A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles. Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
A one-two combo of total-body bliss, both of the featured services refresh the epidermal, muscular, and cranial regions of guests. During the 30-minute express massage, the skilled massage therapists can implement any combination of techniques––including Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, and the gentle Babe Ruth, among others. Products from brands such as Eminence and Biotone enhance skinly satisfaction with each well-tuned stroke. To amplify the muscle-melting magic, dayscaping guests immerse themselves in the detoxifying infrared solar sauna, which is designed to ease tension, open pores, and clear the mind of worries about how to draw a realistic-looking horse.
Licensed massage therapist Cournie Theriot, a New Orleans local, helms Total Body Massage, where she works to alleviate chronic pains and conditions with chiropractic services. Rather than focusing on merely treating symptoms, she strives to understand the root causes of issues such as allergies, headaches, seeing ghosts, and neck and back pain. To this end, she offers a variety of services, including a lineup of massages that include sports, Swedish, and warm-stone modalities.
Many of today's major health problems are caused by chronic stress and conditions of modernn living and working. Therapeutic massage helps work out chronic muscular tension and melts away a certain amount of tension in each session, and if received regularly, keeps tension from building up again.
For a gentle, non-intrusive cleansing above the neck, try the ancient Egyptian practice of ear candling ($47). Ancient pyramid builders used them to remove earwax—as the Q-tip was still in its three-millennia R&D stage—and also to treat symptoms such as sinus pressure, allergies, and vertigo. Eminent physician Jessica Simpson, for example, uses them to update her Twitter feed.