A day at the spa

Services range dramatically for Triangle area residents

by Danielle Jackson

It used to be not long ago that a day at the spa was just getting a manicure and pedicure and a nice massage. My, how times have changed. Today’s spa services — at least those found around Wake County — have exploded in terms of offerings, with more treatments than ever filling the area’s day spas. And while these treatments that have been around for a while continue to remain popular with residents, there are others that are making waves too. Read on to see which trends these facilities think are worth oohing and aahing over.

Spa as medical therapy
One of the hottest trends to come out of today’s service offerings involves spas as medical therapy centers, offering noninvasive skin treatments from Juvéderm and Botox to laser hair removal, skin tightening with radio frequency, photofacials, microdermabrasion treatments, and vitamin C facials. Subtle Enhancement Cosmetic Clinic in Raleigh is one such practice.

“Our most popular service is laser hair removal,” says Cheryl Miller, owner and manager of the spa. “We are noticing that both men and women are asking for the treatments, whereas in the past it was just women.”

The services at Subtle Enhancement are designed to boost self-esteem, Miller says.

“Once treatments are complete and clients see results, they can go out into the world with confidence.”

Spa as natural retreat
Another hot trend in the spa world is using natural techniques that cater to clients’ individual needs. At Nirvelli Day Spa in Cary, services range from pedicures and manicures to massage, Thai reflexology, acupuncture facelifts, and natural body wraps. It’s all about a focus on making the whole person better and healthier using the most appropriate catered treatments.

“People whose overall health and well-being have a countenance about them improve the countenance of others around them,” says Heather Sefried DC, owner and chiropractor. “A well-performed spa service not only benefits them physically but also gives them confidence, relieves stress, and can renew and recharge their spirits. Plus, a physically and mentally charged person is more productive, level-headed, and just plain happy.”

At Harmony Life, a locally owned holistic center, lots of naturally based services are made widely available to clients, including neuromuscular and lymphatic massage, medical Reiki, oncology-related skin treatments, holistic facials, and even health and life coaching. The center’s purpose is to treat the whole body holistically and as a complement to traditional medicine.

“Holistic and complementary medicine prevent disease and help people maintain a body balance that can meet any environmental challenges, from infections to accidents,” says Marina Lando, MS, a Reiki master and teacher, aromatherapist, and Harmony Life’s owner. “In many European countries, research shows that the use of complementary medicine like Reiki, aromatherapy, massage and sauna services reduces the costs of health care.”

Spa as rejuvenator
Skin Sense, a day spa in Raleigh, also brings its holistic philosophy of facial skin and body care to promote total body wellness and bring balance to life. The day spa offers therapeutic massages, results-oriented facials, relaxing body treatments, manicures and pedicures, sunless tanning, waxing, microdermabrasion and peels, and makeup applications. The center also features mud rooms, steam rooms saunas and relaxation rooms.

“We have designed and developed our facilities and treatments to ensure that our clients feel relaxed and rejuvenated, whether they have spent an hour or a day with us,” says Angela Padgett, president.

One of its services, the peppermint patty massage, features warming chocolate oil, heated basalt stones and fresh eucalyptus leaves, all designed to boost the body’s immune system. Summer also brings about Skin Sense’s cucumber and mint sugar scrub massage, which combines relaxation and exfoliation into one treatment. Its anti-aging treatments also are popular, including a treatment that combines glycolic acid and LHA with antioxidant-rich fruit enzymes to balance and nourish the skin.

“We are finding that like European spas, American spas are becoming an integral part of clients’ healthy lifestyles — a part of caring for your body in harmony with other wellness rituals such as a healthy diet and going to the gum — making total-body wellness treatments such as deep tissue massage, body wraps, mud treatments, and facials very popular among clients,” Padgett says.

“Incorporating regular spa visits into wellness routines also helps to reduce stress, care for the skin and achieve long-lasting wellness.”

Spa as getaway
The full-day spa experience is definitely something that is on trend as well, with groups of women heading to places like The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary for a day- or weekend-long retreat or to The Spa at Pinehurst, which is just a short hour-and-a-half drive from Wake County.

At The Umstead, the recently renovated spa now includes expanded couples’ treatment facilities, as well as a new nail salon and more space for treatments. The 15,400-square-foot spa, which spans two floors, features new textiles and artwork to complete the experience of feeling like being away at a retreat — even though it’s practically right around the corner.

The Umstead Spa provides an extensive program including facials, massages, body treatments and nail services, with group spa events available for bridal parties and business meetings. From its European facials to its massage therapies, the spa aims to make good on its investment in guests’ health and well-being.

“We live in a fast-paced environment, and setting aside time to connect with others and ourselves is absolutely imperative to our mental and physical well-being,” says Carolyn Doe, spa director. “Spa services like ours offer us an opportunity to press pause on the noise that fills our everyday lives.”

The Spa at Pinehurst, meanwhile, offers 50 treatments and 31,000 square feet of tranquility in a setting that’s just far enough away from the Triangle to feel like an escape.

Rated Four Stars by Forbes, the treatment facility opened adjacent to Pinehurst Resort in 2002 and sees both golf groupings coming in for relaxation therapy after their rounds and couples and groups together who are there just to enjoy the experience. Treatments range from massages and body treatments to facials and salon services.

“A lot of people don’t realize that Pinehurst actually was founded in 1895 as a wellness retreat, so the Pinehurst experience has always been about relaxation and revitalization,” says Jennifer Reid, who took over as spa director late last year. “We’ve created an experience that reflects the sense of Pinehurst with a menu of modern treatments that will remind guests exactly what is so special about this place.”

Danielle Jackson is editor of Wake Living and Triad Living magazines.