Some seek Pilates for weight loss or a toned body, and others for stress relief and overall wellbeing. But Erica Lukes was drawn to the mat to recover from a horseback-riding injury in the early '90s. As her pain subsided and her range of motion returned through her practice, she became compelled to help others reap the benefits of the core-strengthening workout, earning her certification as a Pilates instructor, and eventually helming Total Body Pilates. Now, she guides students of all fitness levels through Pilates, ballet barre, and Zumba classes to achieve their fitness and wellness goals. She helps them to build long, lean muscles through mat- and machine-based Pilates, in which students work on a special machine consisting of ropes and pulleys designed to add extra resistance to each movement, resulting in the lithe limbs and toned muscles of a gym cat, the natural predator of the ubiquitous gym rat.
In the human body, issues such as pain and limited mobility rarely stem from a single cause. That's why the Padgen Institute fused four massage styles into a signature method, instead of sticking to one approach. More than 20 years of practice provide the basis for the Padgen Method, which calls on both elements of structural integration to align the joints and lengthen fascia and craniosacral therapy to jump-start the body's own healing mechanisms. At the same time, Swedish and Esalen massage techniques ease tension lurking just beneath the surface. At his eponymous Padgen Institute of Healing Arts, Steven personally instructs each therapist in the ways of his signature technique to ensure that he or she can ease pain and help realign energy pathways.
For Cindy Howell, every massage calls for a different approach. That's why the licensed massage therapist draws upon five modalities at Mama Mia Family Massage, paying close attention to what every body needs. Of course, she also happily sticks to one style when necessary, whether kneading muscles with gentle Swedish strokes or incorporating elements of reflexology and meditation into Thai yoga massages. Her sessions result in myriad benefits, including improved circulation, a stronger immune system, and relief from general aches and anxieties.
The licensed massage therapists at Intuitive Touch understand that no two bodies are exactly the same. That's why they start appointments with a conversation, discussing where the client is most sore and whether they have sensitive skin. They then tailor their strokes around problem areas and apply organic lotions and oils to sensitive skin. As a convenience, the therapists also travel to homes, hospitals, and hotels to perform their relaxing, therapeutic rub-downs.
Using cosmetics as her medium and faces as her canvas, makeup artist Rachel designs looks for clients whether they are preparing for a special event or the most memorable moment of their life since they learned to yo-yo—their wedding. With MAC and Youngblood cosmetics in her bag, Rachel travels to her clients to skillfully apply eyeshadows, blushes, and lipsticks—all with a steady, experienced hand and a keen eye for creating natural looks.
The massage therapists at Become Nourished by Nature pull from a variety of techniques and natural products to soothe patrons. Aromatherapy oils infuse the senses as therapists unwind muscles during deep-tissue or hot-stone massages. To enhance sessions, they encourage lymph flow with brisk strokes from exfoliating mitts or bring about whole-body relaxation by stimulating acupressure points on the scalp and face.