Thursday, December 08, 2005

Spas popping up to pamper Clarksville

Clarksville Leaf Chronicle - Clarksville,TN,USA... A holistic approach to an individual's well-being seeks to resolve recurring headaches, for ... says he woke up one day with the realization that medicine was not ...

The local earth has become fertile soil for a flourishing crop of day spas.
You know — those chi chi places where you can get your feet wrapped in exfoliating minerals or have hot lava rocks from Hawaii rubbed along the muscles in your back.

"The reason it's on the rise is people are looking for ways to be healthier and feel good about themselves," says Kimberly Singerhoff, massage therapist and pilates instructor at Avanti Day Spa. "In this day and age, people need to relax. People need an escape from a stress-filled environment."
Three spas — Gist, Bella and Oasis — are within half a mile of each other in downtown Clarksville. Gist is the senior of the three, with Oasis and Bella both opening in the last four months.
Cindy Chester, owner of Eden Day Spa, is the matriarch of Clarksville spas. Along with her two partners, she opened Eden back in the early days of day spas — nearly a decade ago. For many years, Eden was Clarksville's only spa.
Chester has watched as one after the other, day spas and medical spas have popped up in Clarksville like weeds. Also prolific are salon spas, most of which started out as hair and nail salons, but have expanded their range to include spa services like massage.
Chester is a little worried about the newest spas, knowing from experience what a personal and financial risk a person takes when opening a business. But she thinks local demand for a little luxury is great enough that the spas all have a good chance of making it.
"We just want everyone to be successful," Chester says. "We can't service all the people here. We don't want them to go to Nashville. We'd rather new spas open here."
In investigating local spas, The Leaf-Chronicle found that all day spas are not created equal. Referring only to the listings in the 2006 Yellow Pages under "day spas," Clarksville has nine spas and a dermatologist, Dr. George Kurita, who offers cosmetic medical services.
The spas fall into three categories — therapeutic/relaxation spas, salon spas and medical spas.
Therapeutic/ relaxation
Spas whose primary intent is to pamper customers or help them to resolve health and muscular problems fall into the general category of therapeutic/relaxation spas.
Oasis Spa and Center for Wellbeing is the newest spa of this kind in Clarksville, but Oasis pushes the boundaries of "spa" a little further. In addition to the massages you would expect, Oasis offers pilates, yoga, nutrition classes and holistic health care by nurse Nancy Telford and Dr. Jill Sloan.
"We are much more health-oriented than other spas," Sloan says.
A holistic approach to an individual's well-being seeks to resolve recurring headaches, for example, not only with a head and neck massage, but with examination of sleep, eat, exercise and work patterns.
"It's about cleansing, it's about refreshment, it's about renewal," says Connie Monroe, one of four local women who opened the spa in October.
The spa sells completely organic skincare products, but has less of a focus on appearance than salon spas or medical spas.
"If you continue to try to fix what's on the outside without attending to the inside, you're fighting a losing battle," Monroe says.
Tim Rhodes' Balique World Spa offers massage to combat sports injuries and other physical difficulties, but at the other end of its spectrum of services is the Balinese Royal Lulur body polishing complete with fresh flower foot bath and full body yogurt exfoliation treatment.
Rhodes originally studied to be a doctor, but says he woke up one day with the realization that medicine was not for him. A world traveler and speaker of nine languages, Rhodes looked at each new place he visited and thought, "This part of the world is beautiful. What can I bring back from it?" He found a way to combine his loves of health and culture in his spa, which opened in July.
"I wanted a spa where I could pull things from different parts of the world, like a restaurant, almost like a menu," Rhodes says.
In a therapeutic/relaxation focused spa, expect your physical ills to be addressed while your senses are inundated with bliss.
Salon spas
Most salon spas, at their heart, are about hair. They have full-service hair and nail salons, offering elaborate manicures and pedicures and complex, multi-step hair coloring processes.
Some salon spas, such as Eden, Gist, and Lyndon's, place an emphasis on the spa experience. They may provide fluffy robes for body service clients and use music, aromatherapy and lighting to enhance spa experiences.
Salon spas may have been built to serve multiple purposes, like Eden, or may be hair and nail salons that have expanded their business in response to recent trends.
Singerhoff dims the lights and turns on a colored mist machine when clients receive massage or body treatments at Avanti Day Spa. Along with a full-wall beach mural, these effects make for a transcendent experience.
Avanti, which opened in July 2004, offers many of the same services that therapeutic spas offer, in a more casual environment.
"A good spa is about making the clients feel comfortable, because if they feel comfortable, they can relax," Singerhoff says. "It's an everyday spa for everyday people."
Salon spas often focus on the ways services improve a client's appearance. Appearances Salon & Spa on Needmore Road puts that fact right in its name. Tara Stanton's business offers hair, nail, massage and body treatments.
Medical spas
Even more than salon spas, medical spas aim to improve clients' looks. Bella Medical Spa's ad slogan is, "Looking for an immediate improvement in your appearance? We can help!"
Medical spas must have a medical doctor on staff to oversee the spa's functioning. Dr. David Boles, a family practice physician, and his wife, Cathy Boles, opened Bella Medical Spa in August.
Treatments at medical spas, such as Bella and Elements, rely heavily on lasers to remove hair, tighten skin, lighten skin discolorations and remove tattoos. Medical spas typically offer chemical peels, microdermabrasion and Botox injections to combat wrinkles. Bella also offers needle-free mesotherapy, which helps to dissolve cellulite deposits.
"We're all knowledgeable in what we do here, and we're happy to help out anybody who has a little something they'd like to change," says Bella aesthetician Taylor Smith.
Boles says, despite some similarities in appearance, there are differences between Bella and relaxation spas.
"Even though our name says, 'spa,' and we want it to be relaxing and comfortable for them, you are not getting the same treatments you'd get at a spa," Boles says. "Most of what we do is aimed at real change, not temporary change. We are aimed at long-term changes, making people feel good about what they already have."
Stacy Smith Segovia is a features writer for The Leaf-Chronicle. She can be reached at 245-0237 or by e-mail at
Originally published December 7, 2005

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