Since she was a child, Pla Schneider dreamed of writing and illustrating her own children's book. She earned a degree in visual communications and exhibited some of her work in boutiques and galleries, but she couldn't find that spark of inspiration. She was able to find a muse in her daughter, who inspired Pla's first book, Sassy Cassie A True Little Princess. At Sugar-n-Spice Studios, Schneider helps art students circumvent creative blocks by guiding them step-by-step in a fun, playful environment. Patrons dab acrylic paints onto stretched canvases, rendering images of flower-filled parks, technicolor giraffes, or mermaids swimming alongside seahorses and other imaginary animals.
In a spacious facility, Back4more’s staff helps clients ease back pain with its four-step program. BackFlex traction tables heat backs via far infrared rays while massaging acupressure points to relieve tightness in the lower back and shoulders, and doses of alkaline water help to balance pH levels. Clients not only receive treatment at Back4more but can also get physical in preventative back-care yoga classes. In a studio with natural-light illuminated hardwood floors, instructors guide students through Pa Kua yoga classes, which can boost energy, harmonize body and mind, and relieve stress. Before leaving the all-inclusive facility, clients can order from an array of home comfort products, including Inada chairs and mattresses. In addition to English, the bilingual staff also speaks Spanish.
Massage therapists often help only the individuals they treat, but Carol Carpenter had a broader vision than that. She copied the notes she took when studying massage therapy and opened her own school in Oakland, elucidating Eastern styles, Western styles, and kinesiology alike. Eventually, the school was supplied federal financial aid through the U.S. Department of Education and became one of the first accredited massage schools in California. Today, it spans seven campuses and has garnered a mention in the book The History of Massage.
The school aims to prepare students for careers they’ll love, and the program boasts an 88% job-placement rate. The curriculum demands that students complete a 900-hour program, which includes anatomy study and hands-on practice with real clients.
The instructors at Haleh Art Studio can turn a blank canvas into a work of art. They regard each new student with the same sense of limitless possibility, realizing that the right instruction and motivation can help turn anyone into a skilled artist. During drawing and painting classes, with special expertise in acrylics, instructors nurture artistic talents with structured lessons that slowly build technique and confidence. The difficulty of the work increases over time, until students can create their own photo-realistic self-portraits to replace lost driver’s licenses.
More than a thousand years have passed since healers learned that illnesses could be cured through stimulation of certain body parts. A wide array of frameworks developed for how best that healing should be brought about. Licensed acupuncturist Winston Wang has taken components of these frameworks to craft his own: understand the patient's condition, set up a treatment plan, and test it. At Orange Acupuncture, clients can seek Winston's techniques to treat maladies ranging from depression and insomnia to seasonal allergies.