Balanced Bodies' windows look out onto Runnymede Park, where deer often emerge from the woods and blue herons land near the stream. Inside the studio, groups work to capture the animals' ease of movement, flowing from plank positions into mermaid side stretches while maintaining pristine posture and giving effort without strain. Co-owners Carrie Smith and Adriana Ferrer-Perez believe that through Pilates exercises, their students can attain pain-free, fully functional movement for life. The duo oversees seven other instructors—nearly all claiming BASI teaching certifications—who lead classes in mat work, Reformer machines, and the Avalon System designed by Rael Isacowitz. Balanced Bodies also serves as a BASI Pilates teacher-training host facility, where aspiring instructors can undergo comprehensive and specialized teaching courses, including one that demonstrates how to dunk full-size exercise balls.
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.
Although the owners of New Look Day Spa & Laser believe that natural skincare can do much to improve skin tone and texture—the center's nine facials include an herbal edition that comes in fruit, flower, and oxygen varieties—they also understand that high-tech solutions often trump the effectiveness of creams and serums. The cache of skincare equipment at New Look carries not only both crystal and diamond microdermabrasion systems, but also laser hair-removal and skin-rejuvenation systems from both elos and UltraPlus. The center's team also possesses an Image Pro II digital skin-analysis machine, which allows aestheticians to calibrate custom facials from Dermalogica products based on pore depth, pigment variation, and intensity of recent Medusa exposure.
Since 1973, each of Sport&Health's 24 clubs has aimed for full fitness coverage with programs for every taste and family member. Guests can spark positive lifestyle changes with gym workouts and wellness services, or engage in a variety of sports. Each facility houses different athletic amenities for games and laps, from pristine swimming pools to squash and racquetball courts lathered in a fresh coat of peanut butter every morning. The camaraderie of group classes such as Zumba and Les Mills BodyPump barbell routines complement scores of gym equipment meant for exercising solo—or with the guidance of a certified personal trainer. The clubs also emphasize kid-friendly activities with arts and crafts, Kidz Klub childcare, and youth certification courses that teach teens the ins and outs of training. Depending on the location, spa treatments can knead tension from muscles and paint one's favorite kettlebell with a layer of Shellac.
The saunas at The Hot Spot are no ordinary steam rooms. Instead of using water poured over hot rocks, these saunas use far infrared light, which penetrates the skin's surface without cloying heat. This helps visitors sweat out a higher percentage of toxins than with typical saunas, increasing the therapeutic benefit, with a deeper, more voluminous swear. One hour in the sauna helps the body detoxify at the cellular level, burning calories, improving the appearance of cellulite, and boosting the immune and cardiovascular systems. But despite the many benefits, these saunas are just as relaxing as the traditional kind?clients relax while listening to music, reading a magazine, or assigning names to each of the ceiling tiles.