Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spa Reviews

You know, sometimes all you ever hear about is the negative side of things. So, today I'd like to devote my blog to reviewing the positve aspects of a few different local day spas. Getting a massage is something I experienced late in life but which I do enjoy when time and finances allow. I find it's always best, however, to find a therapist based upon the recommendation of someone you trust. So if you trust me, here are my recommendations and reviews.

My very first massage came as a surprise. My eldest child had entered a Mother's Day contest and had to write on the theme, "My mother's the best because . . ." He tried so hard to win the second prize of a 4-pack of go-cart tickets. Instead he won first prize: A 1-hour massage "on the rocks" for his dear mother. Bummer for him. Exciting for me. And I was hooked.

That first spa experience was about 10 years ago in Jenkintown, PA but these days I frequent Spirit Day Spa in Mechanicsburg. I just have to put a plug in for Spirit Day Spa. Brenda Staub, the owner, has been my hair stylist for most of my Mechanicsburg days. That's saying a lot. It takes a woman with a lot of talent to be able to do something with my pencil-thin, baby-fine hair. I've followed her around to several different locations but a few years back she bought this spa. I was thrilled when she told me that she and her family and friends spent an evening prayer walking through the building before she opened for the public. There were also some local people, strangers to her, who showed up when she opened, armed with a gift basket and a desire to pray for Brenda and her business. They offer many services including magic for fine, thin hair, pedicures, manicures, facials, and massages! They have two massage therapists, one who is legally blind and comes with her guide dog. She's even been featured on the local news. The second is Kim, who works wonders on my back.

As much as I love Kim and her massages, there is, of course, a cost involved. So for the in-between times I frequent Drama Queen Therapeutic Massage and Spa. The owner, and only therapist, Mariana King, is excellent at her craft. Not that you can learn everything from a book, but she has done extensive reading in college-level textbooks on the subject. She has charts to fall back on. She has also gotten some informal training from Kim at Spirit Day Spa. Cut her some slack, no school of massage therapy is going to admit her at age 12, even if she is your typical child prodigy homeschooler who has skipped 10 grades, could graduate from high school and pass the college entrance exams in her sleep, not to mention be admitted to Julliard with a full ride scholarship. But that's irrelevant. Her hours are excellent; I've always been able to get an appointment just when I needed it. And her rates are exceptional; all she requires is that she be allowed to watch a movie or part of one while she works her magic. When the movie just happens to be an educational DVD or even a documentary, it's kiling two birds with one stone. I've listened to a good many movies while her fingers work out the knots in my back. She also gives natural facials that include ingredients like oatmeal and honey. These are usually given for free at birthdays and Mother's Day.

Today, however, I received a gift certificate to Two Sisters Day Spa so I decided to give it a try.

I was met by these two beautiful ladies who greeted me with such nice smiles. They were certainly dressed to impress, although slightly overdressed for the task at hand. They opened up the massage table (which looked very much like the one Mariana King uses at the Drama Queen Therapeutic Massage and Spa)

Maybe it's what the trade schools are teaching these days, but this massage was like nothing I've ever experienced. It's a topic of which I know very little (I wasn't homeschooled so unlike my children I am not an expert in all things) so who am I to criticize?

The massage started with the therapists arguing about who was going to start where. Maybe this was some sort of reverse-relaxation technique, similar to the reverse psychology many parents try on their kids. I'm not sure it was working for me but on the other hand, I may just have been a little more tense than usual. It reminded me too much of my little girls and how much they bicker with each other. Come to think of it, there was a lot of arguing back-and-forth during my whole massage.

Another interesting technique the lovely ladies of Two Sisters Day Spa enacted was to tell me how long the session would last rather than to ask me how much time I wanted. It's an interesting way to use a gift certificate, but what do I know? So the blonde therapist informed me that this massage would last 30 minutes. Then she asked me to tell her when 30 minutes were up. Imagine that! I wasn't sure if this was because she didn't know how to tell time or if it was another strange relaxation technique. But then her assistent answered that question as she proceeded to tell me that the current time was 8-0-S. Is it really that easy to get admitted to trade schools these days that you don't even have to know how to tell time? So there I was getting a massage but had to look up every few minutes when the lovely ladies asked me if time was up yet. At one point near the end of my massage I heard a scratching noise at my ear. Imagine my surprise when I looked to see the blonde therapist making check marks on a white board to determine how many minutes were left!

I quickly noticed another striking difference between this spa and others I've frequented. Interesting, there wasn't any relaxing music in the background; no white noise or ocean waves, either. Instead there was a lot of whispering interspersed with loud exclamations of "Eden!!!!!!" and "No, I'm doing her leg, you massage her back!" I also heard a lot of gum smacking from the lovely lady in cornrows and poof and loud, obnoxious sniffing from the lovely blonde. I guess the latter could fall under the category of natural noises, similar to ocean waves or rain, but it didn't have quite the same effect. An interesting approach, though, and maybe there are some who find it relaxing.

The lovely lady in cornrows and poof was especially good at massaging my head and ears until she almost detached said head from said ears. It was probably a new massage technique but I'm almost certain I heard her Snow White high heels slip on the wood floor and wonder if the pulling of the ears may have been her attempt to remain upright rather than to fall flat on her derriere. But it's all speculation.

I have to say the best thing about this spa was that the lovely ladies had such low expectations in the tip department. After my massage I handed each of the lovely ladies a quarter and a penny and they acted as if I had just handed each of them a one-hundred dollar bill.

In case you're interested in checking out any of these wonderful spas, they can be contacted at the following:
Spirit Day Spa in Mechanicsburg: 717-795-8384
Drama Queen Therapeutic Massage and Spa: She has an unlisted number but I hear you can reach her through her parents and her motto is "Have table, will travel," and "Pay as you can."
Two Sisters Day Spa: Funny, I can't find them in the book anyway and their business is no longer advertised anywhere, it's like the place never even existed


  1. Sounds like a fair review of the Two Sisters Day Spa. Glad your head and ears are still attached. Thanks for the laughs :)

  2. Hmmm, what kind of movies does Mariana like? We might be willing to provide some nourishment as well. Just have to figure out a time without the kids ... or maybe we can come to her place and have a babysitter here. I'm pretty sure we would have two VERY willing customers here, given our normal trio of little people climbing on us!

    - Sam W.