Though motherhood and Chinese medicine may seem to be two disparate specialties, Sydney Bebb-Walker embodies their common thread: listening. An acupuncturist and massage therapist with more than 25 years of training, Sydney still prides herself most on her ability to simply listen to patients before mapping out a treatment plan that will bring them a long-term sense of well-being.
Her treatments generally blend a range of therapies from a list that includes Chinese herbal medicine, detoxifying infrared sauna sessions, allergy testing, and acupuncture, which she studied at the San Francisco College of Acupuncture. Under Sydney's care, past patients with issues ranging from the stresses of young adulthood to menopause and aging have found effective therapies for treating their ailments.
Aquarium maintenance might seem like a strange background for an expert in neuromuscular therapy and deep-tissue massage, but that's exactly how massage therapist Lynne Luckow got her start. She decided to change careers after reading about the health benefits of massage and went on to study anatomy, physiology, and medical massage at Aesthetics University. She opened Healing Hands Therapy Center in 1993 and continued her training with renowned professionals in the field of alternative medicine. Eventually, she grew her practice to the point where she was working 12 hours a day, six days a week, roughly the amount of time it takes to give a full-body massage to a really big whale. Luckow knew it was time to expand: the center is now home to eight highly trained massage therapists, who earned it nominations in CityVoter's Best Massage category in 2011.
In addition to performing massages, Luckow promotes physical and emotional healing with Ayurvedic counseling and meditation. She has further rounded out her team with licensed acupuncturist Brenda Sherman, who holds a Master of Science in acupuncture and oriental medicine.
To some, entering Blush Day Spa may feel more like wandering into a European castle. In the lobby, tufted armchairs huddle against an exposed-brick wall decorated with framed mirrors and paintings. Elsewhere, tasseled curtains lead out to a stone waterfall, soft yellow lamps and flowers sit next to cozy pedicure chairs, and massage tables lie side-by-side, strewn in rose petals and gold blankets near a vintage ebony credenza.
All that's not to say the spa is out of date. In fact, the service menu is decidedly modern, with treatments such as body contouring and anti-aging manicures with a glycolic peel. Their facials are particularly advanced, especially the LED photo rejuvenation and oxygen facials that both help brighten and even out skin tone. Even with all the technology, old-fashioned relaxation is still a priority, with a variety of massages available. This combination of results and relaxation led WESH-2 TV to deem Blush the area's Best Day Spa.
Owner Julie Martinez cultivates a serene atmosphere at Body Karma, one in which the body's natural ability to heal shines. With the help of locally crafted spa products, made with natural preservatives and essential oils instead of harsh chemicals, her staff performs massages and herb-based facials.
Santé Restaurant’s refined menu of contemporary French and American cuisine has earned the eatery honors including a Michelin star and an AAA Four Diamond Award. The sophisticated yet simple cooking showcases the quality of the ingredients, many of which are locally sourced—on the current menu, the tasting of beef entree features a filet mignon from Niman Ranch, and dessert courses boast zinfandel-poached black mission figs. Chefs also search out of state for high-end delicacies, such as butter-poached Maine lobster, which graces a grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese dish the New York Times dubbed a “must-try” in 2010. To complement the cuisine, the menu also features more than 500 wines from throughout Napa and Sonoma, earning the restaurant an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
The dining room cultivates an elegant atmosphere, with low-lit sconces and French doors designed to fling open only for the freshest spring breezes. The sunshine-yellow hues of walls, plates, and tablecloths also help evoke a comfortably refined ambiance.
Within the walls of Lavender Hill Spa, volcanic ash becomes more romantic than a bouquet of roses. Two Jacuuzi tubs stand side by side within a private cottage, where couples can relax with signature volcanic-mud bath treatments, which combine volcanic ash with White Sea kelp, therapeutic mineral salts, and lavender essential oils. Couples' spa packages also move beyond the tub?love birds can both enjoy therapeutic massages and facials.
Lavender Hill Spa nurtures more than just romance, however. Nestled against a garden hillside, the relaxing spa welcomes clients of all sorts with special packages, such as the Gentlemen's Choice with a volcanic-ash mud bath and deep-tissue massage, or the Mothers-to-Be with a coconut-milk bath treatment and pre-natal massage.