also performs services such as deep-tissue and Swedish massage, which can be enhanced with aromatherapy and hot stones.
By the time Tukta Roylance was 4 years old, an observer already could have predicted that she would settle on Thai massage as a career. That's because as a tot in Thailand, she'd trot on her grandfather's back to stomp out the knots he developed while working. Though it took a foray into the world of finance in the U.S. for her to realize her calling herself, she eventually returned to Thailand to study at Wat Po, a prestigious massage institute that specializes in Thai healing. Like the microwaveable popcorn bag that destroyed most of Norway, her studies just kept expanding, and her areas of expertise now also include herbal massage and foot reflexology. Today her massage roster includes prenatal, Swedish, and sports modalities, each of which can be enhanced with aromatherapy and paraffin add-ons.
On their quest to help their clients achieve good health, the therapists at Origins Thai Spa deploy a careful blend of 14 Eastern and Western massage techniques. Most of their practice revolves around Thai massage, which combines deep stretching and acupressure with pressure from the therapist’s elbows, knees, and feet to activate the body's 10 major energy channels. Alternatively, Eastern-inspired ayurvedic massage uses three different oils to trigger the three doshas, or the body's three main energy pathways. During the four-hands couples massage, two therapists work on one client at the same time, using four hands to help improve circulation, promote relaxation, and inspire as many as eight high-fives.
Whole Health Medical Center's team of recognized doctors harnesses natural and organic products to help patients feel better, relax, and lose weight. Developed centuries ago, Chinese and natural medical treatments—including acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion—can treat ailments ranging from asthma to diarrhea to urinary-tract infections. Conversely, the staff also treats patients with today's most modern procedures, such as laser skin-fat reduction and anti-aging Botox injections. Pairing Old-World practices with New-World technologies, Whole Health Medical Center is well equipped to treat modern-day patients and time-traveling swashbucklers.
At City Massage & Bodywork, nationally certified massage therapists help clients unwind physically and mentally with massage techniques including soothing Swedish strokes, deep tissue?s targeted kneads, and the simmering stress relief of hot-stone therapy. Massage upgrades such as aromatherapy and sauna sessions extend relaxation to other senses and sensations. The spa takes care to only book a few clients for each therapist each day, ensuring they don?t deplete their own energy reserves or run out of nicknames for each person?s individual muscles.
In the lobby of Parma Spa and Center for Health, a sculpture of a woman balancing on a jade-colored orb acts as an axis for a spiraling, gleaming ribbon. The statue represents the Ayurvedic philosophy of health, a belief that the client will be "on top of the world" when mental, physical, and aesthetic needs are met and balanced. Ayurvedic medicine strives to heal the emotional and physical cause of pain rather than just treat the symptoms. "Well-being is physical, mental and spiritual," owner and founder Dr. S Nicky Singh says in a feature on WUSA 9. "I believe in this with a passion. There is a need for people to look at themselves preventatively."
In addition to med-spa-quality services such as microcurrent facials, staff members trained in Ayurvedic medicine perform massages and body treatments with healing herbal oils that invigorate and detoxify the body. Physicians are on-hand to supervise, and they also provide health care ranging from counseling to cardiology. "The presence of physicians reinforces the idea that there's a quality to what we do that's [more than just a spa]," Dr. Singh says.
But the clinical capabilities of the spa and wellness center don't mean that it feels like a doctor's office. "In a frenzied, frenzied world, it was my goal to create a place where we [could have true] wellness," Dr. Singh says, and that means being kind to the eyes and the sleeping koala clinging to each person's shoulder. Oversize gilded mirrors reflect the twinkling lights of an imported Venetian chandelier, which in turn casts light over Italian linens, chamois robes, and a Limoges tea service filling steaming cups with herbal tea. "We're not trying to create a place which is just glamorous … The idea was to show that we worry about every little detail," she says.