Within a 17th-floor penthouse, Spa J'Adore's wide windows allow rays of sunlight to illuminate Buddha photos, exposed-brick walls, and brilliant orchids. Their décor, a combination of urban chic and zen sensibilities, reflects the massage practice's dual focus on Western and Eastern traditions. To that end, massage therapists are equally adept at deep-tissue and Swedish treatments as modalities from Thailand and Japan. The staff also paints on tans with brushes instead of sprays during body-bronzing sessions, which create a smoother, more natural appearance. After their treatments, clients can lounge on the spa's balcony, sipping herbal tea from heavy clay cups and relaying semaphore messages to hikers on distant mountains.
Project Zen aims to provide a serene sanctuary where clients can complement Western medicinal regimes with Eastern healing practices that coordinate internal harmony with preventative massage services. Stepping inside the spa, clients will notice its rich red tapestries and bright gold pillows, which exude an opulence matched only by drinking red wine out of a solid gold sippy cup. Project Zen, like its sister spa in Thailand, pampers patrons and aims to improve their overall wellness with treatments such as Japanese shiatsu, a brand of acupressure involving languid thumb, palm, knee, and feet strokes. In addition, an in-house line of bath and body products blended from coconut oil and flowers are used during deep-tissue and Swedish massages.
Leelawadee Thai Classic Massage founder Ron Wittawas brings an authentic touch to Thai massages. He trained at Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School of Bangkok, perfecting his technique at the elbows of the masters before coming to the Bay Area in 2002. During his signature Thai massage, Ron sets the stage for relaxation by first dipping patrons’ feet into paraffin footbaths. Once patrons have removed the wax and Ron has foot casts that he will treasure forever, he guides clients through a combination of yoga-like stretches and deep-pressure massage with warm lotions and herbal balms.
An oasis of relaxation and nice smells, Qua Foot Spa lets guests sip steaming chrysanthemum or lavender tea as they enjoy foot massages. Sea-salt baths and exfoliating scrubs soften heels and toes roughened from stepping on the rocks that your roommate leaves scattered around the hallway, and reflexology massages aim to restore energy flow through the body’s meridians to relieve tension.
The staff at Buddha Bliss Massage sees massage therapy not as a luxury, but rather as a preventive measure against ailments. With this in mind, therapists tailor each of their services—which include Swedish and deep-tissue modalities—to individuals so they can feel considerable easing of both physical and emotional tension. To augment this process, the studio is bedecked in Buddha statues, lotus flowers, incense, and flowering plants, all of which contribute to a peaceful atmosphere.
Before Aaron Harris ever rescued a sore back with massage, he dashed to the aid of others as a paramedic. Today, he applies his knowledge of kinesiology and physiology with a backdrop of soothing sounds rather than sirens to help his clients recover from injuries and battle chronic pain. To ensure top-notch treatments, he staffs his office with current students and alumni of the National Holistic Institute who also studied kinesiology, anatomy, and physiology. These trained therapists are skilled in massage modalities such as Swedish, deep tissue, zen shiatsu, and Thai. And when they aren't kneading sinews, they perform holistic techniques such as energy work, aromatherapy, crystal healing, and reiki. They can also leave their office to mend muscles and mobilize joints on-location at events, such as a tin-man convention.