Buddha is usually depicted sitting down, but at the Wat Po temple in Bangkok, reclining Buddha stretches his gilded, 141-foot frame across a tiered base. It’s a fitting image for a temple often recognized as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, which is also the place where all of Montra’s therapists have been trained. The therapists bring with them not just technique, but also an Eastern philosophy that reveres massage for its ability to treat both physical and mental stresses. During sessions, practitioners hold their clients' limbs in passive stretching positions and use gentle pressure along the bodies’ energy channels to dissolve tension and get the signal "Stop kicking people" from brains to feet. Variations of the treatment might introduce herbal compresses that soothe nerves and massage tender areas more gently, or reflexology, which activates pressure points on the feet believed to stimulate organs in other parts of the body.
From its perch within Beauty Avenue, A.R. Beauty Boutique's roster of beauticians directs passersby to new aesthetic heights with a menu of services for the skin and body. Waxing for a wide range of areas prevents loitering fuzz from encroaching on prime epidermal real estate, and eyebrow tinting adds extra oomph to peepers. Three types of facials and exfoliating microdermabrasion treatments remedy acne and worn-out complexions, and the soothing modalities of an Indian head massage bring comfort to scalps stressed from wearing maltese puppies as hair extensions.
Judy Chen, aesthetician and owner of Lush n Lash, helps her clients look their very best with a full menu of skin treatments and eyelash adornments. She cleanses pores with classic European facials and beautifies her clients’ flip sides with hour-long back facials. Microdermabrasions and chemical peels exfoliate skin to reveal more youthful and rejuvenated complexions, whereas makeup applications with Jane Iredale mineral make-up enhance features and complement natural coloring.
Carpal tunnel and neck strain are no match for Lisa Chiu. Through both massage and acupuncture sessions, the acupuncturist and Chinese-medicine practitioner relaxes clients, releases their stress, and helps them regain muscle strength. She also strategically places her hair-thin acupuncture needles into faces to boost collagen production, helping clients achieve the sort of youthful appearance previously only attained by taping their kindergarten school photos to their faces.
New Health Centers consists of more than 300 health-care practitioners across the country, each working to alleviate corporeal discomfort with natural techniques. Doctors work in conjunction with experienced practitioners to soothe aches, pains, and lawn-gnome infestations.
The lighting is soft, but the touch is firm. That's the case during Vanity SpaSalon's signature treatment, a combination of massage modalities that includes hot-stone, Swedish, and shiatsu techniques, all administered in a private room where candles and small table lamps toss light across burgundy walls. The color scheme and relaxation spill over into the salon, where stylists begin each haircut with an upper-body massage that relieves shoulders of the strain of shrugging off bossy stoplights. Strands then nibble on the proteins and carbs that infuse Redken's men's products, or smell the fragrant notes of naturally derived blends from Carol's Daughter.