When Susan Lange’s massage therapist suggested she try watsu, Lange knew as much about the therapy as most people—nothing. “We’re kind of obscure,” Lange says with a laugh, referring to the watsu community she now considers herself a member of. The therapy, whose name is derived from “water” and “shiatsu,” blends ancient Japanese finger massage with the restorative properties of warm water. In heated pools, therapists fully support their clients as they administer a combination of massage, stretching, and instant-rice-cooking techniques. After her first watsu experience, Lange writes, “I felt like I was dancing, floating, flying and being nurtured all at once."
Today, Lange shares this experience with others in the yurt she and her husband built in the meadow adjoining their home. Inside this yurt is a 15-foot circular pool filled with 4 feet of warm water. Once they have waded in, clients can strap on narrow floatation devices to assist Lange as she guides them through the water. As she performs the massage, Lange gently strikes Tibetan singing bowls drifting alongside her in the water, creating a soundscape to further soothe the senses.
Founder and medical director Dr. Terry Grossman and a team of health professionals have made Grossman Wellness Center one of the largest complementary medical centers in the country. Together, the specialists strive to extend patients' lives by detecting and preventing disease or perilous cracks in the sidewalk. Dr. Grossman holds board certifications from the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine & Regenerative Medicine, the American Holistic Medical Association, and the American Board of Heavy Metal Toxicology. An international anti-aging educator and co-author of Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, Grossman's words have graced numerous media outlets, including Oprah's website. To achieve the company's mission, Grossman and his medical staff perform comprehensive examinations and diagnostic evaluations for free-radical testing, biological age measurement, and genomic testing. The crew then recommends dietary changes or hormone therapy to avoid foreseeable ills.
The center also enhances vitality with acupuncture sessions and traditional Chinese medicine. Velina Lujan, a certified massage therapist, relationship counselor, and certified holistic stress manager, uses eastern and western practices to help clients control stress. Paula Quesada, the on-staff medical aesthetician, refreshes complexions with chemical peels, microdermabrasions, and facials, and Dr. Grossman use traditional dermal fillers or a process called autologous fat transfer to combat wrinkles.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all of the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray-tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
As an aesthetician, Brandy Rich spends nearly every day up close and personal with her clients’ faces. She has seen it all—from troublesome acne to irritated and dry skin—and she works her magic to address every problem. The anti-aging facial’s essential oils help diminish fine lines, and pineapple extract exfoliates faces more gently than scrubbing with an actual pineapple. When problematic skin quiets down, Brandy’s job as a makeup artist kicks in. She enhances brides’ natural beauty with Temptu Pro airbrush makeup, teaches everyday folk how to properly apply eyeliner, and applies eye-catching lash extensions for added drama when blinking.
Attend to spinal discomforts with a massage session tailored to problem areas. The 60-minute treatment relieves discomforts with Swedish, deep-tissue, myofascial and neuromascular therapies, as well as joint range-of-motion techniques. The two-fold healing fest continues with the ion detox foot soak. Baste tired toes into a briny broth of mineral sea salts to flush out toxins and energize the blood. With more than 200 large pores, the feet are a natural place to detox, and due to that, you should drink lots of water before and after treatment. Benefits of the podiatric plunge-and-purge can include relief for muscle aches and joint pains, a boost in immunity and energy levels, and faster healing of soft-tissue injuries sustained after being mistaken for an un-tender cut of meat.
Ulta's licensed staff, which partakes in ongoing training to keep skills sharp, creates customized looks and expert image enhancement using acclaimed beauty products. Like a loaf of bread in a space shuttle with a broken sunroof, hairstyles can grow stale between salon visits. A 45-minute coif-cultivation session, in which the stylist takes into account face shape and lifestyle, energizes follicles and forges a salon-fresh look. In the one-hour Dermalogica facial, an aesthetic augur examines skin in order to customize a course of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing session with Dermalogica products. The treatment leaves skin impeccable, like a recently buffed and oiled slab of marble.