Pamper Your Entire Being
(page 2 of 3)
Embrace the Table
What's more disappointing than a bad massage? We can't think of anything, either. Here, seven therapists who won't let you down:
Janna Childs and Michelle Price
WHY WE LOVE THEM: Working from a space that is more parlor than day spa, Childs and Price specialize in a technique in which two therapists simultaneously work on one client—the so-called "four hands" massage. "The brain can't seem to work on two sides of the body at the same time, so it literally has to just shut down and receive," Childs says. In the four hands of Childs and Price, a massage that sounds as if it's going to be a chaos of groping turns out to be controlled, soothing, and holistic; the effect is total relaxation. BACKGROUND CHECK: Once the on-call masseuse for Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, Childs, who has been a massage therapist for 15 years, met Price when she was Childs's client; Price has practiced for seven years. Four Hands Massage, Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-957-0600. $260 for 70 minutes; $130 for 70 minutes with either Childs or Price. Cash or check only; no showers.
WHY WE LOVE HIM: Some therapists lull you into submission; not Jones, who is a master at sprinkling in just the right amount of articulate commentary as he applies slow, deep pressure to chronic trouble spots. Working from a surprisingly diagnostic visual check of your posture and a pre-massage interview, Jones focuses intently on problem areas—never getting to your legs, for example, if they're not bothering you. A massage from Jones may not be relaxing or luxurious, per se; rather, it's energizing, restorative, and, for anyone suffering from computer-user hunch or other modern-day maladies, just the ticket. BACKGROUND CHECK: A graduate of the Chicago College of Healing Arts, Jones has been a massage therapist for four years, the past two at Shen Shen Health and Harmony. Shen Shen Health and Harmony, 2764 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-935-4325. $95 an hour for deep tissue.
WHY WE LOVE HER: "I'm not a fluff and buff person," Scott tells you as you settle in. A deep-tissue massage from Scott starts with a round of thoughtful questions and soon moves into an active, strong-handed session that incorporates a bit of stretching and a lot of glorious, penetrating pressure. "I just love to really get into the fiber and to feel the muscle bellies," she says, referring to the midsection of a muscle bundle. But, in fact, she's perfectly capable of giving a gentle buffing, as she recently did for an older female client. Says Scott: "Afterwards, she gave me a great big hug, so it's rewarding either way." BACKGROUND CHECK: A former restaurant manager, Scott graduated from the Wellness and Massage Training Institute in Woodridge and became a masseuse six years ago. Zazú Salon & Day Spa, 135 S. Washington St., Naperville; 630-355-2230. $85 an hour.
WHY WE LOVE HER: Well versed in other techniques, Mowles considers ashiatsu Oriental bar massage her forte. Hanging from bars suspended above the massage table, Mowles uses her uncommonly dexterous feet to apply precise weighted pressure to your upper and lower body. "You should feel like you're sinking into the table," she explains. Better for people with bigger builds and those able to surrender to a massage, ashiatsu can be more intense than deep tissue and, when Mowles is up there, tension crushing and dangerously addictive. BACKGROUND CHECK: Mowles has practiced for 12 years. She splits her time between Urban Oasis and Delilah's, the bar she owns with her husband, Mike Miller. "It's sort of my yin and yang of life," she says. Urban Oasis, 12 W. Maple St., 312-587-3500, and 939 W. North Ave., 312-640-0001. $110 for 70 minutes.
WHY WE LOVE HER: "Undulating" is a word that crosses the mind, fleetingly, as you sink into a twilight state under Tompulis's attentive care. Tompulis says that although a majority of her clients ask for deep-tissue massage, she calibrates the level of pressure to suit each individual's level of tolerance and strives to make the experience seamless and rejuvenating. "People are just really spent when they come in and they want to feel renewed in their body," she says. "I try to give people a space of relaxation, of not having to be 'on,' of letting someone else take care of you." BACKGROUND CHECK: A Homewood native and 1995 graduate of the Chicago School of Massage Therapy, Tompulis has been doing massage for 12 years. Urban Oasis, 12 W. Maple St., 312-587-3500, and 939 W. North Ave., 312-640-0001. $90 an hour.
WHY WE LOVE HER: The old sciatica flaring up again? Suffering from frozen shoulders? Mielnik, having worked extensively with chiropractors and physical therapists, wants to hear all the gory details about your chronic-pain site. "That's ideal," she says. "Massage basically is a soft or deep tissue complement to the exercising and stretching that physical therapy accomplishes." Mielnik counts many hard-core triathletes as her clients and she estimates that while about half her customers come to her for help with specific injuries, the other half want a relaxing rubdown, pure and simple. She can do that, too. BACKGROUND CHECK: A masseuse for 20 years, Mielnik also works part-time at two senior-citizen residences on the North Shore. Sir Spa, 5151 N. Clark St.; 773-271-7000. $95 an hour.