Over her 15 years as a fitness instructor, Ananda Shala's owner, Aimee Firor McBride developed a special passion for yoga and Pilates. Her love of the practice led her to India, and into the studios of renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea during her more than 500 hours of teacher studies. She draws upon this experience as she helms a coterie of certified instructors who lead groups through classes and workshops. On hardwood floors flooded with natural sunlight, instructors guide students through Prana Flow Vinyasa yoga for all levels, hot yoga in an 80- to 90-degree room, and meditation classes.
In addition to yoga, instructors also teach Pilates, including mat classes, sessions that integrate weights and strength training, and machines that help lengthen and strengthen muscles. During private sessions they help students work on individual needs or master a specific technique such as folding laundry with their feet. Corporate workshops help business people soothe their minds during stressful situation, and special events such as yoga parties and classes for kids and teens explore yoga in a fun environment.
When one of the cofounders of Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa was diagnosed with cancer in her 30s, her doctor put her on the most aggressive chemo and radiation therapies available. As her immune system fought the cancer, her body absorbed the side effects. A longtime friend recommended acupuncture to counteract the suffering; though she was initially skeptical of the holistic procedure, she agreed to give it a try. After just one appointment, she felt her senses awaken. Further treatments permanently changed the way she looked at health care, making her feel like a brand-new person and convincing her to share her discoveries with as many people as she could.
At Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa, she does just that, combining venerated Eastern wisdom with professional spa products to deliver healing massages and rejuvenating facials. Within earth-toned treatment rooms draped with russet curtains, massage therapists ease muscle tension and redirect chi—the energy that regulates the body’s functions and suppresses its natural appetite for hangnails—with focused acupressure techniques. Thalgo facials employ marine botanicals, such as regenerative algae, to nourish and hydrate complexions.
The certified massage therapists and holistic healers at Om Chakra invite guests to discover deeper mind-body connections inside a sanctuary designed to foster states of sublime serenity. Warm earth tones, zen-like decor, and five private, candlelit treatment rooms envelop guests during multisensory experiential massages or healing reiki sessions, coaxing them to unplug from the synthetic, bustling external world and explore a space within themselves that remains still and calm. This sense of calmness, the staff believes, stems from successful alignment and unblocking of the seven energy channels, or chakras, that run along the spine.
Imagine dropping a stone into a pond. Though the stone only touches a small portion of the water's surface, the effects of the impact radiate throughout the entire pool. Reflexology is based on a similar idea—as a therapist stimulates pressure points on the feet, the effects are said to affect the entire body. At Magic Foot Spa, practitioners specialize in this therapy, first soaking feet in water warmed over the blushing cheeks of an ankle-anxious Victorian before targeting pressure points that correspond with various body organs. As practitioners increase pressure on each foot, the manipulation can ease muscular tension and release energy blockages in the digestive, immune, and circulatory systems.
The team also performs full-body acupressure treatments that are based on similar principles. These gentle massages work by activating the key pressure points used in acupuncture, but with fingers, palms, and elbows instead of needles. As clients lie fully clothed on a massage table, therapists focus on these points—which are believed to correspond with the body's energy channels—so that they can balance opposing energy forces and thus improve bodily function.
Co-owner Rebeccah Bartlett Leister of Structures Salon and Spa will not trade jobs with you. "I love that every single day I am here I laugh out loud," she says on her staff bio page. "I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy my 'work' this much." One draw may be the salon and spa's proprietary organic and natural products that are crafted by a small family business. Another draw might be the encouragement staff members receive to augment the products' powers with rounds of continuing education and creative projects such as fashion shoots, makeup design, and hair-coloring experiments. Leister herself has experience designing makeup for Vanity Fair and InStyle magazines.
Wide windows illuminate Structures Salon and Spa so that stylists can mix colors in optimum light and let new hairdos photosynthesize. Colorful yarn twines around stair railings to create chromatic triangles, and appliqué birch trees stand tall along the lobby's windows.
Since becoming a certified acupuncturist in 2001, Dr. Ying Li has helped clients suffering from carpel tunnel, migraines, frozen shoulders, and back pain. Though her approach to each of these ailments is tailored to the client in need, her philosophy remains the same for everyone: address painful symptoms and pursue a healthier, more balanced body. At her clinic, she combines acupuncture treatments with other types of Eastern and Western medicine, including acupressure massage and nutrition programs. These services strive to help clients with both chronic and acute conditions, as well as those on-again, off-again conditions that just won't move on with their lives. Visitors can also benefit from reflexology sessions, during which different areas of the feet are massaged to affect corresponding body parts.