PHIT Pilates Studio’s experienced instructors help students strengthen abdomens, backs, and resolve with training that focuses on individual goals and abilities. Owner and certified Pilates teacher Susannah Israel-Marchese and her team lead pupils through the discipline’s series of low-impact movements Monday–Friday. Using joint-friendly techniques, students augment strength in the abdomen, back, shoulders, and hip joints to achieve the goal of subbing for the vacationing Bulkeley Bridge. PHIT’s boutique-style studio maintains a noncompetitive atmosphere and a cheerful, personalized approach to working out. Proximity to the Real Art Ways theater allows newly straightened postures to pull off previously unattainable pranks, such as blocking views of people sitting behind them at art exhibits and independent films and sticking a flippant Post-it note to the top of Shaquille O'Neal's helicopter.
A former cubicle dweller, studio director Natasha Roggi knew she needed something that could rejuvenate her tired mind and stiff limbs. Though she emerged from her first Bikram class feeling sweaty and somewhat shell shocked, she began to feel her body grow stronger and her mind become sharper with each subsequent class. Before long, she found herself headed to Palm Desert, California to become certified through Bikram Choudhury's nine-week program and forge a new, healthier path through life. Today, she shares her downtown studio with a staff of other instructors, all of whom stretched and persevered through Bikram's rigorous teacher-training process. While the classroom's stifling temperatures may sound too intense for some students, the practice caters to guests of all experience levels, as the heat helps even the stiffest muscles and arthritic snowmen melt into the deep, detoxifying stretches. To keep things comfortable, Natasha and her staff have bottled water and electrolyte drinks available for sale, and have equipped the studio with spa-like changing rooms, complete with men's and women's showers and comfortable beauty vanities.
The air was chilly and the sky was still dark one wintry morning in Hartford, when five women huddled around Racquel, awaiting instruction at the very first Racquels Addiction Fitness boot camp. But as hard as that first workout may have been, it obviously inspired something positive in the women who attended. From that day forward, word spread about the workout that group fitness instructor Racquel had put together—a powerful routine that targeted problem areas such as the hips, thighs, glutes, and abs and quickly transformed them with little to no help from cumbersome workout equipment.
Today, Racquel and fellow fitness instructor Betsy have branched out from just boot camp. At Racquel's Addiction Fitness, they also teach Piloxing (a blend of Pilates and boxing), Zumba, and Hot and Bothered on the Bench classes, which blast calories with help from a step bench and weights. And, in their quest to make fitness fun for everyone, the studio also hosts many exercise-themed special events, including chair dance fitness parties, pole dancing parties, and sultry potato sack races.
National board-certified acupuncturist Dr. Chul H. Han blends acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other holistic healing techniques to treat health conditions such as joint and muscle pain, digestive disorders, and anxiety. To achieve the best results, he works with clients to devise individualized treatment plans based on their health history, making sure to educate them along the way about techniques for living well and raising octuplets.
Each instructor at Evolution Pilates is certified through Stott Pilates, which requires a minimum of 200 hours of training. Backed by this certification, the instructors lead private and group classes for all types of exercisers, from beginners to experienced athletes. The classes incorporate equipment such as reformers, which help exercisers build lean muscles.
Utilizing acupuncture therapy and Chinese herbal medicine, licensed acupuncturist Marc Gerstein has been practicing holistic treatments since 1984, working to prevent, identify, and treat a variety of conditions. Precisely placed hair-like needles attempt to realign the body’s energy flow and front-wheel drive, while a custom blend of Chinese herbs enhances the treatment's restorative effects. Acupuncture Associates of Hartford also provides a series of adjunct therapies such as acupressure, reflexology, and cupping. Performed by clinic-assistant Leslie Franks—a licensed massage therapist, expert wielder of essential oils, and martial arts master with 30 years of experience under her belt—the adjunct treatments complement acupuncture sessions and banish stubborn sicknesses with underlying brawn.