High in the historic State Theatre Building, Joshua Hughes sits in his massage studio, awaiting his next client. Brisk Atlantic winds glide through the suite's windows, as if the ocean itself were offering a gentle massage. "One of the things I like about my suite,” Hughes says. "It's high up. A great breeze always comes into the room. It’s… a lovely environment to relax."
A massage therapist in the eighth year of his career, Joshua reflects on how he got here. "I wanted to help people," he explains, "and I was always good with my hands. Massage was right down that alley." He began working even before graduation, massaging as a freelancer at spas and salons. "I didn't feel quite fulfilled. I wanted to start my own practice.”
Joshua's approach to massage is holistic as he employs reflexology, deep-tissue work, and even hot riverbed stones to tailor treatments to the individual needs of his clients. Focusing on the individual is part of what is most satisfying to Joshua about his work. "I've had clients tell me that they're just so appreciative and grateful for my attention to detail—that I cater to them as people. The money's a bonus, but just having someone tell me they feel better is the most rewarding."
From India to Antarctica, Sue Vittner's massage training has taken her all over the world. At her facility on Portland soil, Sue funnels those experiences into her practice, delivering a unique blend of seven different modalities that includes Swedish, sports, and deep massage. Sue dispatches those techniques during individual and couples massage sessions, and for those looking to learn the craft themselves, Sue shares the tricks to her trade during her interactive couples massage class.
The therapists at Olde Port Massage understand that a safe, tranquil environment only emphasizes the healing effects of massage. To that end, the boutique spa's decor is abundant with neutral pastel hues, exposed brick walls, and linen-covered treatment beds that aim to put the body at ease. That feeling of comfort is perpetuated by massage services, which incorporate a blend of Eastern and Western modalities, such as Chinese tui na and Swedish techniques, to bring harmony to the mind and body. Along with increasing blood flow and repairing damaged muscle tissue, each massage includes hot stones and foot reflexology. Together, these treatments aim to detoxify the body and can relieve arthritis pains, headaches, and muscles strains often caused by trying to massage your own back.
Performed by relaxation gurus Michaela Cote and Joseph Richard, Daydream Bodyworks' suite of services ranges from glycolic peels to warm seaweed wraps. Inside dimmed, candle-lit rooms, deep-tissue massages focus on relieving chronic aches and tension, while customized facials target fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and delinquent teenage pores.
Licensed massage therapists Guy, Tatiana and Rijah combine their varied experiences in massage therapy, Thai yoga bodywork and ashiatsu oriental-bar therapy to alleviate their clients’ aches and pains. Thai yoga mingles yoga stretches with acupressure, and during ashiatsu, the therapist skillfully walks on pressure points, using their own body weight to stimulate circulation and healing. To meet their clients’ needs, they also perform traditional massage and offer services such as body exfoliation and body wraps.
"Hara" is a term for a person's energy center. Hara Holistic Bodycenter earns that name by giving its clients a place to reenergize through therapeutic bodywork. The center’s cocreators and licensed massage therapists draw on studies in Eastern massage and holistic bodywork to reduce stress and chronic pain with their massage and skincare services. Botanically based products smother skin during facial treatments to cleanse and restore complexions worn down by seasonal stressors and environmental impurities. A collection of massages helps heal physical ailments such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and tension that comes from constantly hiding a handcuff key in your cheek.
Soothing yellow walls and sleek hardwood floors greet patrons in a healing space that invokes the chi-rejuvenating elements of the natural world. Lush, green plants stretch out their leaves to tickle weary muscles, and a wall of branches filters the warm sunlight that seeps through a thin screen in the window.