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.
Certified massage therapist Erin Warfield Shaffer expresses her belief in holistic approaches to wellness by treating bodies to a detoxifying combination of hands, herbs, and hydrotherapy. Shaffer's four massages range from hot-stone techniques that melt tension in backs to reflexology methods that manipulate the feet in an effort to relieve pain in the rest of the body. She also cleanses bodies with such detoxification rituals as the acupoint session, a massage-like treatment that causes key points in the body to absorb healthy herbs so that clients don't have to sleep on a pile of herb-crusted halibut. The center also concocts custom facials and peels that nourish the skin with hydrotherapy, botanicals rich in Vitamin C, and other organic ingredients.
While growing up in Costa Rica, massage therapist Jackie would travel a long distance with the sole purpose of massaging her exhausted grandmother's hands and feet at the end of the day. The relief she brought to her grandmother piqued her interest in massage therapy and holistic practices. After studying in the United States under a respected Thai massage therapist, she hopped on a magic carpet and flew to Thailand, where she perfected her Thai massage technique.
Now at Human Touch Massage and Bodywork, she uses Thai massage and other modalities on everyone from professional athletes to retirees. She performs several massages on a comfortable floor mat, which allows her to use her body weight to hold down limbs, rather than relying on strategically placed dumbbells.
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.
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.
At East to West Massage Therapy, located just off the San Diego Freeway and about 3 miles north of the Ocean Beach Freeway, the experienced massage therapists work with the belief that having a happy body is key to leading a happy life. As such, they tailor massages to meet each client's specific mental and physical needs. Swedish, deep-tissue, and aromatherapy massages are just a few of the modalities they use to help their clients relax and heal. Couples massages and group packages are also available, including in-home massage options.