"I stepped out of the pod feeling almost absurdly peaceful and relaxed, wanting to do nothing more than just sit in a park somewhere and be happy and grateful." So said Mark Lukach of 7x7 after two float sessions in the 30% Epsom-salts water at Float Matrix. Named the Best Place to Alter Your Consciousness in 2010 by SF Weekly, the center lets visitors unburden themselves of stress in a soundproof, lightproof pod designed to simulate weightlessness and send brainwave patterns into a soothing theta state. The process has been scientifically researched and is based on a phenomenon called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique, or REST?a deeply relaxed state in which the body is believed to divert freed-up resources to address cognitive function, creativity, and conditions such as pain and broken telekinesis actuators.
Owner Kane Mantyla told Lukach, "Floating is a lot like experiencing ?nothing,? and there is no set narrative for ?nothing? in our culture.? Mantyla was inspired to found the center in 2006, after experiencing a profound healing from his own pain. He has since facilitated more than 10,000 floats, helping clients share in the blissful nothingness in a tranquil, clean environment. The saltwater?which is mostly sterile to begin with?is sanitized after each session with compound filtration, ozone, and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Not content to only provide one path to relaxation, the center also promotes wellness via infrared-sauna sessions.
The stark contrast of elegant white walls and vibrant local artwork greets clients as they walk into Union Street Dermatology. Amid the chic boutique space, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Elias J. Michael and his experienced staff help to relieve skin issues, such as rosacea, acne, and signs of aging, with advanced skin treatments. When he’s not screening for skin cancer or other disorders, Dr. Michael and his colleague Dr. Sandra Morrow oversee cosmetic and med-spa treatments in the form of laser hair removal, sclerotherapy, and eight types of wrinkle fillers including Juvéderm, Radiesse, and medical-grade silly putty.
Brazil native Miria Kutcher brought a decidedly Brazilian touch to the ambiance and services at Venus Bodywork. The spa differentiates itself with an eclectic combination of European and South American aesthetic treatments not commonly found in the US. She and her well-trained team help each client through a menu of noninvasive treatments, tackling everything from wrinkles and cellulite to unwanted body hair. These med-spa services are offered amid warm fixtures such as wicker chairs, hardwood floors, and even blue-brick walls?which were repurposed from a schoolhouse in Atlantis.
Stress can affect the body adversely on a daily basis, causing aches, exhaustion, and mental fatigue. That’s why Jacob Titus St. James and his team spends their days combating it through healing bodywork, such as Swedish and deep-tissue massage. Saint Therapy uses natural and organic products, hand-made and free of artificial additives. They also practice the art of de-stressing through skin-nourishing detox body wraps and scrubs, as well as Gchat sessions with Kenny G’s saxophone.
Since opening its doors, LaserAway has accumulated 18 California locations and the patronage of celebrities such as the Kardashian clan. At different settings, the clinic's state-of-the-art lasers can treat signs of sun damage, tattoos, body hair, and glued-on glam-rock wigs with comfort and efficiency. The clinic's medical professionals are all fully licensed to administer laser pulses, and fully glad to educate clients on the intricacies of skincare.
In one room, skincare specialists swath bodies in an all-natural seaweed gel, sprinkle on a potpourri of nourishing herbs, and let infrared heat draw out their toning and detoxifying qualities. In another, acupuncturists realign clients' chi and fine-tune their physical and emotional fields. And behind any door, massage therapists may be kneading tense muscles, chiropractors may be adjusting injured backs, or aestheticians may be resurfacing complexions to a radiant glow with oxygen facials.
A staff of professionals from many areas of expertise come together under the roof and stress-zapping force field of Balance the Clinic, where they work together to bolster physical and emotional health with natural remedies and clinically tested treatments. In addition to consulting with any of these staff members, guests also can retreat into the privacy of an infrared sauna. From a private changing room, individuals or couples step into a hypoallergenic, odor-free basswood chamber equipped with a sound system that sets the sauna gently vibrating in time with relaxing music.