Spa Sway Takes Self-Care to New Heights with Prices That Sooth
Skilled therapists and clean products create luxury — yet affordable — treatments
By Laurel Miller
Photos by Brandon Hill
If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that self-care isn’t an indulgence. Sometimes, the way through starts with a great massage, which has quantifiable benefits to mental, as well as physical, wellness.
For Rei Leigh Harmer, owner of The Domain’s Spa Sway, the path to healing started in 2014. The native Austinite had just returned to Texas after three years in Las Vegas working in the hospitality industry. Harmer was seeking a lifestyle change when she was in a serious car accident. Suddenly, her life was a hamster wheel of doctor appointments and physical therapy, so she could learn to walk again.
“That was the turning point in my journey,” says Harmer. “I was spending so much time getting necessary myofascial and deep tissue massage to facilitate healing and relieve pain, and increasingly found myself drawn to those who work as healers. It’s really special when you find your person, and they help you in your recovery.”
Harmer knew she needed to find a way to afford ongoing treatments after her insurance no longer covered therapeutic aspects of her recovery.
“I saw a white space in the market for luxury spa treatments at affordable prices. I also created an in-depth hiring process that highlights a therapist’s skill sets and modalities to help pair clients with ‘their person,’ depending upon their individual goals,” she says. Spa Sway opened in 2014, and three years later Harmer opened sister spot Organic Bronze, a clean-product-focused, luxury spray tanning studio. She plans to open more Spa Sways in the Austin area soon.
With an emphasis on dermatologist-developed, clean product lines like SkinCeuticals and Elta MD (look for a soon-to-be-released organic branded line) and a concise menu of body and facial treatments combining Eastern and Western modalities with high-tech equipment, it’s no surprise Spa Sway is a haven for soul soothing, skin smoothing and pain relief.
“A lot of times, people come in not knowing what they need,” says Harmer. “That’s why many of our treatments are customizable with add-on enhancements or, like our Signature Spa Sway Massage, combine different techniques to maximize the benefits for the client.”
Wildly popular menu items include the CBD Therapeutic Massage, which promotes relaxation and has the potential to relieve inflammation; Lymphatic Massage, which uses gliding, stretching movements to reduce bloating and facilitate the elimination of waste products from the body; and Cupping, which assists with breaking down adhesions — those vicious little muscle knots caused by stress, injury or illness.
Some face treatments use medical-grade devices and cutting-edge technology. The HydraFacial MD, for instance, employs a vacuum-like VortexFusion wand to exfoliate the skin for painless extractions, while the Mini Face Lift utilizes microcurrent combined with lymphatic drainage to firm, tone and define features. Harmer says her team calls the latter “the natural face lift treatment, because the results are so dramatic.”
While a spa treatment is only as good as the therapist, products and equipment, the benefits also lie in learning to nurture yourself.
“Just like fashion, it’s not about what you wear, but how you feel wearing it,” says Harmer.