Why is it that in the U.S., “pampering” is often a four-letter word, a verb reserved for the uber-selfish and the 1 percent? In this day and age (and economy), massages, body treatments and facials aren’t just about an hour of feeling like a queen or a king, though there is still that benefit. Treatments today are geared toward specific goals, whether those are combating the effects of aging, healing old injuries, detoxifying the system, exfoliating the skin, relieving stress or other benefits. It’s hard to imagine anyone arguing that feeling healthy is something that should be reserved for the wealthy.
So instead of perceiving skin and body treatments as frivolous, take a page from Europe and Asia, and view these experiences as necessary to well-being. You aren’t pampering yourself – you’re loving yourself. This month, Sedona Monthly gives you a checklist of ways you can do just that right here in Red Rock Country.
If you’re the type of person who dreams about following a massage with a nap in your own bed, you are going to love Amy Halberstadt and Keynote Massage. Amy, who relocated from Seattle in November, works out of her home studio in the Village of Oak Creek, but she also offers mobile massage (prices available upon request). This means she will show up at your doorstep with her massage table, creams, sheets and drapes and an iPod, turning any space in your home into a pop-up treatment room. Amy says nearly half of her clients request massages in their homes.
“Sometimes they are couples wanting back-to-back massages before they spend the day together,” Amy says. “Other times it’s a client who has mobility issues or someone who just wants to take a shower and go to bed after their massage without having to get in the car and drive.”
There are a few things to consider before Amy arrives. First, make sure your space is warm enough. Inform everyone else who lives with you that you will be receiving a massage and you are not to be disturbed. Contain pets in a separate room, and make sure you turn off all phones. Amy will be using your restroom to wait while you change your clothes and to wash her hands, so keep that in mind as well.
A massage therapist for five years, Amy worked with doctors, physical therapists, acupuncturists and naturopaths. Frequently, a healthcare provider would write a patient a prescription for a massage, and that’s where Amy stepped in. Doctors can prescribe massage for someone experiencing high levels of stress and tension, which can affect immune and nervous systems. Thanks to her prior work, Amy is also well-versed in providing therapeutic massage to heal old injuries or relieve chronic pain, so people seek her out for a variety of reasons.
“I love my job,” she says, giddy. “So often we neglect ourselves and our bodies, but if you listen to your body, you’ll see results faster. Your body is sending you a message for a reason.”
Before the massage begins, Amy has clients fill out an intake form, and she asks questions about the results they hope to achieve. During the treatment, she plays soothing music, often from her own album, Shining True. That’s the other component of Amy’s life: She and her boyfriend, Joe Bongiorno, are pianists (thus the name of her business). In fact, you can book treatments at Amy’s home while Joe plays piano in an adjacent room. “There’s something special about live music, and when coupled with massage, it can be especially healing,” says Amy.
As for the massage, Sedona is lucky to have Amy; she’s one of the best therapists I’ve ever met. She might be small in stature, but she’s equally capable of providing deep-tissue work or using a light touch. It was a little disconcerting to step off the massage table and find myself in my own living room, but it’s definitely something I could get used to.
Keynote Massage, www.keynotemassage.com. Call 425-422-4887
Lovejoy’s Enchanted Cottage
People who visit Lovejoy’s Enchanted Cottage say Deb Lovejoy’s pedicures are as relaxing as a massage at a resort, and that’s not surprising. When was the last time your feet experienced 90 minutes of undivided attention? Never? That’s what I thought. Deb has been pampering footsies in Sedona since she relocated from Ohio in 2001. She offers 60- and 90-minute pedicures out of her home studio in West Sedona (all treatments are private – this isn’t your typical strip-mall nail salon). Sink into the comfy raised chair and a hand-painted goblet filled with water is at the ready. Within minutes you feel like royalty on your throne. Your loyal subject appears in the form of Cinnabar, a golden retriever-Irish setter therapy dog who sits on the floor next to Deb.
Deb’s 90-minute holistic pedicure ($95) begins when you choose a crystal and aromatherapy oil to be placed in your footbath so that their healing properties can begin to take effect. Deb exfoliates the feet and calves and starts removing calluses using a volcanic-ash stone that tickles the toes. During all this, she provides a mini psychic reading (it is Sedona after all) and asks you to set an intention for your session so the effects last after you leave the Enchanted Cottage. Your feet are wrapped in hot purple towels (again with the royalty theme) before they are treated to a reflexology session. Next your toes are polished using toluene-free, DBT-free, formaldehyde-free polish that Deb says will last for one month or longer. Deb ends the treatment using two different tuning forks, one for balance and one to help you let go of old thought patterns and beliefs. Finally, your chakras are balanced and you’re ready to face the world… or better yet, to take a nap.
“I work on the health of the body through the feet,” says Deb. “I help people be more grounded. My motto is ‘pamper yourself to wholeness.’ Pedicures are about healthy feet, not polished toes.”
Lovejoy’s Enchanted Cottage, 235 Birch Blvd. in West Sedona. Call 928-301-1903