Kirk Scarlett is on the advisory board at Branford Hall Career Institute, where he works with faculty, students, and outside health-care professionals to promote massage and its benefits in the community. Kirk is also a licensed massage therapist, spreading his massage gospel more directly out of his cozy Healing Hands Studio. Guests can solicit him for flowing Swedish strokes, as well as more focused techniques such as deep tissue and sports therapy.
At Diva Threading & Jewelry, nimble hands use a strategically wrapped strand of cotton thread to remove hair from the root. This procedure is called threading, and it is used most commonly to sculpt the eyebrows with more preciseness than wax. The staff at Diva—led by threading expert and owner Suman Mishra—performs a handful of other traditional beauty services, including organic facials and henna tattoos.
At first, Julia Trigila focused solely on lashes. She studied extension work during a career at NovaLash and took on enough clients to become a full-time specialist. On the side, however, her love of makeup artistry drew her to fashion photo shoots and appointments with brides-to-be. She wound up at the Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics in an endeavor to combine her passions, graduating with well-rounded cosmetic expertise and a renewed respect for skincare.
Today, Julia delivers full-on makeovers at her eponymous business. She still performs eyelash extensions in addition to brow shaping and waxing. Her makeup sessions stress the value of a bright, clear canvas, prioritizing a custom application of primer that suits each client's skin type. Julia shies away from overwhelming faces with too much product or an overabundance of racecar flame decals. Instead, she aims to accentuate features with naturally luminous looks for casual wear or wedding events. She also hosts lessons for clients who are curious about applying complementary colors or subtracting blemishes, age spots, and fruit-punch stains from their complexions.
The word meditation typically calls to mind a feeling of stillness and solitude. Matt DeMichele, however, believes in a shared meditative experience—one that takes place in the muscles as well as the mind. For him, massage is "meditation-in-motion," a way to acknowledge and address the tensions that have restricted one's potential. Since graduating from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and earning his certification in therapeutic massage and bodywork, Matt has hoped to build this awareness in others and act as a conduit for their body's healing.
Each appointment at Shadow and Trees Massage Therapy begins with an in-depth evaluation. Matt logs information on his clients' recurring aches to better customize a mix of modalities, often blending elements of Swedish, orthopedic, and myofascial massage. Having studied with Aaron Mattes, founder of the active-isolated-stretching method, Matt also leads muscles through short, specific stretches to boost their range of motion. A combination of his active isolated stretching and massage can help combat the effects of past injuries, encouraging ease of movement without smearing elbow joints with grease.
State-licensed massage therapist (license #004958) A. Malaika Sharp cultivates relaxation and targets each client's unique issues with a focused menu of services. She can shoo everyday stress away through basic relaxation massages, but she’s as focused on function as she is on feeling good. An avid martial artist and cyclist, Sharp consults with all clients to understand the ways they use their bodies for work and recreation. That helps her pick out distinct patterns of motion and coax bad habits or stored tension out of muscles, whether she’s targeting chronic aches through deep-tissue techniques or helping athletes recover from strenuous duck-duck-goose training through sports massage. Or, for those suffering from headaches and migraines, she can incorporate trigger-point therapy. Sharp is also a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and is certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.