Unita Parnell is a licensed massage therapist who believes that massage holds the power to help bodies heal from the inside out. Following this holistic philosophy, she begins each massage with a 15-minute consultation before doling out Swedish, reflexology, and hot-stone techniques that aim to knead away pain and tension and free the mind from stressful burdens. To hasten the healing process, Unita also offers seaweed body wraps, which nourish and detoxify the skin, and mani-pedis, which call upon baths and essential oils to help appendages recover from a long week spent typing, tap-dancing, or doing both at the same time.
Hair thin and metallic, the needles at AB Acupuncture don’t seem like they would pack much punch. But in the right hands—an acupuncturist's—they gently wash away pain. The hefty list of ailments acupuncture helps includes knee pain, headaches, nausea, peptic ulcers, and allergies. The specialists also alleviate aches and tension with Thai, tui na, and lymphatic-drainage massages and episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Massage therapist. Lifestyle coach. Group fitness instructor. The list of Kathleen Pleasants’s vocations goes on and on. At Clearly Unique, Kathleen caters to clients' health and wellbeing, relying on her years of experience as a holistic health practitioner. As head massage therapist, she charms muscles into relaxing and dissipates stress and pain with deep-tissue and Swedish massages and neuromuscular therapy. Kathleen also has a special touch for carpal tunnel syndrome, alleviating the painful symptoms with three physical-therapy sessions.
Going above and beyond traditional massage services, Clearly Unique also hosts a range of workshops. Classes teach the art of reiki, advanced massage techniques, energy balancing, and even nutrition, in which Kathleen—who is not just a nutritional counselor but is also featured in the book Is She Naturally Thin or Disciplined? —leads the way to healthy eating.
Located in Vista, New U Rejuvenation Center is both a fitness and wellness center under one spacious roof. For fitness, clients can come in for whole-body-vibration fitness sessions, which are said to achieve results in a shorter amount of time than traditional workouts. The center also features personal training with certified trainers and group-fitness classes such as Zumba and ab classes centered around hip-hop or music by The Chipmunks. Wellness services abound here––there are massage services, nutritional programs, an oxygen bar, and an infrared jade sauna, believed to be able to burn calories while detoxifying the body. Members can try a detoxing ionic footbath, or come in for one of the beauty treatments available from licensed aestheticians, such as a pedicure, bikini waxing, or a facial.
As the weather outside grows colder, Bella D’ora Spa rolls out the cookie dough—or, at least, the smell of baking cookies. The seasonal sugar-cookie massage incorporates a brown-sugar hand-and-foot scrub into a sweet-smelling massage. The staff also provide an equal level of pampering year-round through warm-stone massages, organic facials, and body wraps that work to rid skin of toxins that may have been absorbed during baths in the chemical vats at a local soft-drink factory. Clients can bundle services for spa parties or bridal parties, which come with optional hors d’oeuvres or lunch plates that easily sate high-noon cravings.
With private, open-air massage-therapy areas and treatments featuring the essences of locally grown plants, The Spa at Estancia La Jolla complements the outdoor-oriented ambiance of the hacienda-style resort. The resort is set on nearly 10 acres of carefully landscaped botanical gardens, with native plants and a heated outdoor pool where spa guests relax on padded chaises longues. Nature finds its way inside as well, via a eucalyptus-infused steam room and massages enhanced by organic lavender and rosemary.
In 2012, the day spa earned recognition from readers of the La Jolla Village News and the La Jolla Light. Specials such as Tapas Thursdays and the invigorating midday Empowerment Lunch allow patrons to sample the award-winning facials, massages, manicures, and pedicures.
Two dozen candles glow welcomingly at Natural Athletic Performance Spa, where holistic health practitioner Reyna Carter guides an elite team specializing in fine-tuning the bodies of athletes in a setting that dissolves the stress of competition. Acupuncturist and master of traditional Oriental medicine Melissa Batten represents the staff members’ expertise and thoughtful approach to their work. Having enrolled at the International Professional School of Bodywork, she realized she could better serve her clients with a degree from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, where she pursued sports medicine, interned for two years in various clinical settings, and learned to differentiate the ailments better addressed with Western medicine. A pair of licensed massage therapists—one of whom is also a certified personal trainer—wield knowledge of six modalities that include the circulation-boosting Swedish style as well as thai and sports massages that loosen joints and target injury prevention. Treatments to streamline silhouettes for races with speeding bullets take shape as either dietary supplements or noninvasive, mechanical kneadings.