Imagine dropping a stone into a pond. Though the stone only touches a small portion of the water's surface, the effects of the impact radiate throughout the entire pool. Reflexology is based on a similar idea—as a therapist stimulates pressure points on the feet, the effects are said to affect the entire body. At Magic Foot Spa, practitioners specialize in this therapy, first soaking feet in water warmed over the blushing cheeks of an ankle-anxious Victorian before targeting pressure points that correspond with various body organs. As practitioners increase pressure on each foot, the manipulation can ease muscular tension and release energy blockages in the digestive, immune, and circulatory systems.
The team also performs full-body acupressure treatments that are based on similar principles. These gentle massages work by activating the key pressure points used in acupuncture, but with fingers, palms, and elbows instead of needles. As clients lie fully clothed on a massage table, therapists focus on these points—which are believed to correspond with the body's energy channels—so that they can balance opposing energy forces and thus improve bodily function.
Co-owner Rebeccah Bartlett Leister of Structures Salon and Spa will not trade jobs with you. "I love that every single day I am here I laugh out loud," she says on her staff bio page. "I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy my 'work' this much." One draw may be the salon and spa's proprietary organic and natural products that are crafted by a small family business. Another draw might be the encouragement staff members receive to augment the products' powers with rounds of continuing education and creative projects such as fashion shoots, makeup design, and hair-coloring experiments. Leister herself has experience designing makeup for Vanity Fair and InStyle magazines.
Wide windows illuminate Structures Salon and Spa so that stylists can mix colors in optimum light and let new hairdos photosynthesize. Colorful yarn twines around stair railings to create chromatic triangles, and appliqué birch trees stand tall along the lobby's windows.
Though reflexology shares much in common with acupuncture, it has its own unique properties and origins. Read on to learn more about the practice.
In the early 20th century, you might have been able to identify patients coming from a reflexology appointment by the clothespins on their fingertips. Today?s reflexologists generally carry out their treatments by hand in a wellness clinic or a massage studio, but the principle remains the same: apply pressure to specific points on the hands, feet, or ears, prompting responses in organs throughout the body.
Similar to acupuncture and acupressure, the practice posits that energy pathways run throughout the body. Reflexology?s system, however, is a bit simpler than Chinese medicine?s complex map of meridians. Envision vertical lines running from each toe up through the leg, joining lines running from each finger up the arm toward the neck and coming together in the head, and you have the body divided into 10 attractively slimming reflexology zones. Within each zone on the palm or?most common in reflexology sessions today?the sole, certain pressure points are thought to correspond to organs, joints, or other tissues elsewhere in the same zone.
Dr. William Fitzgerald?originator of the clothespin technique?began practicing what he called ?zone therapy? in 1915. While research has yet to find a concrete link between modern medical thought and the millennia-old idea of imperceptible bodily energy, that doesn't mean reflexology can't be relaxing. Patients can expect the benefits of a treatment to include at least those of a good foot massage: increased circulation, relieved muscle tension, and decreased stress and susceptibility to tickle attacks. Even early proponents of the technique accepted that results might vary from person to person. Writing in 1928, physician Bernard Lust was content with claiming that ?the adoption of the method is attended with absolutely no danger or disagreeable results, and may be the means of lengthening short lives and making good health catching.?
In a massage room awash in shades of plum, one of Serenity Spa Wellness Center's licensed therapists plunges deft fingers into muscular structures to weed out pesky pain points and break up congregations of tension. Increasingly relaxed breaths drift out of the private room, past cedar-colored planks, and toward the far-infrared sauna, which uses dry heat in an effort to draw toxins from the body or elicit confessions from ice-cream smugglers. Aestheticians blend ingredients for facial treatments and combine fragrant swirls of essential oils, catering to individual skin and health issues. In the reception area, hands warm around mugs from a coffee bar, and floral-patterned or zebra-print chairs cradle guests.
Beneath the pendant lamps casting a warm glow over the salon, stylists at Profiles Hair Studio and Spa pamper clients with hair services, waxing, and nail treatments. Stylists cut men's, women's, and children's hair in addition to keratin treatments and permanent waves. Meanwhile, nail technicians coat fingers and toe tips with glossy polish, long-lasting Shellac, or full sets of gel or acrylic-gel nails during regular manicures or soothing reflexology pedicures. Additionally, a full menu of threading and waxing services keeps brows arched and skin smooth for swimsuit season.
Seven days a week, Reem executes precise men's and kids' haircuts at Platinum Barber Shop. He offers clients a range of popular styles, including fades, mohawks, and tapers. He also shaves heads bald and carefully sculpts hair into eye-catching designs, such as stars and city skylines.