Natural-healing renaissance woman Christine M. Esters has a theory about the source of much of the illness and lethargy the body experiences: it's the digestive system. To try to boost her clients' energy levels and help them slim down, she recommends colon hydrotherapy, dietary cleanses, and a host of other services aimed at detoxification, such as foot baths or, for clients who have fallen in an oil slick, whole-body baths. Esters has also racked up certifications in aromatherapy, massage, and Reiki.
The spa's private treatment rooms put guests at ease, with subtle décor and soft lighting that evokes the comforts of home. But it's the spa’s soothing treatments that really make a difference in clients’ wellbeing. Reflexologists aim to eviscerate tension by honing in on specific pressure points in the hands and feet. When the back needs attention, massage therapists use Swedish and deep-tissue massages to gently knudge knots into loosening.
Specializing in natural, comprehensive skincare and spa therapy treatments, Sonoma Holistic Spa has everything you need to look and feel your very best. Professional aestheticians pamper and relax clients with innovative beauty treatments, such as the spa's signature facial. This 90-minute treatment focuses on the face, neck, hands, shoulders, and arms, as skin is analyzed and purified. After a cleansing, steaming, exfoliation, and extractions, skin is restored with a finishing mask and massages with pure serums and hydration creams.
Licensed acupuncturist R.H. Leach, who has a PhD in oriental medicine, treats not only humans at Lotus Medical & Health Clinic, but also various breeds of dogs. She helps heal adults, children, and pooches, specifically treating their allergies to foods, plants, or cat enemies, with Eastern-medicine techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, and homeopathic work. Leach uses wellness consultations to determine the proper course of treatment, but she has noticed throughout her decade of experience that children and dogs tend to respond best to acupressure, not acupuncture, techniques.
"I stepped out of the pod feeling almost absurdly peaceful and relaxed, wanting to do nothing more than just sit in a park somewhere and be happy and grateful." So said Mark Lukach of 7x7 after two float sessions in the 30% Epsom-salts water at Float Matrix. Named the Best Place to Alter Your Consciousness in 2010 by SF Weekly, the center lets visitors unburden themselves of stress in a soundproof, lightproof pod designed to simulate weightlessness and send brainwave patterns into a soothing theta state. The process has been scientifically researched and is based on a phenomenon called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique, or REST—a deeply relaxed state in which the body is believed to divert freed-up resources to address cognitive function, creativity, and conditions such as pain and broken telekinesis actuators.
Owner Kane Mantyla told Lukach, "Floating is a lot like experiencing ‘nothing,’ and there is no set narrative for ‘nothing’ in our culture.” Mantyla was inspired to found the center in 2006, after experiencing a profound healing from his own pain. He has since facilitated more than 10,000 floats, helping clients share in the blissful nothingness in a tranquil, clean environment. The saltwater—which is mostly sterile to begin with—is sanitized after each session with compound filtration, ozone, and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Not content to only provide one path to relaxation, the center also promotes wellness via infrared-sauna sessions.
Today, future innovators of the beauty industry might be walking the halls of Cinta Aveda Institute, where veteran cosmetologists school their protégés in the many ways of client beautification and environmental consciousness. Under the watchful eye of licensed professionals, aspiring beauticians receive first-hand experience as they practice their chosen salon discipline on visitors, helping clients achieve a movie-star appearance with haircut and coloring services, skin-balancing facials, glamorous makeup application, and a bell that dings with every smile. Calling upon Mother Nature’s nurturing touch, Cinta’s instructors and students wield Aveda’s line of all-natural products packaged in eco-friendly containers made out of recycled materials.