The staff at Bamboo Salon & Spa Cinci cultivates lavish looks and relaxed spirits. This process begins on massaging pedicure thrones, where nail artists use aromatherapy oils and hydrotherapy to shape and polish fingers and toes. Skin care experts offer anti-aging facials that reinvigorate complexions, and hairstylists craft sleek haircuts and emblazon them with highlights and color. On massage tables, therapists loosen gridlocked muscles with Swedish and deep-tissue massage treatments.
The leaves of potted plants and twisting vines rub together with a soft hushing sound in a private room, where licensed massage therapist Amanda Thurman refurbishes achy bodies. During each 60-minute session, Amanda employs pure essential oils and the long, flowing strokes of Swedish bodywork to improve range of motion in torso, limbs, and muscles injured while mocking the Tin Man. As aromatherapy swaddles the olfactory cavity, the firmer methods of deep-tissue techniques home in on lower-layer muscles to promote blood circulation and root out deeply embedded tension. Because Amanda loves using natural products, clients can fully immerse themselves in relaxation without the discomfort caused by harmful chemicals or crying park rangers.
My goal is to make my clients feel like they are my only client. I don't want you to feel like you are rushed or that I am not mentally and physically present during your massage. I feel that the feeling of being rushed or that the therapist is not completely present is one of the downsides of the spa experience.
In the early 1990s, Francois Minani was teaching high-school biology and raising seven children in his native Rwanda. Forced by the genocide to flee his home, Francois and his family took refuge across the border in Burundi. Eighteen months later, the Minani clan arrived in Kingsport. Grateful for asylum in America, Francois nevertheless faced the daunting task of making ends meet 8,000 miles from home. He took up heavy labor, but the demanding work and repetitive movements took a serious toll on his upper and lower back. Painkillers and months of intensive care at a rehabilitation center did little to alleviate his injuries. Only massage therapy took. The results were dramatic. Two months of intensive therapeutic massage banished his chronic pain. On the strength of his own experiences, Francois decided to attend massage school to bring the same relief to others. Today at Appalachian Medical Massage Associates, Francois combines his background in biology and years of massage experience with a hard-won empathy for his clients’ aches. He specializes in working with delicate patients such as expectant mothers and fibromyalgia sufferers, but his range is broad—his Swedish-massage therapy and sports massages work to relax tough muscles.
After Mark Szostczuk completed his undergraduate studies as a Human Biology major, he was unsure what his next step would be. Friends and family suggested that he could be a doctor, since he was interested in both anatomy and caregiving. But Mark had inherited a healthy skepticism about western medicine from his father, who had treated all his kids' illnesses with Polish home remedies and pooh-poohed the idea of a medical degree. Mark's dad did, however, speak glowingly of the chiropractor that had soothed a chronic pain in his hip—and just like that, Mark realized he had found his calling.
Having graduated from New York Chiropractic College in 2000, Mark—now Dr. Szostczuk—has today been pursuing his ambitions of healing and helping others for a dozen years. With the help of his staff at Blue Ridge Chiropractic, he works with patients using careful adjustments and a variety of massage modalities, designed to help ameliorate pain and prevent future injury. He has also received his certification in Chiropractic Bio-Physics, an honor that fewer than 200 doctors throughout the country possess. This knowledge helps him rehabilitate patients through ligament reshaping following adjustments, resulting in a faster and safer healing process and less chance of reinjury during impromptu limbo-offs.