Swedish massage relies largely on a technique known as effleurage. Learn how it zaps stress with Groupon's peek at this basic stroke.
Effleurage is the glue that holds a Swedish massage together. Its smooth, gliding strokes may not deliver much pressure?the word itself is taken from a French verb that means "to touch lightly"?but the technique simultaneously soothes the nerves, boosts circulation, and allows the massage therapist to identify problem zones that need extra attention. Because effleurage doubles as an assessment tool, many therapists begin each massage with it, usually by gliding their open palms lightly across the body to feel for tense spots and potholes while acclimating the client to their touch. This form of effleurage is known as "superficial," and it serves a soothing prelude, epilogue, and transitional movement between deeper, more focused kneading.
A slightly more forceful style of effleurage is known as "deep effleurage." This form still uses gliding strokes, only with more pressure, as the therapist aims to stretch out the muscle tissue and the web of connective tissue that covers it. Therapists will generally direct the first part of their deep-effleurage stroke towards the heart, finishing with a lighter return stroke away from it. Not only does this warm up tissues for deeper muscle work, but it can also speed up the movement of blood and lymph fluid. This boost in circulation can help drain fluid from injured areas, reducing painful pressure while also releasing endorphins that further relax the entire body.
At her eponymous salon, Kristal Mayland enhances features with makeup that neither smears nor steals a single minute from morning routines. After attending the Faust Institute of Cosmetology, she moved to San Antonio to train with renowned cosmetics instructor Terry Lively. The permanent makeup artist employs permanent pigmentation—carefully matched to each client’s skin tone—to darken brows, outline eyes, and shade lips to a rosy pink or the deep crimson of a ladybug caught not wearing her spots. In addition to applying indelible cosmetics, Mayland tames hair and waxes away unwanted fuzz.
Ignite Sunless Tanning's skin specialists know that spray tans look best when skin has been properly prepared. So they encourage clients to use their onsite showers and sea-salt scrubs or exfoliating towelettes before their tan. They also offer free pH balancing treatments before every sunless tan to create a darker, more natural tan. Those who want a custom airbrush tan can keep comfortable in a temperature-controlled room while the technician bronzes limbs.
Melisa Gibbs became a massage therapist in 2010 to help people achieve wellness through natural methods, rather than by endlessly popping painkillers. "I'd like to help relieve [pain], rather than covering it up with medicine," she says. When her clients arrive at New Beginnings Massage Therapy, she ushers them into a private space for soothing relaxation massages, also known as Swedish massages, which help them de-stress after putting up with a cranky boss at work or a malfunctioning cuckoo clock at home. Melisa says clients who've been having issues often experience a greater range of motion after her deep-tissue massages, which are aimed at banishing chronic aches. She's also able to aid those with medical issues including carpal tunnel syndrome and headaches.
Back in 1999, brothers David and Rick Kueber noticed a lag in business at their chain of video-rental shops during the summer months, when no one wanted to be cooped up inside watching movies. The two put their heads together and found a rather unconventional solution to their problem: tanning beds. They installed a new fleet of skin-bronzing machines and sat back as so many clients flocked to their shop that the brothers were forced to open an entire store just to cater to their clients? tanning demands. This was the birth of Sun Tan City. Today, what started as an experimental side business boasts more than 200 locations across 16 states.
The staff at each location maintains a meticulously clean space, where they show clients to UV beds dubbed fast, faster, fastest, and instant. The beds include features such as facial tanners and self-contained air conditioners. Alternatively, clients can opt for the UV-free, automated VersaSpa system, which swathes physiques in a DHA, plant-based bronzing solution. The liquid reacts naturally with skin?s amino acids, creating an even coat as radiant as the high beams on Helios?s chariot within 46 seconds.
Ames Racquet & Fitness Center helps shrink beer bellies and wine waists with a convoy of cardio machines, strength-training equipment, expert trainers, and group classes. Bright, open reception areas welcome doomed calories, which cower in fear of the lineup of treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, and noodle-like biceps morph into bulging bastions of brawn on free-weight systems. The one-month membership also gives fitnessmongers access to a full-length pool at the North location, which accommodates fat-banishing underwater three-legged races, as well as tennis courts at the South location. Additionally, patrons get access to more than 90 weekly group classes. Brightly lit, mirrored studios play host during the calming yoga-Pilates fusion Group Centergy, while Power Aqua breaks sweats without aggravating joints in the pool.