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."
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, 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 and its restaurant stay open as late as midnight on weekends.
Each member of Orchids Beauty Salon’s team stays abreast of the advancements and trends in their aesthetic specialties, ensuring clients receive the latest in pampering from head to toe. Stylists problem solve for each head of hair, restoring proteins and smoothing down strands with Keratin and Brazilian Brushing treatments, snipping overgrown cuts into shape, or remaking a client’s image with a fresh new style. The salon’s arsenal of aestheticians include Brazilian bikini specialists, who wage an all-out war on hair, invading bikini zone follicles with a deluge of warm wax before zipping the area clean with the precision of a German train schedule in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. Clients suffering aches and pains find solace in the salon’s eclectic selection of massage modalities that range from the smooth strokes of Swedish massage to the affectionate nuzzles from pet rocks found in hot stone therapy.
Paule-Dominique Anneheim, a certified massage therapist and owner of Voilà La Familia, eases muscle pain with techniques customized to the needs of men, women, and infants. Since she was 17 years old and living in Marseille, Paule-Dominique has been working with both healthy and disabled youngsters. She went on to become a children’s massage instructor and expert on wooden-block ergonomics before moving to Tahiti to help open a clinic. The experienced massage therapist now brings gentle kneads and Swedish massage techniques to bear against tension and pain in private rooms speckled with colorful orchids. Oil infused with vitamin E steeps skin in moisture and prevents stretch marks, and the therapist's expertise in pediatric, prenatal, and postpartum massage allows her to soothe mothers stressed by pregnancy and little ones stressed by investigations into what the cow says.
From pink martini sparkle mani-pedis to signature facials, Quince Spa offers exotic treatments in an equally exotic atmosphere. This dimly lit spa exudes tranquility, offering clients a haven to plop down on a cozy massage table for a hot stone massage or let their feet soak in wooden foot baths while they sip complimentary beverages and recline in leather chairs that are partitioned off by Shoji screens. Using products from OPI, Havainas, and Essie, Nail technicians perform ginger tea bamboo sugar mani-pedis, as well as Japanese Yuzu citrus callous removal pedicures and gentlemen’s manicures. Massage therapists, meanwhile, harmonize the mind and body with massages and foot reflexology treatments. The staff also offers eyebrow tinting and facials, helping clients look younger while undoing damage caused by UV rays that whisper insults into pores as they penetrate skin.
It was Lily Riesenfeld and Leila Burrows’ respective passions for Pilates and yoga that spawned The Pad, a tranquil wellness center highlighted by geometric mirrors and Victorian-chic accent walls. Featured in SF Yoga Magazine, The Pad caters to men and women of all ages and fitness levels by offering a diverse schedule of private, duet, and group yoga and Pilates classes. Skilled instructors, each with their own set of specializations, lead sessions ranging from Vinyasa power to prenatal and postpartum classes, helping students find balance through controlled breathing, strategic movements, and attempts to drip all sweat beads into a single thimble. The studio is set at a consistent 75 degrees, keeping muscles warm and toxins crawling far away from bodies.