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Hot rocks 

Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa warms its way into writer's heart.

REJUVENATORS: RN Sara Molsbee (from left), owner Mahvash Kamran, Haleigh Clark and Elinor Abbott await your visit.
  • REJUVENATORS: RN Sara Molsbee (from left), owner Mahvash Kamran, Haleigh Clark and Elinor Abbott await your visit.

I walked into the spa in the Shackleford Plaza Shopping Center on Arcade Drive with my mind made up, even though I hadn't eaten and a headache was forming right between my eyes, that I was going to relax and enjoy my massage (especially for $85 an hour) no matter what. The Hot Stone Therapy Massage was advertised as a luxurious massage that incorporates deep heat therapy, using "smooth, polished and heated basalt lava stones ... to loosen tight muscles while relieving stress and easing tension." Everything I needed and more.

I checked in at the front desk and was led back to the locker room to change. Neatly rolled hand towels, potted plants, an assortment of containers, glasses and a pitcher of water lined the marble countertop. I changed into my robe and slippers, and headed to the waiting area to fill out some paperwork before my massage therapist came to get me. Michelle walked in and introduced herself with a bright smile and kind voice. As we walked to the massage area she asked about the pressure I liked and any areas that needed special attention, the same way a doctor does at the beginning of a check-up. I asked her to pay extra attention to my lower back and hips, hoping she could relieve some of the pain I'd been experiencing lately. The room was small and very comfortable, soft lighting illuminated the massage table and the adjacent mirror while a glowing pillar in the corner of the room added ambiance and soothing noise.

Michelle returned after I undressed and instructed me to relax as she placed a moist hot towel on my back. She pressed and kneaded into the towel, instantly relaxing my muscles and eliciting the first sigh of many. Her touch was gentle, careful and precise. She applied pressure to different points in my upper back and shoulders, some bordering on excruciating pain and others unbelievable relief; all sending a tingling sensation down my arms and through my chest. Her hands traveled further down my back, applying pressure in a circular motion, moisturizing my skin with warm oil and then hot lava stones.

The heat was shocking at first, then soothing, relieving aches I didn't even know I had. The first stone was guided down the center of my back, heating the oil it came in contact with and penetrating my muscles as if they were made of butter. Michelle placed a stone in each of my palms, warming my hands and giving me something to hold on to, as she continued down my back before moving to my legs. She massaged my entire leg and down over the sole of my foot with a hot stone, leaving a trail of warmth and relaxation. She worked on the muscle in my buttocks and hip, applying pressure to stretch my lower back and pelvic bones, eliciting a short-lived pang washed out by a cresting wave of relief.

I ultimately succumbed to the soothing touch of my therapist and the ambiance of the spa. The sounds of cascading water pulled me deeper and deeper into relaxation and further from the surface of my subconscious. I woke with a smile, to the warmth of her hands on my shoulders, letting me know it was time to turn over. I rolled over onto my back and Michelle placed a pad underneath my knees and moved to the head of the table. She used the stones to relax the muscles in my arms and chest, bringing them up to my neck as they began to cool and abandoning them as she massaged my scalp with her fingertips.

I drifted back to sleep and enjoyed the last minutes of my massage in a comfortable slumber. I awoke and was disappointed that our time was up, but thoroughly satisfied with the time that had been spent. I returned to the locker room and got dressed to leave. As I pulled up my jeans, I broke a nail and had to have something done about it. I went to the reception area, paid for my massage and asked the receptionist if someone could just clip the broken part of the nail. I was led into the other side of the spa where women were chattering and the atmosphere was lively, a marked contrast to the calm and tranquil environment I had just left. A short woman with black hair greeted me with a smile and quickly clipped and filed the nail, free of charge. I thanked her, returned to the reception area and said my goodbyes, leaving the spa relaxed and in a much better mood than I had coming in. The only thing on my mind now was what I was going to eat for lunch, but I was almost too relaxed to care: My massage was wonderful, my therapist was professional and attentive, and the spa itself was an experience I would pay for time and time again.

The Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa is owned by Jim and Mahvash Kamran, who opened it in 1992. Mahvash was the first aesthetician in Arkansas. The spa has not just hot stone therapy and other massage offerings, but also offers a variety of day packages and traditional spa services, including manicures and pedicures, lash extensions, waxing and facials, as well as a medical spa, opened in 2007. The medical spa is headed by Sarah Molsbee, a registered nurse, and offers laser treatments, Botox, chemical peels and skin rejuvenation services.

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