John Whitman is more than a licensed massage therapist. He's also a massage-therapist instructor, licensed to help other therapists hone their healing skills. Patrons can benefit from Whitman's expertise at Opulent Massage, where he relaxes and soothes muscles with modalities such as trigger-point therapy and deep-tissue massage. Clients can also opt for cellulite massages and face-lift massages that improve appearances, or for pampering treatments such as foot massages that incorporate a fragrant, exfoliating salt scrub.
A two-fold enterprise, La Dolce Vita Day Spa and Fashion Lounge combines a spa and art studio. Staff members lead spa goers from the waiting area's cushy seats to pedicure chairs, which roll and vibrate across knotted backs. In private treatment rooms, the spa's massage therapists show the chairs who’s boss with their arsenal of deep-tissue techniques, relaxing hot stones, and opposable thumbs. Aestheticians brighten complexions with European facials fortified by PCA Skin products, wax away unwanted fuzz, and enhance lash volume and length with extensions by Xtreme Lashes.
La Dolce Vita also makes an ideal gathering spot with its Bubbles N Brushes paint parties, where instructors guide novice artists through the steps of creating masterpieces.
You'll see Body-N-Balance's tidily uniformed spa therapists in their treatment rooms, of course. But if you're a guest at the Omni Hotel that holds the Body-N-Balance location, you might also see them just about anywhere on the grounds, greeting new arrivals and offering suggestions for nearby restaurants.
It's not a sign that the massage therapists are distracted from their work, however. Body-N-Balance founders Loyd and Monique Wellesley met in massage school, but their vision of service extends far beyond the treatment table. They aim to make guests, including couples, feel welcome and relaxed whether they're in town for a convention or just stopping by for a facial. To that end, they pay close attention not just to the massage strokes, but to the ambience and aromas surrounding their treatments. Those treatments often pamper the skin as well as the muscles, making for multisensory experiences that have won a lot of fans, such as Jessica Skropanic of Worldwide Spa Review who described the back scrub as, "heavenly!"
Rachel Pesina, the certified therapist behind Di' Massaggio Wellness, eases pain and subdues stress with Swedish and deep-tissue techniques learned over 15 years of professional massage experience. Before she opened her own practice, she attended the European Massage Therapy Institute, which demands 400 hours of hands-on practice and memorization of at least three massage-themed fight songs. In addition to nurturing injured sinews back to heath, Rachel’s gentle kneading motions and focused pressure help expel toxins, improve digestion, and increase mental alertness.
Just like hairstyles, names can change. In late 1999, the Gonzalez siblings opened a salon called Dolce Divino. More than a decade and many advanced training sessions with experts later, the salon has been rechristened. Atelier Salon specializes in french haircutting and balayage highlights, and its work has been featured in Vogue, Elle, W, and Allure. Its stylists undergo weekly advanced training sessions to make sure they stay on the cutting edge of style techniques and haircut-related puns.
To promote relaxation, the ambiance is just as important as the bodywork. That's why licensed massage therapist Stephanie Sellars set up her Pure Serenity Massage studio on scenic South Padre Island, only a stone's throw from the Atlantic ocean. Waves can almost be heard beating against the sand as Stephanie relieves chronic tension with soothing Swedish strokes and deep-tissue pressure. Clients may request a signature prenatal massage session to temper joint pain in expectant mothers.