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.
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 20 branches around San Diego, each offering a slightly different assortment of tanning beds, spray-tanning booths, and mechanical spa services.
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 and the need to wear a beekeeper suit to detract from a burn. 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 or tan crayons, and mechanical spa machines dispense relaxing red-light treatments, infrared-energy body wraps, and aqua massages.
Even during the decade she spent as a stay-at-home mother, Nicole Bennett, the owner and aesthetician at Flawless Face & Body, always followed her own personal skin care regimen and even worked a few side jobs in cosmetics. But it wasn't until she decided to take a chance and go back to school that she realized that her passion was deeper than she thought, and that passion aligned with her quest for a new career. Her interest in skin care skyrocketed as she delved into the nitty-gritty science behind it, and she sped her way through Palomar Institute of Cosmetology.
After becoming a licensed aesthetician, Nicole opened her own wellness center, which has since expanded into a new clinic in the heart of San Marcos, providing skin care, massage therapy, acne treatments and hair-removal services. She also earned certification as an acne specialist, with the extra training inspiring her to dedicate a large portion of her service menu to result-oriented acne solutions. This dedication now takes the form of a full-fledged acne program, which blends biweekly clinic appointments with an at-home skin care regimen to take faces from spotty to spotless over the course of 12-16 weeks. The team at Flawless Face & Body strives to educate clients and give them the one-on-one time they need to reach their wellness goals within a private, relaxing environment. With the help of Image Skincare and Rhonda Allison products, specialists also counter blemishes and imperfections with facials, peels, and waxing, leaving skin as clean and smooth as a censored version of The Catcher in the Rye read by Barry White.
Like a professor knowledgeable on tulip mania, alien black oil, and a myriad of seemingly esoteric subjects, Massage Envy's certified body therapists ably converse with the gamut of muscle ailments. They'll unravel tense coils of accumulated inner-stress through a perfectly catered treatment for individual clients' needs. Swedish massages offer gentle rubbing for muscular soothing and improved circulation, while reflexology focuses on a patient's crawling paddles, delivering relief to hands and feet to extend goodwill throughout the entire body. A prenatal massage is ideal for expecting mothers who could use a little relief from carrying another person inside them, and a hot-stone Envy massage transforms massage hands into warm-rock fingers that heat pain into a gaseous vapor that exits the body and eventually becomes cleanly filtered rain.
Bella Derma Secrets' owner Cynthia Wells culls from her 16 years of experience as an aesthetician and personal trainer to beautify skin through safe, noninvasive treatments. Cynthia doesn't believe in coating her client's skin with harsh chemicals, so exclusively uses organic and natural products, such as One Love Organics, Image Skincare, Auspect, Circ Cell, and Rhonda Allsion. Nor does she buy into the “controlled damage" factor associated with IPL facials, harsh exfoliation, and other ablative treatments—rather, she researches and travels to discover newer alternatives, such as LED light therapy and gentle ultrasonic abrasion that offer similar benefits without causing inflammation, tenderness, and sporadic night vision. In addition to turning back clocks with anti-aging facials and peels, Cynthia works one-on-one with clients to prescribe home skincare regimens tailored to their skin types.
D Hair & Spa employs specialists who hail from the Dermalogica Institute. These skincare workers offer advanced facials that begin with "skin mapping," which help them discern what the client's skin type is and which issues need the most attention, such as age spots beneath the eyes or a fire budding in the nostrils. With that knowledge, they combat blemishes during treatments that feature Dermalogica products. If you want to maintain your skin regimen at home, these same products are available for purchase in the spa's retail section.
D Hair & Spa's massage therapists, meanwhile, are armed with a range of bodywork techniques and therapeutic-grade essential oils. They offer Thai, Swedish, and hot-stone massages which, when combined with scents of lavender, wintergreen, or lemon, pack a one-two punch of releasing muscle tension and inducing feelings of bliss.