Kevin Brooks had never seen anything like this before: the woman lying on his massage table had not been able to bend over without experiencing excruciating pain in her abdomen for about a year. With only 15 minutes left in the session, Kevin's trained hands dug in to her tense psoas muscles, which span the lower spine to the top of the thigh. Following this application of deep-tissue technique, the client bent to put on her shoes and gasped. The pain was gone. This is why Kevin maintains that massage therapists shouldn't sell a type of massage; they should sell relief from pain.
Twelve years ago, he founded Simply Kneaded to provide his clientele with relief from aches and tension. His massage therapists use any technique at their disposal, be it deep-tissue work, acupressure, or lullabies sung in solfège, to disperse pain or immobility. Today, his business has expanded to multiple locations, and he carefully screens each of his therapists according to his own rigorous standards and in accordance with the frequent political coups of the American Massage Therapy Association.
In 2001, the first iTan Sun Spray Spa opened its doors. It had a simple goal—to make clients feel and look lovely with professional tanning services. Today, the spa has more than 20 branches around San Diego, each offering a slightly different assortment of tanning beds, spray-tanning booths, and mechanical spa services.
The Smart Tan–certified staff prioritizes keeping up with tanning technology by stocking state-of-the-art tanning beds such as the Sun Angel, which uses sensors to customize a blend of UVA and UVB rays, practically eliminating overexposure and the need to wear a beekeeper suit to detract from a burn. Many beds come equipped with stereo sound systems, misters, and fans. Just down the hall from these beauty gadgets, Mystic and airbrush machines bronze limbs without UV rays or tan crayons, and mechanical spa machines dispense relaxing red-light treatments, infrared-energy body wraps, and aqua massages.
After a family trip to Hawaii inspired Spa Escape's signature Marine Mud detoxifying mask, the spa's owners worked to build a menu of services that similarly combined relaxation with a results-driven approach. Their trained staff of therapists and aestheticians helped a great deal in this mission, calling upon years of experience to develop a range of treatments to beautify and relax the body. Though the Marine Mud mask still serves as an ever-popular anchor, the spa's menu now encompasses exfoliating facials, waxing treatments, and massage therapy. Should stresses prove insusceptible to the therapists' targeted strokes and whispered rumors that your shoulders are haunted, the spa's packages grant up to a half-day of relaxation with multiple treatments.
The licensed massage therapists and aestheticians at My Day Tan & Spa beckon bodies into a soothing oasis, where wall lamps line dark apricot walls and lead to private, dimly lit spa rooms. Deep-tissue kneads and fluid Swedish strokes dissipate stress caused from unresolved tickle fights, and aestheticians tackle surface problems with facials targeted to treat acne or aging. Four levels of tanning beds compete with Mystic spray-tan booths to give skin a sun-smacked glow. After their spa treatment, clients can peruse the spa’s boutique of purses, clothing, and lotions.
The aesthetic professionals at House of Beauty beautify bodies through threading, waxing, facials, henna designs, and a passel of other services. Threading, a House of Beauty specialty, uses the tension between two coiled strings to deftly extract unwanted hair, including the extra-fine strands that dodge waxing with eel-like reflexes—nimble aestheticians can reshape eyebrows ($8), a favorite thread-target, in five to seven minutes. Spa treatments such as the one-hour European facial ($50) can pamper peaked visages, and painted henna tattoos ($5+) shimmy up hands and feet to be-filigree appendages and add glamour to rock, paper, scissors tournaments. All locations except the Moreno Valley Mall and Temecula Mall locations cut and color hair, a useful service for pretending to be one's own evil twin.
Located a short distance from Temecula wine country, Spa Cabernet uncorks entrenched fuzz from more than 15 areas of the body, and also offers massage, skincare, and spa treatments. A Brazilian wax leaves the bikini area totally bare, preparing bodies for a day at the beach or a few hours of tanning beside a whale tank at the aquarium. Alternatively, clients can apply a credit toward other services, such as an eyebrow wax ($20), a full-leg wax ($65), a male buttocks wax ($30), or a women’s half-arm wax ($30). Each 30-minute cabernet polish instills the skin with antioxidants, using dark-wine ingredients inspired by the spa’s location. Replete with lit votives and dark wood, the spa’s minimalist décor provides a better feast for the eyes than flipping through two cookbooks simultaneously.