Wellness Spa Splurges

Wellness centers prove that finding peace can be a healthy thing.


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More Than Skin Deep

Avancé Esthétiques is a day spa in Newtown that’s long been known as a first-class destination for flawless facials and invigorating body treatments. Its menu is filled with delicious-sounding services such as “Salt Glow” and “Massage in Symphony” (one body, four hands). Avancé offers up classic spa fare (manicures and pedicures) and sells organic cosmetics on-site. It’s a formula that has worked for 20 years.

Still, Melanie Allen, who recently took ownership of the spa, is contemplating adding more wellness services in response to consumer interest. “We are listening to what our clients are telling us, especially the ones who travel to destination spas,” says Allen. “We will still offer traditional spa services—we won’t do medical treatments like Botox®—but we may add a sauna and more healing massages.”

Cynthia Campbel, the spa’s senior massage therapist, is delighted to see a shift in favor of wellness. “It’s natural. We are all made up of energy . . . and with massage, I help people align that energy and create balance,” she says. “I’m so happy to see the paradigm is changing, because [wellness] has always been my intention.”

Indeed, a reflexology treatment with Campbel includes questions: “What’s going on in your life now?” “How have you been feeling?” “Where does it hurt?” Throughout the foot massage, she is purposeful, responsive. Don’t say a word and she’ll respect that; ask and she’ll explain how stimulation to the reflex points on the feet provides a renewed free flow of energy. When she’s finished, take your time getting up and sip some water or tea. It’s a curious sensation, but you just may feel how you feel in your feet. And it’s good.

“I take it on a case-by-case basis,” says Campbel. “If someone comes in with a shoulder kink, and all they want is to alleviate the pain, then I’ll do that. I believe it is absolutely our natural impulse to feel better. It doesn’t matter if you come in for a beauty treatment or a massage; it helps you feel happy.”

A world away at the Turquoise Medical Spa in Fairfield, happiness is served with a hefty dose of science. Formerly an all-service spa offering equal parts pampering and professional rejuvenation treatments, Turquoise now focuses strictly on medically supervised cosmetic procedures—from Botox® to IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) skin treatments.
It was, says Maeve Harrigan, director of spa operations, a good—and necessary—change.

Turquoise is owned and operated by two doctors: Lawrence Fliegelman, M.D., and Richard Levin, M.D.; Fliegelman is also a facial plastic surgeon. Until recently, they operated out of two locations: one a medical office, the other a day spa.  “We were trying to combine it all,” says Harrigan. But the economy, as well as a “metamorphosis in the spa industry,” obliged them to close down the spa. “The first things to go were the luxury treatments. It just made sense. We have found that consumers are very well-educated now,” says Harrigan. “They’re picky and they’re asking for specialized services. They’re looking for the white coats.”

Do cosmetic treatments improve your health? Not really. But can they make a visible difference in your appearance? Absolutely, says Harrigan: “Antiaging treatments such as Botox® and Juvéderm® will take the effects of aging away for a while  . . . and who isn’t going to feel better about that?” Still, she concedes that even a good facial has the power to perk you up. “A woman will come in looking beaten down and tired. After an hour of pampering and relaxation, she comes out with a great big smile on her face.”

Wellness Spa Splurges

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