In 2005, stress pushed Michelle McCormack to the brink of spiritual and physical collapse. Though her fast-paced finance job tested her limits, it had the happy consequence of awakening an interest in yoga, relaxation therapies, and holistic healing. Soon, she drew up a business plan and founded IHP Clinic Solution, a practice that serves the mind, body, and spirit of its patients. Today, at Aviva Health and Wellness Clinic, McCormack oversees the operations of wellness professionals who help patients become healthy inside and out.
Instead of just prescribing drugs or spoonfuls of sugar, Aviva's medical professionals thoroughly evaluate each patient. Then they recommend treatments that combine the best practices of conventional and alternative medicine. Medical services, including treatments for diabetes and heart disease, improve physical health, whereas spa and wellness services, such as acne treatments and body wraps, simultaneously improve looks and confidence. Treatments target a wide range of health- and beauty-related desires, helping patients lose weight, recover from illness, or reverse signs of aging.
Licensed massage therapist Amanda Howard first conceived of Crystal Blue Health Spa for a school project, and she realized her dream with the spa's opening in 2011. In the interim, she crafted a menu of soothing spa services, including massages, body scrubs, and facials. Amanda navigates the treacherous terrain of knotted musculature during Swedish, deep-tissue, hot-stone, and aromatherapy massages, which wheedle backs into relinquishing stockpiled stress, tension, and missing socks hidden beneath shoulder blades. For surface-level pampering, the spa's resident aesthetician treats visages to deep-cleansing facials and exfoliating body scrubs. The hot-chocolate scrub emulates its wintertime namesake with a sweetly scented, warm elixir infused with Giovanni PureOrganic Technology?an essential-oil medley designed to nourish and heal wizened pelts?and the hypoallergenic tropical scrub's jojoba, macadamia, avocado, and sweet-almond oils replenish thirsty pores more effectively than dunking them in a pool of Gatorade.
Growing up as a child in Iran, it wasn't unusual for Happy Farshid to see Turkish baths known as hammams. But when he came to America, they, like people who actually liked soccer, became significantly harder to find, according to the Orlando Sentinel. So Farshid decided to open one at his own spa, Shala Salon & Day Spa.
Shala's traditional Turkish bath surrounds guests with blue mosaic tiles imported from Italy, Moorish arches, and a domed ceiling. Guests take in their opulent surroundings while basking in the hammam's relatively gentle steam and lying down on a heated tile slab in the center of the room, where they typically receive a thorough massage and an exfoliating body treatment.
These immersive escapes are only one of the many options available to Shala's patrons. Stylists are also on-hand to design flattering new haircuts and weave honey-colored highlights into tresses. And aestheticians perform everything from waxing and basic facials using ?minence Organic Skin Care products to skin-rejuvenating photofacials and cellulite-reducing Endermologie procedures.
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 the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Red Light facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial but can rejuvenate and reduce fine lines. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines detoxify the body, spray tan skin, massage muscles, and burn calories.
Planet Beach operates on a membership system where 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.
At Sanctuary Salon & Med Spa, owner Pareen Merchant leads a team of beauty experts that polishes clients' looks from head to toe. Hair designers create custom cuts and restore damaged hair with conditioning treatments. To remove body hair or prune overgrown Chia pets, the staff employs laser technology and the Middle Eastern art of threading, a signature service that caught the attention of Melissa Mayntz of LoveToKnow.com. Merchant learned the technique from friends and cousins before honing her speed and brow-arching skills at a cosmetology program in India.
Massage therapists soothe weary muscles with a variety of modalities, and aestheticians brighten complexions with clinical skincare treatments, including medical microdermabrasion and Revitalight LED sessions. The salon's nail services earned a spot as a finalist in the Best Manicure and Pedicure category of CityVoter's 2007 and 2008 awards.
In 1993, Les Arthur Bauman finally realized his dreams of opening his own salon, which he called Arturo's. He had two stylists, some shears, and not much else, but he worked hard to build the business. While he got the salon up and running, his son, Jes Bauman, became the second generation of the family to pursue hair as art, pursuing an education in New York. Eventually, Jes returned to Orlando to help his father and, ultimately, to take over the studio. He renamed the business J. Bauman Salon, but he preserved the family tradition of expanding the customer base, one expertly cut head of hair at a time.
To date, Jes has accrued more than 20 years of experience and has built up a talented stable of more than 20 stylists. His team constantly snips, colors, and extends hair at 17 stations spread throughout the now-upscale salon. The decor has matured alongside the business. It blends dark hardwood floors with high ceilings fitted with bright, recessed bulbs, which are ideal for helping stylists focus on their work rather than those mysterious shadows looming in the corner.