Photo: Wine Down Spa Owner Shelia Carrington poses for a photo in her rejuvenation lounge, featuring the spa’s wine, charcuterie board and other offerings. (Courtesy of Wine Down Spa)
By Emma Kirkemier, News Editor
Wine Down Spa, which opened in April in the Gadsden Mall, may be the first business in the Southeast to offer touchless massage therapy.
Wine Down Spa Owner Sheila Carrington said the innovative model is by design.
When she first began focusing on her own self care, Carrington found that she had trouble relaxing in traditional spa and manicure settings, so she set out to find a solution.
“I was looking for touchless self care,” she said. “That was where I started the search, and then I found zero-gravity massage technology. I did months and months of research on the benefits tied to it, but I also did a lot of research to find the best chair.”
Carrington began using and marketing the new and relatively unknown technology. According to Carrington, other than a spa in Nashville, Wine Down Spa is the only touchless spa in the Southeast.
“The zero-gravity massage chairs are really popular in California and Nevada, (but in Alabama they are) not well-known,” Carrington said. “So that’s one of the challenges is getting everyone to try out zero gravity and get information about it, but I will say our clients absolutely love it.”
The spa’s zero-gravity massage chairs massage from the upper back to the feet. They gently recline and elevate the legs to the level of the heart, evenly distributing weight and forming the “zero-gravity position.”
“When you sit in the chair it actually scans your body,” Carrington explained. “It finds where your neck, shoulders and feet are. It lays you back into that zero-gravity position, which takes the pressure off your spine and sciatic nerve. It heats up your back and your legs, and then it massages you from your neck down to the soles of your feet, including your arms.”
The massage chairs feature a variety of options, including Swedish, Thai, deep tissue and relaxation massages.
Carrington said that while relaxation in the moment is the goal — she often has customers fall asleep in the chairs — some notice wellness benefits well after the massage.
“This is considered a luxury zero-gravity massage chair,” she said. “This chair is created to give you the type of massage that you would receive from massage therapy.”
Customers have reported pain relief and decreased muscle tension after receiving touchless massages. According to Carrington, the compression that happens during the massage — as well as in the spa’s reflexology room — helps improve circulation.
“I think that our initial clients are coming in for relaxation,” Carrington said. “They’re coming in for rejuvenation and just to enjoy the day spa. I will say that they come back for (both relaxation and) wellness.”
According to Carrington, touchless massage works in tandem with the other services offered at Wine Down Spa for the benefit of overall improved wellness. Other services include a steam sauna room and an aromatherapy and reflexology room.
“All of our treatments actually go hand-in-hand,” Carrington said. “For example, (with) our zero-gravity massage, the circulation portion helps with detoxification, and so does the massage and the heat. And the steam sauna helps to remove impurities from your body. When you get a massage, it’s recommended that you drink a lot of water. Using our sauna helps with that because it continues the detoxification process.”
Detoxification and improved circulation, she said, may also boost metabolism. Spa guests with foot, back or other pain have returned to the massage and reflexology rooms for pain relief along with relaxation.
Carrington explained that reflexology is the practice of applying heat and pressure to the soles of the feet, where each area corresponds with another area of the body. Soothing scents like lavender are diffused into the room for the aromatherapy portion of the experience.
All of the services are accessed through the central “rejuvenation lounge,” where guests are served wine, mimosas or hot tea. The lounge is available for booking gatherings like baby or bridal showers, birthday parties or anniversary celebrations.
Wine Down Spa is currently booking appointments for a Valentine’s Day couples’ massage and wine package February 11-18, which will also include a special dessert charcuterie board.
“I don’t want to be your original day spa,” Carrington said. “I want to be something a bit different. It’s about coming in and relaxing, which is why we serve wine, and we also have hot tea and sparkling water. It’s about having a full environment of relaxation and rejuvenation.”
Learn more and book appointments or events at winedownspa.com.