Pink wicker furniture stands in wait outside All Creations Salon, ready to cradle patrons who want to revel in their new hairstyles or freshly tanned limbs. The whimsical shade continues inside, traipsing across the sea-foam walls in the form of polka dots, and splashed artistically across the floor. It’s the perfect setting for dramatic transformations as a cadre of aestheticians dole out spa pedicures, tattoos, or sweeping updos beneath the approving gaze of unicorns and fairies.
The Ayurveda Health Retreat (AHR) is one of the premier retreat centers in Florida that offer traditional Ayurvedic medicine and Panchakarma treatments. The AHR was established by Richard Masla, ND, in 2001 and is located in the small historic town of Alachua, in north central Florida.
Six different rooms, six different types of brief vacation. Whether it’s a one-hour getaway to the Bamboo Room for a Swedish massage or a jaunt to the Rain Room for a facial, A Peaceful Rain Day Spa & Salon’s staff treats clients to relaxing trips away from stressors. And it all starts with the sounds of the rainforest that massage eardrums upon entrance. In private Canopy Rooms, meanwhile, stylists carefully craft new hairdos with exquisite cut and color services, which is what precocious children call their work with construction paper.
Dr. Geoff Powell and his team of massage therapists work in tandem to curb body pains such as muscle spasms, carpel-tunnel syndrome, headaches, and rheumatoid arthritis. Chiropractic adjustments realign crooked spines and deep-tissue and therapeutic massages sweep away aches.
Born with a penchant for serving others, Garrett Blanton began his professional life as a prison guard. "I'd always liked helping people," he says, but he soon realized that he also wanted people to be excited to see him—"a complete 180 from prison work." So, in 2008, he obtained his massage-therapist license and shortly after joined the team at Advanced Massage Professionals, where he set off on an entirely different career in corrections.
Though his expertise includes modalities such as deep-tissue and relaxation massage, Garrett specializes in myofascial therapy, which treats the connective tissue that ties together all bodily systems. He likens the human body to a sausage: "Things can't move around right if the casing's too tight," he says, not to mention the fact that it bursts when held over a campfire. After he leads them into a pale-blue treatment room adorned with Chinese lanterns and decorative dragonflies, Garrett’s clients stretch out on a biomat, whose amethyst crystals work to draw out toxins and relieve pain as his nimble fingers work. Placing hot or cold packs on sore spots as needed, he assuages muscles with raw and organic shea or cocoa butter, eschewing perfumes that might lead to allergic reactions or bees attempting to pollenate your bellybutton.
Gerald Roach spent a decade serving his country in the US Army—including a stint in Afghanistan—by dispensing supplies and operating heavy construction equipment. Since then, he earned his massage license and joined forces with the American Massage Therapy Association to defeat ailments with relaxing, healing techniques. He draws on an arsenal of modalities such as therapeutic, deep-tissue, chair, pregnancy, and holistic massage.