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Published: Saturday, 5/13/2006

Spas: More people are making time to pamper themselves

BY ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Patty Flanagan receives a simultaneous foot, hand, and scalp massage from Nikki Soto, left, Angie Sifuentes, center, and Jan Archambeau at The Kerr House in Grand Rapids, Ohio. Patty Flanagan receives a simultaneous foot, hand, and scalp massage from Nikki Soto, left, Angie Sifuentes, center, and Jan Archambeau at The Kerr House in Grand Rapids, Ohio.
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Jo Minogue can get away from it all in the time it takes to travel from her home in Sylvania Township to her vacation spot in downtown Sylvania.

There, at Reve salon and spa on North Main Street, she gets an hour-long body massage a treat that she used to indulge in only when she and her husband, Jack, went on a trip. Now it s on her calendar every two weeks.

You can actually feel any stress you have drain right out of your body, Mrs. Minogue said. I think it also helps with the circulation and overall good health.

More and more people agree with her, men and women alike. Today, the spa industry is the fourth-largest leisure industry in the United States, according to the International Spa Association in Lexington, Ky.

All through the 80s, people still raised their eyebrows at the idea of a massage, said Laurie Hostetler, who opened The Kerr House in Grand Rapids, Ohio, in 1980. Since then, We have drawn people from all 50 states and many other countries.

Her facility and 24 others across the country that make up the Destination Spa Group which Ms. Hostetler heads focus solely on improving guests health and wellness through body treatments, natural foods, and education about nutrition and stress management. The Kerr House started with five-night programs, then added three-night, two-night, and one-day packages as well as single services. Families and groups of friends are among those who sometimes fill the house for overnight stays.

Spa locations are multiplying in resorts, hotels, and health clubs, adjoining medical offices, and sharing space with beauty salons. Some beds and breakfasts also are offering spa services or a combined package with a spa. One is the Munro House B&B in Jonesville, Mich., in Hillsdale County.

Area residents have many places to sample spa life.

The Blu Water Spa Salon in Monroe, for example, offers a three-hour Mini Vacation : full body massage, facial, manicure, shampoo and style, and candlelight lunch. Other packages, in addition to single services such as reflexology and deep tissue massage, include kids Princess Parties and a four-hour Gentleman s Day in Paradise.

Our customers are primarily women, but we get lots of men in for massages, said spokesman Teresa Thomas.

More people are making time to pamper themselves, she added. As soon as you go into the spa, there are candles and relaxing music. Just instantly you re away from all your problems.

Ann Arbor s Bellanina Day Spa winner of the Day Spa Association s Distinguished Day Spa Award 2005 was designed based on feng shui concepts of creating a harmonious environment. It s the only feng shui-designed spa around, said Assistant Manager Debra Berman, adding that owner Nina Howard was looking to provide a sacred space for healing and balance.

Many clients create their own spa day by choosing a combination of services from the menu of offerings, she said.


Jan Archambeau of The Kerr House does her part in the  triple treat  massage being administered to Patty Flanagan. Laurie Hostetler, who opened The Kerr House in 1980, says the Grand Rapids, Ohio, spa has drawn people from all 50 states and many other countries.

Jan Archambeau of The Kerr House does her part in the triple treat massage being administered to Patty Flanagan. Laurie Hostetler, who opened The Kerr House in 1980, says the Grand Rapids, Ohio, spa has drawn people from all 50 states and many other countries.
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A spa getaway doesn t have to take up a lot of time. Reve in Sylvania has added an express spa where multiple treatments can be administered simultaneously say, a facial, manicure, and pedicure. They re in and out in an hour or so, depending on how many things they want, owner Carmen Wigmans said.

Increasing numbers of spas have a medical component.

On North Reynolds Road in Toledo, Bella Via Therapeutic Wellness Spa was one of the first medically based day spas in northwest Ohio, said Toni D Emilio, manager. The spa, which opened in 1999, is associated with Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeons Inc.

The physicians direct the activities at the spa, and all of our services are administered by registered nurses, licensed massage therapists, and licensed aestheticians (skin-care specialists), she said. With physicians on staff, Mrs. D Emilio added, the spa can sell pharmaceutical-grade products that aren t available in a beauty salon.

At the David Broadway Salon & Day Spa in Sylvania Township, a doctor and physician s assistant work part-time doing vascular treatments and hair removal. I think more people are looking for ways to enhance their looks, said Manager Kara Broadway. They also want the convenience of going to the same place for cosmetic procedures as they do for hair styling and manicures, she said.

The growth of the David Broadway spa business reflects several industry trends. Mrs. Broadway said they re serving more men, seeing more people who get weekly massages, expanding the types of spa treatments, and more than doubling the number of massage therapists and aestheticians on staff over the last six years to keep up with demand.

And clients have become travel agents for the spa getaway: I have seen an increase in gift certificates for spa services, Mrs. Broadway said. People have found that it s a great gift to give for that person who has everything.

Contact Ann Weber at: weber@theblade.com or 419-724-6126.



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