Body and Soul

Beauty not only comes from our external efforts, but internal as well. When you feel great, you look great. Good overall health is one road to looking your best and holistic massage is one vehicle that can help you reach that destination.

I visited Beautiful You Center for Healing Arts, a lovely old world-style spa in Southampton, to experience their holistic massage, Absolute Relaxation and Healing.

As a licensed Esthetician and certified in Reconnective Healing, owner Geomare is one of the most intuitive, talented and compassionate therapists I’ve had the pleasure to meet. A native of Ecuador, Geomare was inspired by the many indigenous holistic health and wellness regimens she has experienced in her worldwide travels.

“I am passionate about natural and holistic regimens and have created an environment that gives clients a time and place to have a special experience so they can achieve a wonderful sense of peace, look their best and feel rejuvenated,” she says. “I believe that when the body, mind and spirit are aligned and balanced, a beautiful person emerges.”

Geomare uses a combination of soft touch and deep massage techniques customized to your needs. Her nurturing and centered energy alone helped me relax as she worked on my body from the top of my head to my toes. It was interesting to note how she would stop and give extra attention to certain areas, intuitively knowing these were trouble spots.

If you are uncertain about having energy work done along with a massage, Geomare is the perfect introduction. When I left, I felt serene, stress-free and nurtured.

Amma, a form of massage that addresses the balancing of the yin and yang, also combines firm tissue manipulation and gentle touch to specific pressure points and energy pathways, helping to remove blockages and free energy flow. This Asian form of massage is offered at Spa 190 in Mineola.

“Once you remove the tangible parts of a person, there is still something there. It may be intangible, but it is just as important to our health as our physical body,” said David, the Amma therapist at Spa 190. “Holistic massage includes the energies of the body in the treatment. When these energies are out of balance, physical problems manifest.”

Closely following the theories of acupuncture, Amma begins with a Chinese medical diagnosis, including an examination of the tongue and pulse points, to provide the therapist with an understanding of the symptoms and goals of the client. Diet, lifestyle and sleep patterns are examined.

“One session can be helpful,” explains David, who has been practicing Amma for five years and discovered it was successful for skeptical clients. “Depending on the nature of the issue, however, more sessions may be required.”

Shana of The Body Sattva in Northport explains that this type of massage is done with clothing or a medical gown. No massage oils are used, as the motion is circular and the skin is not rubbed.

The therapist uses fingers and open hands to follow down trails of energy paths, feeling and responding as they go to release and direct blocked energy.

Shana, who also does Swedish massage, explains another difference between Amma massage and other types. “Amma is centrifugal. I’m working to push the energy out along the channels to the fingers or toes. With Swedish, it’s centripetal, and I’m pushing the blood back towards the heart.” As an aside, she also warns that it’s not a good idea to get a Swedish massage if you are sick, as it pushes the toxins back towards the heart.

Shana, who was certified for Amma 11 years ago and has patients who have been coming back for nearly as long, loves the connection to her clients. “My job is to help people to feel better and help them through their challenges.”

If you’re curious about holistic massage, I heartily recommend one of these options. But I know this “mind, body, spirit” approach is not for everyone. If you choose to go the traditional route with something that addresses purely physical needs, try a Swedish or deep tissue massage, which are great for sore or overworked muscles. For any type of massage, however, please do your research and choose a licensed therapist (don’t be afraid to ask to see that license if it’s not displayed). And make sure you establish good communication with the therapist from the beginning, letting them know your comfort levels. Your massage should be a time for relaxing and healing.

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at