Under the heavy influence of alcohol, a driver weaves back and forth, trying to keep his car in the proper lane. One awful swerve sends his car barreling into another vehicle, which happens to have 17-year-old Heather Gananca behind the wheel. The traumatic collision inflicts young Heather with substantial physical and emotional pain, neither of which completely subside after standard medical treatments. Realizing that she only feels thoroughly better during and after receiving massages, Heather embarks on a cross-country road trip to pursue a career as a massage therapist in Santa Barbara, California. Now, more than 20 years later, the licensed Heather maintains her passion for massage therapy and blends holistic and clinical techniques to treat clients ranging from athletes to cancer survivors. She began her professional career working at various high-end spas, as an in-house massage therapist, and with doctors and midwives, and then finally decided to open her own practice inside one of Litchfield's historic office buildings in January 2012. Using design ideas she picked up during her travels, Heather crafted a tranquil environment featuring old-fashioned glass doors, blackout blinds, and a white-noise machine designed to block distracting sounds coming in from outside. Heather books no more than five clients a day, allowing her to host unhurried sessions customized to each person's specific requests, medical history, or fear of being associated with the number six.
The branches of the baobab tree zigzag into the African sky like roots, giving the tree its distinctive upside-down shape and giving Alchemy Wellness Studio the fruits that infuse one of its signature facials. The studio’s experienced aestheticians meld natural ingredients such as baobab fruit and kigelia—an African flowering plant and natural astringent—into their ameliorating spa treatments, reflecting their overarching focus on holistic, organic care. This goal carries over onto the menu of services—which includes reiki, aromatherapy, and more standard spa fare, such as waxing treatments and mani-pedis—as well as into the cups of fair-trade coffee clients sip as they shrug off the stressors of everyday life.
Certified by the National Certification Board of Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers, licensed massage therapist Christine soothes muscles by employing one of three massage modalities that help assuage aches and pains and diminish stress. Swedish massages use gentle pressure to dissolve muscular tension, and the Japanese touch therapy of reiki—a practice for which she holds the title of reiki master teacher—manipulates energy fields to activate the body’s self-healing mechanisms and combat chronic pain. Christine also shuttles ergonomic seating to and from client homes for chair massages, which can restore your body to a nubile state of relaxed joyousness unlike any since you got your braces removed.
Charym's rustic barn-like studio, a winner of Connecticut Magazine's Best Yoga Studio in 2010, 2011, and 2012, provides a peaceful backdrop for its varied yoga sessions that emphasize a harmony of body, mind, and spirit. Experienced instructors lead classes that range from slow, therapeutic yoga styles to more demanding Vinyasa flow sessions. Other classes incorporate elements of ballet, core fitness, or different types of exercise. Beyond large barn doors, guests sprawl out in a high-ceilinged studio that conjures tranquility with its white walls and abundant natural lighting.
Massage therapist Sandra Ransom believes in the curative power of the human touch. As an expert in infant massage, she helps babies sleep more soundly and bond more readily with their mothers or cabbage farmers. In addition to providing infant massage, she teaches a four-week series on the topic, helping families bond with their newborn and support healthy development.
For adult clients, Sandra fosters relaxation with Swedish massage, and breaks up areas of concentrated tension with hot-stone and deep-tissue work. She also travels to offices for chair massages, which are performed while clients are still wearing their clothes or sandwich boards.
Sacred Rhythms Wellness Center's eight highly trained staffers aim to diffuse ailments with a suite of holistic services, from traditional massage to pain-relieving acupuncture. In private treatment rooms with flickering candles, holistic healers conduct chakra assessments before realigning energy points with reiki or sound therapy. The ancient art of cupping encourages the body to release toxins, and an herbal body wrap cloaks the corpus in an elixir of 27 minerals and herbs that lures impurities and uninvited dinner guests out of the skin. Clients can also indulge in organic facials blended from fruits, vegetables, spices, minerals, and vitamins, and the center's own skincare line, Sacred Skin, is also formulated in-house using naturally sourced, organic ingredients. The center offers yoga, tai chi, and meditation classes.