From the street, Spa Sass? is barely distinguishable from the other little black awnings and narrow storefronts. But step inside, and the narrow storefront opens up into a 5,000-square-foot refuge from the downtown bustle.
Guests are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early for their appointment, giving them ample time to slip into fluffy robes and slippers and sip complimentary juice or tea before being ushered into a private treatment room. Here, aestheticians strive to ensure a soothing experience by treating skin with the utmost delicacy. They nourish it with natural ingredients such as honey, cacao, and Dead Sea salts, and, during laser hair removal, they wield the SoftLight laser, whose beams are gentle enough to zap hair from faces without damaging pores.
Licensed massage therapist Karen McAlpine specializes in a unique form of barefoot massage known as ashiatsu. With the aid of oil and two support bars above the treatment table, she applies deep pressure to the dense muscles of the back and shoulders using the balls of her feet, heels, and toes. She also offers traditional Swedish massage, hot-stone massage, and other luxurious spa treatments.
Signature Service: Massage and Detoxifying Steam Bath
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 1 person
Parking: Free street parking
Minimum Age Requirement: 18
People go to spas to forget about the outside world. How does your decor help create an atmosphere where visitors can unwind?
Draped with exotic textiles, 20-foot ceilings, and an exposed brick wall, my clinic has an Old World charm that is also uncluttered and clean.
Do you use any products or brands you're particularly proud of? What makes them uniquely effective?
My products are all handmade and organic. Putting my extensive herbal knowledge to use, I formulate each oil, steam, and powder to meet my clients' specific needs.
How did you get started in the beauty industry? Did you have an "ah-ha" moment in life?
I began my career as a clinical herbalist. I wanted to offer my services to a wider audience, so I became a licensed massage therapist (#20414). My knowledge of Chinese medicine deepens what I am able to achieve through massage.
Aesthetician Emi Horvath shares a close connection with her craft. During facial treatments at her spa, the staff exclusively uses organic skincare products by Ilike, a company based in Emi's native country, Hungary. The products are infused with fruit pulp and herbs to help nourish skin naturally. The paprika facial treatment, for instance, uses a paprika-infused gel to trigger blood flow, detoxify pores, and leave skin with a radiant glow.
The spa also offers waxing services, including eyebrow and bikini waxes. For those clients seeking full-body indulgence, the spa staff performs a variety of relaxing body treatments. The salt glow treatment sloughs off dead skin and seals in moisture with natural rose-petal lotion. Alternatively, the hot-stone back facial exfoliates pores and soothes sore muscles with the help of heated stones and retired pet rocks.
Licensed acupuncturist Ashley Chen aims to balance the mind, body, and spirit using Chinese medicine. She redistributes energy levels to the body’s 12 meridians using acupuncture needles and essential oils, as well as a whole-body massage called shiatsu. She also practices sotai, a modern bodywork technique that uses breathing paired with movement of the joints or to the beat of "Flight of the Bumblebee."
A massage table, a chair, the floor?thanks to her mastery of shiatsu, Laughing Swan Massage's Jill Pex can perform a soothing massage nearly anywhere. And shiatsu is only one of the modalities in Jill's wheelhouse, which includes myofascial release, a therapy that focuses on improving muscle mobility, pain, and blood flow that she studied under its developer, John Barnes. Licensed since 1994, the Oregon School of Massage graduate's meticulous kneading bolsters energy, reduces soreness, and increases alertness. She even restores emotional balance with reiki, unburdening patrons of intense stresses.