The holistic therapists of Dara Spa believe in inspiring overall wellness with a repertoire of soothing massage treatments. Within the cozy confines of private treatments peppered with Thai-inspired décor, the relaxation experts perform an array of massage modalities, including basic Swedish strokes and body scrub massages that incorporate skin exfoliants. Their signature combination massage draws from an array of techniques, such as stretch-based Thai massage and relaxation massage, which entails counting the number of sheep in the pasture next door.
A giant Buddha head greets every visitor to Sparadise La Brea, his wise eyes illuminated by flickering candlelight as a fountain babbles and simple greenery grows silently around him. This tranquil scene sets the mood for the entire spa, whose mission—much like the Buddha's—is to encourage visitors to reach a Zen-like state free from stress and physical pain.
The staff members work towards this goal with a slate of massage modalities and other relaxing treatments. Gentle Swedish strokes soothe surface tension with the help of warm almond, lemongrass, or eucalyptus massage oils, Thai yoga uses stretches, compressions, and gentle rocking to improve circulation and flexibility while also targeting acupressure points, and water-heated stones allow warmth to radiate and loosen taut muscles. With an emphasis on total-body relaxation, the Thai herbal foot spa includes a fragrant soak of herbs, oils, and teas that leaves the feet and legs as tension-free as a suspension bridge on the Moon.
Ocean Spa's main studio looks as though a massage party will break out at any moment. Eight beds—each draped in red and white bedding—huddle together, emulating the communal healing experiences common in the Far East. But clients with privacy predilections can opt for a private treatment room separate from the main area. Either way, the experienced massage therapists apply palms and knuckles to muscle knots, tending to tension with custom, full-body strokes. In addition, the team also specializes in reflexology, the practice of addressing bodily ailments through the hands and soles of the feet.
The massage therapists at Chiang Mai Health Spa knead away stress and pain with a service menu culled from the best techniques of the East and West. Like their teachers before them, the therapists specialize in Thai massage, a modality that combines vigorous massage strokes with guided stretching, and may be upgraded to incorporate warm packets of soothing Thai herbs. Traditional Western techniques include Swedish and deep-tissue massage—which help stimulate lymph flow for greater detoxification—as well as pregnancy massage, which helps ease the tension felt by expectant mothers or over-loaded storks. The spa stays open late seven days a week to accommodate busy schedules.
Guests arriving to The Raven Spa may find themselves feeling like they've traveled a thousand miles away from their everyday cares. The aesthetic is both spiritual and indulgent, with stone statues that stand sentinel beside a plush purple couch and lush, sun-drenched drapes and glistening chandeliers holding court over an eastern-inspired communal massage chamber. A colorful patio overflowing with exotic flowers welcomes visitors to sit and soak in sunlight streaming between red and white umbrellas, creating a peaceful oasis for quiet reading or self-reflection. "Whoever comes here feels like it's their own," a front desk manager told LX TV's 1st Look, "Our whole goal is to take you away from whatever's out there."
The spa's international decor also mirrors its diverse menu of services, which includes acupuncture, facials, and hammam––a traditional Turkish soak that corrals plant extracts and herbs to nourish and detoxify the body. Therapists work out imbedded muscle kinks through seven varieties of massage including traditional Thai massage, which combines rhythmic kneads with yoga-like stretches and Hawaiian lomi lomi massage, which often sees practitioners using their elbows to nudge tension until it gets the hint and leaves.
At Wat Po Thai Spa, a 2010 nominee for Best Day Spa by Best of LA, technicians bolster well-being with services that range from traditional Thai massage to skincare. The house-specialty Thai Combo fuses Thai massage, Swedish massage, and reflexology into an international amalgamation of relaxation similar to naptime at the UN. Thai massage harnesses compression, stretching, and rocking techniques to improve circulation of vital energy along the body's pathways, and Swedish massage encompasses gentle strokes such as gliding, kneading, and stretching to increase oxygen flow in the blood and forge full-body tension relief. Patrons walk away from massage sessions with relieved stress, allayed aches, increased internal alignment, and enough flexibility to fold bodies into an empty Pringles can at the first sign of danger.