Even as a 4-year-old growing up in Honolulu, Vee Osborne was drawn to Hawaiian shamanism and the Huna philosophy, which stresses the balance of the mind, body, and spirit through one’s actions. Her early passion for healing others led her down the path to becoming a hypnotherapist, reiki master, and ordained minister before she funneled her devotion to creating harmony and guiding others toward wellness into Plaza West Massage & Day Spa. Here, clouds of gentle music and the scent of essential oils greet her guests, who slip into robes and sip wine as they unwind. And Vee’s Hawaiian roots remain readily apparent, inspiring the spa’s potted palms, bamboo massages, piña-colada scrubs, and wall-sized pictures that bring Pacific beaches to Kansas.
Vee’s healing services go beyond relaxation, though. Her team of massage therapists kneads aching muscles with Swedish, trigger-point, and deep-tissue modalities, deepening their knot-fighting effect with volcanic stones and essential oils. After a body wrap with Dead Sea salts or a glycolic peel, guests can visit the two-tiered sauna or extend their rejuvenation with an energy-balancing reiki session. The spa also delves into treatments that rely on electronic frequencies, such as a tri-phasic resonator, which fights cellulite, or quantum electro-ionization, which aims to diminish blemishes rather than cover them up with white-out. Before heading home, clients can pick up body and facial products from Vee’s eponymous line, such as Island Essence hair products, complete with tropical scents.
Like the full range of muscles it challenges, Wellbridge Athletic Club & Spa affords a full range of experiences to a broad spectrum of visitors, from corporate coworkers to athletic kids. A 25-yard indoor lap pool hosts swimmers, who can dry off with towels in a full-amenity locker room. Group fitness classes challenge visitors to sweat through cycling, Pilates, and aqua Zumba. The latter gets swimming bodies boogying to the tune of energetic international and Latin rhythms. There are also more than 47 pieces of cardio equipment that allow visitors to work out independently, and some of the cardio machines have flat-screen TVs and satellite radio, which actually orbits you as you listen to it.
In order to offer their visitors ample guidance, Wellbridge Athletic Club & Spa staffs several personal trainers, who assist clients striving for a variety of goals, including weight loss and injury recovery. The facility’s free childcare allows parents to work out without the hassle of finding a sitter, and its spa allows those same parents to shed every last scintilla of stress during a relaxing massage.
Though the instructors and music selections rotate at My Hot Yoga, guests can bank on a steady temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This warmth is less cloying than it is liberating, loosening muscles so that students can ease into more pronounced poses during class. It also encourages a cleansing sweat, clears the mind, and boosts heart rates, providing a more focused substitute for traditional cardio workouts such as running or blinking very fast. Sessions range from the Vinyasa flow sequences of Hot 60 to the long holds of Deep Stretch, and they’re suited for all ages and fitness levels. This flexibility is what fuels the staff's overarching mission: to turn a hobby into a personalized lifestyle choice. Instructors further promote a comfortable, custom atmosphere by modifying poses and even allowing guests to submit song requests.
Greg Beitling refused to stay idle while Americans' lifespans shortened due to obesity-related diseases. Instead, he founded Lit Fitness to help the community retool its approach to eating and exercise. The studio specializes in what they call Large Group Training, or LGT, which challenges students to intense regimens of calisthenics, weightlifting, and short bursts of cardio. Beitling draws upon certifications in personal training and strength-and-conditioning instruction to build workouts that maximize calorie burning and increase lean-muscle mass to help jump-start metabolisms. In addition to increasing their strength, endurance, energy, and flexibility, participants can win prizes such as cash and skinny jeans by tackling the goals they set along the way. Like a trip to the beach with a very modest mermaid, each camp lasts about 50 minutes and requires an ample supply of water and towels. Many of the studio's programs also include nutritional components, which range from healthy-eating workshops to meetings with a dietitian.
Named by Inside Columbia magazine as the best place for yoga in 2011 and 2012, alleyCat Yoga's serene yoga sanctuary hosts daily classes for students of all ages. One of the studio's teachers, Susan Mathis, draws on the teachings of Swami Kripalu, a celebrated yogi often associated with the insightful practice known as "meditation in motion." To apply the practice, students progress through stages of relaxation, physical postures, and meditation to establish connections between the mind, body, and spirit.
The well-rounded team of certified instructors also leads classes rooted in their respective specialties, including Hatha yoga, the more intense Vinyasa tradition, and gentler yoga classes for students who've only interacted with downward-facing dogs while pet-sitting. Susan's branch of kid-friendly yoga, called Yoga to Grow, helps children as young as 20 months stretch their rapidly growing bodies and sparks imaginations with stories, games, and songs.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.