Pamper, Pose and Peace

Local spas and wellness centers offer relaxation.
Dariush Moslemi leads a candlelight yoga class for [L to R] Steve Huntley, Tracy Hovde and Kathy Blegen-Huntley at Studio One Yoga and Massage in Stillwater.

Breathe. Relax. Unwind. When it comes to releasing muscle pain, replenishing energy or simply pampering yourself with a relaxing massage, there are no shortages of spa options in the St. Croix Valley.

Peaceful Retreat Massage and Wellness Center

A fervent advocate of the healing power of touch, Jennifer Marty, owner of Peaceful Retreat Massage and Wellness Center in Stillwater has been in practice since 2005. “People are surprised when you go to hug them these days. Touch is becoming less and less frequent, which is sad because we need seven to 12 positive touches each day to be at peace,” she says.

A massage routine is worthwhile because “the sensation of wellbeing can last for three weeks, and sometimes even months,” Marty says. “[And] over time, the body learns to maintain stress and trauma better, so you’re always at a better level of relaxation.”

Priced at $10 for 10 minutes, the chair massage is ideal for those who are looking for a less expensive session. The integrative massage, which combines elements of Swedish and deep tissue massage styles, is the wellness center’s most popular service. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Marty says. “You get focused relief, plus the benefits of full body relaxation.” With Mother’s Day fast approaching, Peaceful Retreat is now offering a mother-daughter special of 90 minutes for the one-hour rate of $60.

Lavender, eucalyptus and sweet orange oils are always on hand at Peaceful Retreat. With the Aromatherapy Treatment ($25), clients choose from 50 different essential oils to create their own custom blend. Whether applied topically, added to bathwater or diffused in the air, “there’s literally an oil for everything,” Marty says. Certified in aromatherapy, she also offers wholesale prices on pure oils, making Peaceful Retreat one of the area’s most affordable oil purveyors.

A Lotus Touch

The environment at this intimate, two-room massage center is “not spa-like at all,” says Carmen Boyd, massage therapist and co-owner of A Lotus Touch in Hudson. Boyd and co-owner Carrie Sutter offer Foot Reflexology, a type of massage that Boyd says is unique because “you can access just about every area of the body, including glands, organs and sinuses, through your feet.” She says the benefits of the $55 sessions can last for days or even weeks.

This season’s Step into Spring sole therapy special ($50) includes a rose and jojoba oil footbath, a rose, honey and raw sugar foot scrub and a champagne-rose foot mask, followed by a session of reflexology.

For at-home relaxation or pain relief, Boyd recommends simple techniques such as rolling a tennis or golf ball beneath the arch of the foot while sitting or, for lower back pain, positioning a ball or foam roller at the sacrum, the space just above the tailbone, lying down on top of it and allowing gravity to do the rest.

Studio One Yoga and Massage

“It starts out with letting go of life and ends with stillness,” says Dariush Moslemi, marketing director of Studio One Yoga and Massage in Stillwater, when describing the practice of yoga. Studio One’s 12 instructors offer something for everyone, from athletes and fitness enthusiasts to people of all ages—including children and even individuals with limited mobility.

Those with joint pain appreciate the easy-to-follow classes such as gentle yoga. Moslemi touts the manifold pain-relieving benefits of Hatha yoga, which is an advanced practice that helps to “stack the skeletal structure” via complex poses, he says.

Candlelight yoga classes combine Hatha, restorative and vinyasa techniques and are held in a candle-lit room. This method of “melting your stress away” is so popular that advance registration is a recommended. (On Mondays and Thursdays, the class is held in a studio that is heated to 95 degrees.) Moslemi says, “I don’t know of a better method that helps people wind down at the end of a day.”