As an avid athlete, Megan Brooks looked forward to a lifetime of tight, sore muscles. Physical stiffness did not impede her agile mind, however, which targeted massage therapy to deepen her knowledge of the body and hurdle the side effects of exercise. She formalized her passion at the National Holistic Institute's College of Massage Therapy in San Francisco, and she graduated with a letter of excellence. Currently, she focuses on harmonizing body and spirit with her strong hands and the warm, soothing light emanating from her third eye, knowing firsthand that this balance?different for every client?is critical to general well-being and athletic performance. A specialization in integrative massage reflects this attitude, as the style allows her to respond to individual problems with any stroke from her repertoire, including Swedish, deep-tissue therapy, and rarer styles such as Hawaiian lomi lomi.
As director of the manual therapy program at Inner-Action Sports Rehab in Oakland, she continuously expands her knowledge of how the human body works, fails, and can be righted without jamming limbs into a T-square. Practicing the 3,000-year-old art also sparked her interest in the ancient holistic health systems of ayurveda and Chinese medicine, the study of which she has penned into her continuing-education schedule.
Rockridge Day Spa employs as many vegan and organic products as possible. These naturally derived palliatives aid the aestheticians as they design personalized facials that manage to hydrate, improve skin tone, or simply restore a youthful glow around the cheekbones. Body scrubs leave the skin soft and radiant by using everything from brown sugar and honey to antioxidant-rich strawberries and fizzy sparkling wine to exfoliate the topmost layers. Similarly, the spa's chemical peels and microdermabrasion sessions use more advanced approaches as they conceal the appearance of wrinkles and pigmented blemishes.
While sipping on a cup of tea, clients can dangle their toes over pedicure bowls and enjoy a thoroughly indulgent nail treatment that pampers the feet with mineral soaks and gentle massages. The spa's massage therapist indulges visitors even more by using a personalized blend of Swedish and deep-tissue techniques to soothe aching muscle and relieve the chronic pains caused by sleeping in a bathtub full of marbles.
If Kume Foot Spa and Tea Bar?s the trickling water fountain, botanical art, and drifting herbal aromas don?t immediately mark it as a tranquil haven, its lengthy list of commendations will. Readers of Oakland Magazine named it the Best Spa in 2012 and the Best Place to Treat Your Feet in 2011, and the magazine's editors called it the Most Relaxing Place to Take a Load Off in 2010. The cozy, Asian-inspired spa has also been nominated in the Best Day Spa category on the San Francisco A-List.
Inside the spa?s lauded confines, skilled massage therapists and reflexologists perform treatments ranging from acupressure and shiatsu sessions to soothing aromatherapy massages with lavender, ginger, and peppermint essential oils. At the tea bar, guests sip complimentary loose-leaf varieties grown in the mountains of China while gargling responses to the nearby water fountain.
Blooming along the entryway to Simply Gorgeous Day Spa, a verdant collage of greenery reflects the full-service spa’s devotion to using organic products and holistic techniques. Inside, a team of stylists, aestheticians, and massage therapists supplement their slate of all-natural modalities and products with modern technology, resulting in services as diverse as Thai massages, LED light therapies, colonics, and Shellac manicures. To make it easy on clients looking to boost their beauty and health, the staff bundles its services into thoughtful packages that include multiple complementary treatments and unlimited conversations with the spa's enchanted mirror. Every service includes a detailed preliminary consultation, use of spa robes and slippers, and a brief tutorial on how to maintain freshly beautified looks at home.
Licensed acupuncturist Christopher Pearson and his team at Be Well Integral Healing Space strive to not only help heal patients, but to do it in the healthiest way possible. To achieve this level of wellness, they established a lineup that includes a licensed naturopathic doctor, a certified massage therapist, and two licensed acupuncturists. Supplemented by herbal and naturopathic family medicine, Be Well Integral Healing Space specializes in the ancient arts of massage and acupuncture.
The quartet of healers outfitted their space to soothe the eyes and minds as they work on bodies. Rows of candles cast soft light across the private treatment rooms, creating a calming astmosphere that is mirrored in the gauzy fabrics draped over massage beds and cascading from the ceilings. Potted plants and sunlight bring a touch of nature, without having to find a squirrel certified in acupuncture.
The floor-to-ceiling front window at Topps Salon Day Spa lets in natural sunlight that bounces off the pale-yellow walls and light wooden floors. Upon entering the airy salon, guests see shelves full of pink, purple, and green Pureology bottles—with a few products by American Crew and Framesi sprinkled in—as well as a counter with complimentary coffee. A row of six styling chair lies to the left, where staff draw on their certifications and training in Brazilian Blowout, Vidal Sassoon, and Framesi to revamp hair.
In the day spa, aestheticians wax away unwanted hair and rejuvenate skin with facials for both men and women, while massage therapists relieve aches with Swedish and shiatsu massages. Nail technicians contribute manicures and pedicures topped off with OPI polish, or create nail art recreating each scene from the Bayeux Tapestry.