Before Aaron Harris ever rescued a sore back with massage, he dashed to the aid of others as a paramedic. Today, he applies his knowledge of kinesiology and physiology with a backdrop of soothing sounds rather than sirens to help his clients recover from injuries and battle chronic pain. To ensure top-notch treatments, he staffs his office with current students and alumni of the National Holistic Institute who also studied kinesiology, anatomy, and physiology. These trained therapists are skilled in massage modalities such as Swedish, deep tissue, zen shiatsu, and Thai. And when they aren't kneading sinews, they perform holistic techniques such as energy work, aromatherapy, crystal healing, and reiki. They can also leave their office to mend muscles and mobilize joints on-location at events, such as a tin-man convention.
If The 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.
Almost as long as the list of ingredients that Simply Green Day Spa?s organic nail polishes include is the list of common polish chemicals that they don?t. The colorful hues from SpaRitual and Butter London eschew DBA, toluene, formaldehyde, parabens, and phtalates?and none were tested on animals. By using products such as these, Simply Green simultaneously nurtures both its clients and the environment. While nail technicians wield the nontoxic polishes and acetone-free polish remover, augmenting mani-pedis with sugar and salt scrubs and hot-stone massages, skincare experts turn to natural facial treatments. Antioxidants from blueberries and vitamin C set to work on blemishes along with exfoliation, masks, and steam, which helps patrons clear their clogged pores without trying to suck out dirt with a Shop-Vac. All skincare treatments are performed using Organic Philosophy, Natural and Organic Skin Care, and Eminence Organic products, which are all made using organic ingredients, such as fruit pulp, plants, and spices.
Simply Green Day Spa?s staff also eases aches and stress with Swedish, deep-tissue, and prenatal massages. After a thorough coddling, waxing specialists banish leg hair or evict unwanted fuzz from the face, leaving patrons completely made over. Setting the stage for these transformations, Simply Green?s decor lives up to its name?s other meaning with plush green armchairs arranged amid sage-green walls, a rock fountain, and sweeping white curtains.
Licensed acupuncturist Thomas Cobb travelled from coast to coast to study the art of Chinese medicine. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, he bid adieu to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for a new home in San Francisco, where he studied at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. There, he mastered acupuncture techniques that help patients unload stress, recover from illness, and remind themselves that they're not made of balloons. Licensed in both acupuncture and herbal medicine, Thomas continues to aid patients on their path to mental and physical wellness at Left Coast Acupuncture with treatments that forego pharmaceuticals in favor of natural healing methods.
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.