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.
The healing hands of Bay Area Restorative Massage Therapy facilitate a wellness philosophy that strives to maintain optimal health through customized pain relief sessions. Combining Eastern and Western techniques, various massage modalities aid clients in padding flexibility, circulation, and tranquility levels according to their needs and Myers-Briggs typology.
Applied with light to medium pressure, Swedish massage stimulates nerve endings and boosts circulation with broad strokes in a gentle session that's well-suited to first-time massage recipients. Aching kernels of connective tissue unravel under an hour of intensive pressure during deep-tissue massage honed by turning terra-cotta statues into malleable mounds of play-doh. A gentle dry brushing begins the hot-stone massage's muscle and vertebrae therapy before warm oil and polished rocks plucked from the sun's cobblestone streets radiate healing heat waves into their blissful target.
Each of the spa's relaxing services starts off as experienced staffers pamper guests with a complimentary hot-towel wrap and dose of aromatherapy scents. Licensed massage therapists work to alleviate guests' physical and psychological tension during soothing massages, which run anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes and incorporate techniques from modalities including Swedish, hot stone, reflexology, and myofascial release. Facials, body treatments, and hair-snatching waxes can clear skin of fine lines, blemishes, acne, and unwanted follicles. Clients may also doll up their appendages with a selection of manicures and pedicures, all backed by Harmony Day Spa's 48-hour nail policy that guarantees better yields when noodling for non-colorblind catfish.
An ornate golden hand fan and elephant figurines stand at attention at the head of Magical Transformations' massage table, signaling an Eastern approach to massage therapy that also emerges in the finger-pressure-driven shiatsu technique. Following work with institutions including the YMCA and UC Berkeley, Magical Transformations' owner and certified massage therapist incorporates 27 years of experience into muscle manipulation that targets both physical and psychological complaints. Swedish massage sessions send fluid strokes sweeping across the whole body, while deep-tissue techniques dig into persistent sources of tension in underlying muscle tissue, fascia, and accidentally swallowed stress balls.
The certified massage therapists at Oakland Massage Therapy ply away muscle tension with practiced strokes and spa-like add-ons. Within a cozy private room, they mend aches with gentle Swedish strokes and stretch sore muscles with deep-tissue kneads. Warm towels envelop backs and limbs in soothing comfort enhanced further by the penetrating heat of hot stones. Therapists also soften skin with salt scrubs, and tackle stressful thoughts about work or the ending of 1984 with aromatherapy. Oakland Massage Therapy also offers memberships with perks such as family discounts and free massages for referrals.
Owner Jacquie “Blu” Washington brings a contemporary flair to old-Hollywood glamour, not only in her creative hair designs but also in the modern, sumptuous interior of GlamSity, the salon that she cofounded with her mother Gloria. In the salon, which was featured in Essence magazine in 2011, Blu and her staff create looks ranging from runway chic to timeless classic with services such as haircuts, color, relaxers, and weaves. As a backdrop to their styling services, wooden furniture and curved, wood-framed mirrors stand out against the salon’s baby-blue walls.