Aquarium maintenance might seem like a strange background for an expert in neuromuscular therapy and deep-tissue massage, but that's exactly how massage therapist Lynne Luckow got her start. She decided to change careers after reading about the health benefits of massage and went on to study anatomy, physiology, and medical massage at Aesthetics University. She opened Healing Hands Therapy Center in 1993 and continued her training with renowned professionals in the field of alternative medicine. Eventually, she grew her practice to the point where she was working 12 hours a day, six days a week, roughly the amount of time it takes to give a full-body massage to a really big whale. Luckow knew it was time to expand: the center is now home to eight highly trained massage therapists, who earned it nominations in CityVoter's Best Massage category in 2011.
In addition to performing massages, Luckow promotes physical and emotional healing with Ayurvedic counseling and meditation. She has further rounded out her team with licensed acupuncturist Brenda Sherman, who holds a Master of Science in acupuncture and oriental medicine.
Rather than devote itself entirely to healthy movement or meditative rest, New Self Renewal Center represents both sides of the spectrum. On one side, its fitness area hosts small-group classes ranging from energized boot-camp and Zumba routines to KettleCore, whose strengthening swings were featured in Brava magazine. Students can even order classes from the fitness menu, scheduling sessions of athletic stretching or core work at times that work for them. Personal trainers and a certified wellness practitioner are also on hand to develop custom programs.
Because the center's philosophy is one of balance, it counteracts the gym's kinetic offerings with a spa. There, massage therapists knead away aches, administering add-ons of aromatherapy and moisturizing shea butter, and nail technicians beautify fingertips with signature mani-pedis. The onsite café makes for another replenishing stop between workouts or paraffin dips—its menu includes sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and a variety of housemade items such as hummus and granola.
As a complement to its wide spectrum of amenities and a symbol of its family focus, the center also provides childcare services. Youngsters can draw on the chalkboard wall of the Kid Corner while their parents exercise or relax. At lunchtime, the corner's designated snacking space enables adults to eat with their kids and explain that cutting off sandwich crusts doesn't actually hurt the sandwiches.
At Hot Heads Salon, “Keep It Up!” isn’t a motivational phrase. It’s the name of the root re-touch treatment, a title that’s exemplary of Hot Heads’ Salon cheeky service menu. Stylists, including the mother-daughter duo that runs the salon, cut locks but do not blow-dry them during “Shape Up…Ship Out!” sessions and straighten ringlets with “I Hate Curl” straightening treatments. Aside from hair services—which also include highlights, Brazilian blowouts, perms, and conditioning treatments—they also perform waxing and manicures.
Since 1999, licensed massage therapist Shannon Lebal has fine-tuned her loving touch in a home health agency, a chiropractic office, and as a proud mother of two. Now all can benefit from Shannon's practiced bodywork technique at her own Fireside Therapeutic Massage studio. She slackens achy sinews beneath her flowing Swedish strokes, firm deep-tissue pressure, and relaxing hot-stone therapy. She also renders sport massages to improve flexibility in stiff limbs and giant foam fingers.
Styles Salon & Spa staffers call themselves "beauty artisans." They're dedicated to creating beauty and making you feel comfortable becoming beautiful, and they'll pamper you like a penguin on vacation at an organic squid farm. Rather than calling ahead to schedule an appointment, Styles recommends calling ahead to schedule an "experience."
As a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise and a licensed massage therapist, Chris Aiello, Jr., has a thorough knowledge of the human body. He created Workout Boss as a facility where clients can tap into his expertise to address issues related to health, posture, and injury all in one place. He chats with patrons during personal-training sessions, encouraging them while blending cardio and a range of exercises in a gym with free weights, cable machines, kettlebells, and punching bags. On massage tables, therapists employ specialized techniques such as myofascial release and lymphatic drainage, which aim to straighten postural irregularities and detoxify muscles, and utilize deep-tissue massage to ease pain from sports or other injuries. The trainer also draws on a stock of recipes and nutritional advice to help clients augment workout plans and shed inches.