When first meeting clients, licensed massage therapist Stacey Allen goes over their health histories and asks them what their goals are. She does this as a way of engaging the client, but she can usually sense their aches just by watching them walk into the studio. A patient may complain, for example, of chronic neck pain, but Stacey notices something off in his gait. Then she learns of an old knee injury. Working over the client's body, she can tell that though his knee has healed, his body hasn't let go of the tension that resulted from compensating for the injury. And so she sets to work, gradually undoing the deep-set tension reaching from the knee to the neck.
Stacey gives every client this depth of individualized treatment, drawing upon massage modalities that include therapeutic, Swedish, sports, and deep-tissue work. Her journey into massage therapy started somewhat by happenstance?as a bookkeeper, she'd often greet coworkers with a quick shoulder massage, which became her form of a handshake. When the economy slowed, she decided to expand her repertoire and study massage. Naming her practice after a mentor's mantra, "We heal from within," Stacey puts guests at ease with relaxing spa music, Tempur-Pedic table toppers, and candles scented like a mother's love.
Massage therapist. Lifestyle coach. Group fitness instructor. The list of Kathleen Pleasants’s vocations goes on and on. At Clearly Unique, Kathleen caters to clients' health and wellbeing, relying on her years of experience as a holistic health practitioner. As head massage therapist, she charms muscles into relaxing and dissipates stress and pain with deep-tissue and Swedish massages and neuromuscular therapy. Kathleen also has a special touch for carpal tunnel syndrome, alleviating the painful symptoms with three physical-therapy sessions.
Going above and beyond traditional massage services, Clearly Unique also hosts a range of workshops. Classes teach the art of reiki, advanced massage techniques, energy balancing, and even nutrition, in which Kathleen—who is not just a nutritional counselor but is also featured in the book Is She Naturally Thin or Disciplined? —leads the way to healthy eating.
In 2001, the first iTAN Sun Spray Spa opened its doors. It had a simple goal?to make clients feel and look lovely with professional tanning services. Today, the spa has more than 30 Southern California franchises, each offering a slightly different assortment of teeth whitening, tanning beds, spray-tanning booths, and self-serve spa offerings.
The Smart Tan?certified staff prioritizes keeping up with tanning technology by stocking state-of-the-art tanning beds such as the Sun Angel, which uses sensors to customize a blend of UVA and UVB rays, practically eliminating overexposure. Many beds come equipped with stereo sound systems, misters, and fans. Just down the hall from these beauty gadgets, Mystic and airbrush machines bronze limbs without UV rays, and self-administered spa treatments dispense relaxing red-light facials, infrared-heat bodywraps, and aqua massages.
Skin Alive and its aesthetician school, Mequon Thiensville School of Esthetics, are devoted to the study and practice of skincare. Clients can choose to visit the hands-on student-learning center for aesthetic services performed by students under instructor supervision, or head to the Skin Alive spa for services performed by a licensed professional. Both offer basic beauty services, such as facials, peels, and waxing, but the licensed aestheticians at Skin Alive can also slough off dead skin cells with diamond-tip microdermabrasion, rejuvenate skin with lasers, and vanquish unwelcome hair with laser hair-removal treatments that leave skin smoother than a cue ball smothered in olive oil.
Every salon claims that their tanning formula is one-of-a-kind. But at Unique Tan, it's actually true—owner Sherrie Lee Meredith developed it herself. Her signature spray-tanning blend, Unique Excellence, tints skin with a paraben-free solution of organic aloe vera, berry essences, and a firming serum to stave off the signs of aging. The formula also contains erythrulose, which can produce a longer-lasting bronze glow, and, because it's alcohol-free, helps keep skin moisturized and streak-free. The salon's Smart Tan–certified staff uses this in both automated booths and custom airbrushing sessions, which harness the steady hand of a tanning artist to ensure tans completely cover skin and finally even the score with haughty bronze statues.
The salon also offers traditional UV-tanning beds, which contain comfort-adding amenities such as air conditioning, aromatherapy, adjustable facial bulbs, and easy-to-follow voice instructions. Clients can enhance their tans with the salon's line of tan-accelerating products, which extend the life of each tan by keeping skin moisturized and healthy.
Signature Service: Floatation therapeutic spa
Minimum Age Requirement: 17
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: No
Pro Tip: In minutes, your entire body experiences an extremely relaxed state.
A Quiet Place Floatation Spa is about as close as you can get to a truly pressure-free environment. Skin-temperature water intensely saturated with naturally antimicrobial Epsom salts gives joints, muscles, and the nervous system a chance to fully relax?an experience similar to floating on a tranquil ocean, but without getting stared at by seagulls. Each tank stands in a private room with a shower that locks from the inside, with ear plugs and bathing caps available, and repeat floaters often like to pull the tank's lid down to remove every last bit of stimulus standing in the way of a state of silent bliss. Alternatively, soothing ambient sounds and underwater lights are available to add dimensions to the experience. Once their time is up, guests can shower right in their room and prepare to return to their place under gravity's regime with the help of organic shampoo and soap, fresh towels, hair dryers, and herbal tea or bottled water.