The practice of using essential oils dates back to Egyptian times (it’s been said Cleopatra was a fan). Today, aromatherapy is used to promote well-being and stimulate the senses in a wide range of spa treatments, varying from massage to facials to hydrotherapy. Fragrant essential extracts sourced from plants, flowers, and herbs are mainly applied for their therapeutic benefits; studies show aromatherapy not only improves your mood, but may reduce stress levels and treat insomnia. So whether you want to rejuvenate or simply smell delicious, we say aromatherapy just makes sense! Step into a spa and one of the first things you’ll notice is a signature scent wafting in the air. It’s there to entice your senses straight off the bat and sets the tone for a relaxed experience. Not only is aromatherapy used to set the mood in a spa, it’s celebrated for healing purposes as well. Different natural oils are used for different therapeutic benefits. For example, lavender endorses calm, so speak with your therapist about what you’d like to accomplish during your treatment. To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?
I have been working with desk jockeys for 15 years as a massage therapist. I help with all the pain and discomfort business people tend to have from stress, typing emails all day, and frequent air travel. I am certified in medical massage and did my advanced massage training at Lauterstein-Conway which was known as the best massage school in the US at the time. I am also an esthetician but do not practice much of that privately. As an esthetician, I am occassionally a featured writer with Dermascope magazine. My parent company is Brainy Spa Girl, LLC where I create online course content for other massage therapists and have a skin ... View Profile
Prepare for one of those rare city moments where you can enjoy some peace and relaxation without having to actually leave the city. This dreamy spa in Chicago’s Near North Side neighborhood is perfect for a daylong pamper session, with amenities like a lap pool, health club, and some extraordinary spa treatments. The Signature Massage is one of their most popular because it is personalized for each guest according to their needs.
For thousands of years, Eastern healers have used pressure-point massage to balance the body. Shiatsu is the Japanese version. The idea is that chi, or life energy, flows through the body in 14 meridians. When the meridians are blocked, physical or emotional problems result. During a shiatsu massage, you lie on a floor mat while the therapist gently rocks and stretches your body and applies finger and thumb pressure to points. The purpose can be to stimulate or to subdue energy, making shiatsu invigorating as well as relaxing. Shiatsu treats your whole being rather than a single aspect of your body. Spas recommend it for stubborn knots, sports injuries, and back pain, and say the pressure can help trigger the release of chemicals, like cortisone, that help the body heal itself. Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese, but that doesn’t begin to cover it. Shiatsu therapists use their thumbs as well as elbows, knees, and feet to apply strategic pressure to muscles and connective tissues. Practitioners of Zen or Five Elements shiatsu therapy use the pressure-point massage for another reason. Namely, to balance the body’s chi, a practice that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine. In both cases, you typically wear loose-fitting clothing, and it’s done on a floor mat. Expect intense pressure and a fair bit of movement as the therapist stretches your muscles and alleviates knots and pain. While it’s languid enough to ultimately relax your muscles, it’s not likely something you’ll sleep through. Some therapists will spend a lot of time on your hara (stomach), which is considered the root of imbalance in Five Elements shiatsu. Read more about Shiatsu Massage in Spafinder's post, What is Shiatsu Massage? To help you find the massage that fits your specific needs, read Spafinder's guide to Which Massage is Right For You?, or select one of the links on this page for a different massage type.