http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/09/07/an-urban-retreat-right-in-the-middle-of-pleasanton


Pleasanton Weekly

- September 7, 2012

An urban retreat right in the middle of Pleasanton

Lavandu's nurturing environment soothes the five senses

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Patricia Workman was on a mission to create an urban escape when she opened Lavandu Face & Body at Mission Plaza in June.

"The purpose of Lavandu is to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which you can receive facial, massage and face and body waxing services by highly qualified and experienced therapists," she said.

In creating the Lavandu space, she focused on appealing to all five senses:

* The lights are low, and the décor is minimalist and soothing.

* The scent of therapeutic oils pervades the air from the Aroma Bar in the lobby, where customized skin care and essential oils are blended.

* Soothing music plays in the lobby, and clients have a choice of background music while they receive services.

* Everything is natural to the touch, from the bamboo sheets to the organic cotton linens. The floor is cork, warm to bare feet.

* A decanter with water flavored with fruits, veggies and herbs greets everyone who enters, and each treatment ends with blended chamomile tea and a truffle.

"People think they are running in for a wax treatment but most come in and all their senses are stimulated," Workman said. "Everything we do is very nourishing. Not only does it smell good, but it's very nourishing."

Facials are popular with the baby boomers as they age, Workman noted.

"I'm in the baby boomers, and we're trying to do what we can to preserve elasticity," she explained. "A regular facial does help with tone and elasticity."

Clients are asked to arrive early to fill out a form on the state of their health plus to bask in the relaxing surroundings and sip a glass of healthy water. The air is purified, and a soothing waterfall flows down the wall of the main hallway.

On a recent Friday morning, Tessa Castaneda, 27, was lying back on a treatment bed, gowned in a Lavandu wrap and covered with a soft bamboo sheet, receiving a facial. A friend suggested the treatment when Castaneda's complexion was negatively affected by the hot and steamy air in the kitchen at Ruby Hill, where she is a pastry chef.

"The first time I was scared coming in, about a month ago," Castaneda said. "But it's really comfortable, really relaxing. I'm getting all kinds of feelings. The tingling, cleaning out my pores, felt good."

"When I got out of here I was so clean that I didn't want to touch my face," she added with a laugh.

She sighed contentedly looking forward to resting in the serenity room after her treatment. Clients are encouraged to spend as long as they like in its comfortable lounges, enjoying their blended chamomile tea and lavender garnache truffle. A large screen airs soothing scenes.

Workman was in the corporate world with high-tech companies for 20 years when an illness caused her to embark on an odyssey to get back on her feet in a healthy way.

"I went to massage school and learned to care for the body," she recalled, and she found she liked serving people through touching and massage.

"Then I got into the healing aspects of essential oils, and I also became a skin therapist," she said.

She and her husband decided to invest in creating Lavandu, right in their hometown of Pleasanton, as a nurturing place to escape the constant stress of today's lifestyles.

"I wanted to create something entirely unique," she remembered.

She offered massage in a second-story studio on Main Street but to expand and offer face and body services, she needed a larger space. When visiting another business at Mission Plaza the shopping center struck her as a good place to locate.

"It's a blessing to be in this area," she said. "The energy is just right, I knew it was right."

As luck would have it, a former realty office was available for lease. Soon she was renovating, tearing down walls and planning the soothing furnishings, right up to the silk mobiles that float over treatment tables to the chandelier in the lobby, which is replicated in a chapel at Westminster Abbey.

Available services include Touch Therapy for stress and pain reduction, as well as corrective makeup, both applying it and training clients in its use. Visit www.lavandu.com for a complete list, call 399-6959, or drop in during business hours, Wednesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. but closing at 5 p.m. Saturdays.

"It's great to offer a nurturing place to get away," Workman said. "We have all the amenities to rival a day spa. It's total pampering."

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