When Earthbody looks to hire new massage therapists and licensed aestheticians, it doesn't consider recent graduates?rather, it's looking for people with years of training and experience beneath their belts, and who still love what they do. It wants people who are healers at heart, able to lavish each client with skillful services and attention. Each detail at Earthbody has been carried out with similar mindfulness?from the spa's own line of organic body and facial products, all crafted in small batches in San Francisco, to little luxuries such as heated and infused foot towels and complimentary tea service.
To set the mood, the staff lights soy candles and tea lights, which burn cleanly so that even those with allergies can breathe easily. Surrounded by this soft glow, aestheticians renew skin with facials or treat bodies to massages that not only make muscles feel great but also uproot deep-seated tension. After each session?be it a couples massage or hot-oil Indian scalp treatment?the staff can compost, recycle, or launder everything used during the sessions. Dr. Shawn Goozh, a licensed clinical psychologist, also offers somatic-psychotherapy sessions that use bodywork to deepen traditional psychotherapy.
The staff's attention to detail hasn't gone unnoticed by the media. "This intimate Hayes Valley spot is more healing center than mere day spa," writes the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "Therapists are trained in several modalities and develop custom sessions for every client, including consultations before and after treatment." In 2010, SF Weekly named Earthbody its pick for best day spa, citing its "ecological sustainability and ancient holistic rites."
Three thriving locations and a slew of press from outlets such as Teen Vogue and Fox News make a strong case for the success of LaBelle Day Spas & Salons. But the true testament to the salon and spa's success lies, quite literally, in the hands of owner and skincare specialist Bella Schneider. Bella is the winner of the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Crystal Award and has spent almost four decades helping clients including Audrey Hepburn and Michelle Pfeiffer, obtain healthy, glowing complexions.
Her humble European background led her to the salon where she would receive an apprenticeship at the young age of 14. This moment became the catalyst to her skincare career, which included earning an Economics degree in the States before opening the first LaBelle Day Spa and Salon in 1976. And even though she added two more locations by the late 1980's, the mission for each beauty haven has remained the same: to provide European-quality treatments that are science-based.
Bella and her team—which includes her daughter and grandson—use her personally-formulated line of products to ensure effective results during each service, which range from vitamin-infused facials to mani-pedis enhanced by essential oils and advanced body-contouring Endermologie treatments. LaBella's team also guarantees an exceptional experience by offering spa guests a relaxing foot soak. In the salons, master stylists and colorists customized hair services by using advanced balayage and precision cutting techniques, while Pilates instructors teach private lessons so clients can perfect their posture, alignment, and grace.
During the summer of 1970, Moscow State University math student Mikhail Brodsky traveled to the Konda River in Western Siberia to log trees. While there, he visited his first banya?a public Russian bathhouse?and tried Siberian steam bathing. He became enamored of the practice, but didn't get to experience it again until visiting another Siberian town four years later. He soon started traveling throughout the world to study all the baths and hot springs he could find, earning the nickname Archimedes?for the ancient Greek mathematician?due to his habit of helping bathhouse staff members solve problems.
After moving to California, Mikhail decided to open his own bathhouse. Though design and construction took 12 years, he and a group of international friends finally opened Archimedes Banya SF, a coed public bathhouse that blends the aesthetics and traditions of Greek, Turkish, German, and Russian bathhouses with modern amenities. Spa staffers usher guests into steamy hardwood saunas and cold swimming pools on four themed floors, each decked out in warm cream-colored tiles or cool blue and silver accents. Deck chairs populate the rooftop patio, where visitors take in views of the bay and excise any remaining stress by screaming at boats. In private spa rooms, therapists knead guests' muscles during Russian platza massages and soak them in natural herb and mineral baths. The bathhouse is open until midnight while the bar and dining area stays open as late as 11:30 pm.
Mixing beauty and business comes as naturally to Trang Warden as it does to any dealer of fine art. Her father was a man of great entrepreneurial spirit, and her mother was the owner of a San Francisco salon, giving Trang the seeds of two complementary passions. After earning her business degree and gaining a job at a Fortune 500 company, she still worked weekends at a spa with her sister, honing a talent she’d discovered with a part-time manicurist position at age 17. Today, she continues to blend commerce with cosmetic savvy—though now in one place: Zen Day Spa.
At the wheel of her beauty haven, Trang pampers hands, feet, and faces with an extensive treatment menu that relies on botanically sourced products from brands such as Epicuren, Murad, and Yonka-Paris. Tropical scents waft from mani-pedi stations, where toes soak in a signature jelly bath sprinkled with rose petals and nail technicians massage limbs with a papaya-pineapple scrub. Other body therapies incorporate volcanic clay and propolis mined from plants and flowers by bees wearing hardhats in Brazilian rainforests.
Neuromuscular massage therapist Joanne Stearns and certified massage therapist Liz Ly work together to help to relieve chronic aches through therapeutic bodywork. Stearns and Ly both graduated from the National Holistic Institute and have years of experience working as massage therapists, dating back to the invention of muscles in 2001.
Know The Modalities
|Deep Tissue||Trigger Point||Sports|
|Targets knots that can inhibit range of motion in the back, neck, shoulders||Focuses on areas that are in chronic pain, a result of pent-up stress or overexertion||Helps athletes recover with an orthopedic evaluation and assisted stretches|
|Uses light to firm strokes to ease tension, improve circulation, and push blood toward the heart||Stones placed on key areas of tension delivers penetrate deep into the muscles||Soothes expectant mothers' aches and promotes relaxation throughout the body|
The scents of eucalyptus, lavender, and sandalwood that linger in the air at The I Spa can be traced back to an essential-oil blending bar, where clients can customize their own relaxing fragrances. These fragrances eventually make their way into massages that cater to individual aches and pains with techniques drawn from 10 distinct modalities.
?Customization? seems to be the principle that unites and guides every treatment that takes place at The I Spa. This is evident not only in the massages, but in the skin analysis that precedes each facial, allowing the spa?s aestheticians to craft unique blends of products from Jan Marini and Eve Taylor.
Regardless of the treatment, it?s not difficult to relax amidst the spa?s tile walls, gauzy curtains, and tropical flowers. Each treatment room is equipped with a vacant iPod dock that allows clients to play their own self-recorded impersonations of Phil Collins cooing like a pigeon.