Tension and worry creep through the body, elbowing into sleep, pinching at joints, and generally making life unpleasant. As harbingers of that larger monster, stress, they are formidable foes—but they prove no match for the staff of The Chicago Stress Relief Center. Led by founder Dr. Howard K. Weissman, the team develops personalized plans to help clients to manage mental and physical ailments. Concerns can be washed away with water and heat during flotation-tank and infrared-sauna sessions that afford clients solitary peace and quiet. Further aid takes the form of massage and art therapy, yoga sessions, and unlimited rolls of bubble wrap ready to be popped.
Doctor of Chiropractic Kim Martin of North Shore Health Solutions is board certified in integrative medicine. Dr. Martin and her staff offer a variety of treatments including acupuncture, chiropractic care, therapeutic exercise, and weight-loss programs.
The staff and state-certified massage therapists at Heavenly Massage have left no stone unturned when it comes to their clients’ relaxation. At each Heavenly Massage location, the music, lighting, and decor all serve the same goal of enhancing peace of mind. Though massages—ranging from hot stone to lymphatic drainage—are the signature service, the staff also offers nailcare, skincare, waxing, and body treatments.
Modeled after traditional Korean spas, King Spa & Sauna houses nine distinct therapy rooms, each of which specializes in treating a different form of ailment or anxiety. The Charcoal Room lines its walls with antibacterial briquettes, which can alleviate conditions such as eczema and undercooked pork sausage. The domed sauna in the Fire Sudatorium encircles entrants in the room's dry-heat and oak-tree aromatherapy, whereas the low temperature of the Ice Room encourages blood flow to the chilled parts of the body. In the heated Base Rock Room, slabs of siraka stone deploy infrared rays into prostrate patrons, inciting increased circulation and lymphatic drainage during a process that, like most mixed-martial-arts careers, typically doesn't last longer than two 15-minute sessions.
Each member of Ether Health & Beauty Spa's three-person team has a different specialty. Xiya Lin's is the corrective herbal facial, which uses products from Elina Organics to treat acne, dryness, or aging skin. The other two staffers handle the spa's bodywork sessions. Jillian Brown takes a clinical approach to massage, meaning she's a master of techniques such as deep-tissue and sports. Michael Hughes, on the other hand, is influenced by Eastern healing techniques. He sometimes mixes in acupressure, shiatsu, and fire cupping into his treatments.
Whatever service clients schedule, they can also enjoy the spa's sauna room. Here they'll find both dry and wet saunas as well as a whirlpool, which is sort of like a regular pool, except instead of water, there's just a bunch of people whirling in circles.
Under the direction of Dr. William Evans, the medical aestheticians at Enfuse Laser Center & Medical Spa work to elevate their patients' self image with a full range of anti-aging and body contouring treatments. The staff uses advanced technology during services, from lasers that address sun damage, body hair, and unwanted tattoos, to injectables that alleviate wrinkles and furrows on the face. The clinic also specializes in NeoGraft hair transplants, an advanced method of hair restoration. Using an automated device to quickly harvest follicles from the donor area and move them to the recipient area, the process is less painful and invasive than traditional methods or training a chinchilla to sit on your scalp.
For decades after it opened in 1906, the two-story Russian bathhouse on West Division Street shrouded famous locals such as Al Capone, Saul Bellow, and Nelson Algren in clouds of steam. More than 100 years later, the building underwent a full renovation. In a return chronicled by the Chicago Reader, WGN, and Time Out Chicago, the century-old retreat of the city's powerful was reborn as Red Square.
Today, as perhaps the only traditional Russian bathhouse left in Chicago, Red Square holds its heritage close with two floors of authentic wet and dry saunas (separated into male and female spaces) and a spa. In the traditional banya, cedar-plank walls and three-tiered benches surround brick and granite ovens, where clouds of steam erupt from superheated rocks. But visitors aren't just left to cook; cold-water taps beside each bench and cold-plunge pools that mimic Russian ponds reinvigorate bathers amidst the heat. Spa attendants wander the humid rooms, performing services such as the traditional platza—a rigorous massage and scrub with a bundle of oak, eucalyptus, or birch branches that mimic the relaxing sensation of falling asleep in a tree.
It might come as a surprise to find a spirit-stocked bar in Red Square's restaurant area. After all, "Many people will tell you it’s a terrible idea to mix alcohol and dehydrating heat chambers," says Time Out's Julia Kramer, "but none of those people are Russian." And so premium vodkas and Moscow Mules flow freely as guests, many of them still in their bathrobes, savor traditional Russian herring and caviar in the mahogany-paneled space, designed to resemble a 19th-century train car. To complete the locomotive vibe, curtained televisions at each booth screen looping footage of the Eastern European countryside and a conductor checks luggage for stowaways every half-hour.