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Trading Spas for Sanctuaries

A guide for rejuvenating your spirit.
Wednesday Oct 06, 2004.     By Jennifer Wennig
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

City living can take a toll on the body, mind and spirit. That cheery disposition can quickly fade in the face of dull corporate days, hours of L-riding and slushy, snow-filled sidewalks. If you’d suddenly rather stay in for the premiere of “Gilmore Girls” than grab a cocktail with friends, it may be time to reallocate this month’s vanity-laden pampering budget from facials and pedicures to chakra readings, hatha yoga and hypnotherapy. After all, the fulfillment one feels from a great hair day pales in comparison to harnessing the natural balanced energy of your being.

CHI Healing Center
With enormous windows overlooking Milwaukee Avenue in Bucktown, CHI Healing Center gets its fare share of radiant sunshine, which is exactly how you’ll feel when visiting: All lit up inside. CHI (for create, heal and inspire) successfully provides its clients with a nurturing environment. In addition to a yoga studio, there are several tranquil, inviting rooms that will make you forget day planners and dry cleaning. At CHI, it’s time to focus on you. After stretching yourself into a yoga-induced sweat, work out body aches and pains with an indulgent deep tissue massage, then put that all-powerful mind to proper use and conquer whatever you desire with hypnotherapy. Additional services include acupuncture, reflexology and life coaching. CHI holds monthly special events, such as an Oct. 30 tarot reading.

Nature Yoga Sanctuary
This storefront studio is bright, airy and all about a natural approach to wellness. Nature Yoga offers daily classes that involve a smorgasbord of yoga elements, including science of breath (known as pranayama in classical yoga), which teaches participants how to control the rhythmic science of energetic breath; partner yoga, designed to allow students to go deeper into postures and meditation with an introduction of tantric partner-yoga (hey, it works for Sting and Trudie); and hatha blend, which balances qualities of strengthening and stretching and heating and cooling. If your search for wellness surpasses a few yoga classes per week, check out Ayurveda (science of life) pulse diagnosis and consultation. Based on what is expressed through this pulse you’ll receive lifestyle and diet recommendations that could result in significant health improvements. After all, Mother Nature knows best.

Ruby Room
The fairly non-descript building that is home to Wicker Park’s The Ruby Room makes what lies inside even more surprising and delightful. Upon entering, you are swept up a steep staircase that brings you to a boutique replete with books, face and body care products and gift-worthy items. Beyond the boutique sits a beautiful and serene space outfitted with brick walls, clean, soft light and yards of silk drapes, table coverings and pillows. It is here where founder and owner Kate Leydon says that clients can find “sanctuary to heal from inside out.” Leydon recommends first-time visitors sign up for the Intuitive Blend Therapy (90 minutes for $140; first-time guests $120), which involves 30 minutes of working with a trained Intuitive who helps you hear what your “angelic guides” are telling you, followed by 60 minutes of Energy Healing to cleanse and revive your chakra system.

For an additional $25 you can have your electromagnetic field capture on film, which allows the Intuitive to view and interpret the colors of your chakra system. Other unique services include energy healing for your pets and numerotherapy, which helps identify your soul’s purpose based on your birth name and the time of your birth. In celebration of its two year anniversary in November, The Ruby Room will unveil an additional 8,100 square feet that includes a hair salon, skin and body spa and a Chinese herbal elixir bar. Cosmos are so passe.

Sana Vita Studio
Founded by Marilyn Glielmi, who has a master’s degree in exercise science and cardiac rehabilitation, Sana Vita focuses on the healing power of pilates, yoga and massage. Choose from pilates mat classes, private lessons, reformer work (equipment that uniformly develops your body and increases body alignment awareness) and yoga. If you’re feeling a bit bored with your workout routine, try Yamuna body rolling, which combines exercise, massage and chiropractic treatment in one session. These exercise practices will not only begin to elongate, tone and strengthen your muscles, but will enhance your posture, flexibility and balance. Most importantly, you will be keenly aware of the connection between your body, mind and spirit. Bring a friend or two and save a bit of money as Sana Vita offers duet and triplets training.

The Verve Healing Arts Center
Clueless about what your chakras are? You’ll quickly find yourself in-the-know with a trip to The Verve Healing Arts Center. Founded by Tammi Janel, a petite woman with a calm but energetic persona, the center can help you “realize your verve” with its integrative and natural approach to wellness. Participating in an energetic wellness session involves spending about 45 minutes with Janel as she hones in on the energy you are releasing, detailing what adverse energy may be holding your chakras hostage. Following the reading, you’ll lie on a table, relax and be aware of your body from head to toe through deep breathing while she works to improve your energy.

Opened in 2000, the center puts you immediately at ease with soothing scents, bright colorful walls, splashes of bamboo and rich textures. Janel says the goal for the space is to engage the five senses. The Verve also offers acupuncture, hypnotherapy, massage (including deep tissue, prenatal, Swedish, hot rock, and a massage sampler), traditional Chinese medicine and Shiatsu therapy.

Wellness Associates of Chicago
Founded in 1990, Wellness Associates of Chicago is staffed by licensed and certified practitioners that specialize in computerized stress assessment, sound and light therapies, Tai Chi instruction, hypnosis and guided imagery for relaxation and sleep. If you are overwhelmed by the seemingly endless vitamin and supplement choices, Wellness Associates will work with you to determine how you can streamline the intake of medicine and supplements without sacrificing your best health. For a truly unique experience, pencil a Tibetan medical consultation into your calendar well in advance; Tibetan doctors generally visit every other year for three weeks. If you’d feel more comfortable starting your treatments from home, dial in for a phone consultation or order from an array of CDs to educate, inspire and heal.


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Bars & Clubs

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Brand-New Bars

Get divey on Grace; go downstairs at River North's Curio.

Food & Dining

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New Restaurants

Go Dutch at Vincent and satisfy a familiar sweet tooth at BomBon.

What's Happening Today
  • Closet
    $2.50 pints of Miller Lite
  • Division Ale House
    $4 Burning River Pale Ale drafts, $5 PBR can with a shot of Jameson, $7 build-your-own bloody mary bar
  • Rockwood Place
    $1 all sliders, $2 all flatbreads, $3 half-slab of dry-rubbed baby back ribs, $8 pitchers of Miller Lite and Bud Light, $10 pitchers of white peach sangria, $12 pitchers of 4 Rebels Dragonfruit Vodka iced tea
  • Bowman's Bar and Grill
    $3 draft beers
  • Irish Oak
    $3 Miller Lite/High Life/MGD, $5 Bombs
  • Brudder's
    $5 Corona (24 ounce), $3.50 Modelo