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from Karen Salkin

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As the holidays close in (and isn’t that what they always seem like they’re doing?), I felt the need for a little pre-emptive relaxation. Two of the ways worked out so well for me, that I just have to tell you about them, though they have nothing to do with food or parties. I’m thinking that recounting the experiences in print may give me the same feelings of peace of again, even in some small way, so here goes.


At the one Golden Globe suite that I attended back in January, I met this man, Dick, with whom I agree on a lot of things, and laugh with constantly, to boot. We have a lot of the same sensibilities, (Except for smoking! But that’s another story.) Since then, he’s been raving about Thai massages at Thai Sabai in Hollywood.

Since I really don’t know him well, I was actually worried for a sec that “Thai massage” might have been a code for something other than a real massage, if you get my drift. He laughed really hard when I inquired about if that’s what he was talking about. It’s just a totally different massage than I’ve ever had. But I read up on it first and decided to go with the flow.

I chose their Westwood branch, as I’m a west side kind-of gal. It’s easy and has parking. There are no frills, such as steam (or yeast-infection-inducing Jacuzzis, thank goodness), but none are necessary. (Dick says the Hollywood location is bigger and has facials and other stuff.)

I was met by Vipa, the senior massage therapist, who was a nurse in Thailand, and immediately put me at ease. She explained how it’s done, and I knew I was in good hands. When she closed the door for me to change, I noticed a bowl of chocolates for us, and somehow, that relaxed me even more.

For Thai massage, you’re not naked. They give you cute shorts and a loose halter top, for girls, and I guess just shorts for guys. I was wondering how they choose these ensembles because they had never seen me before and hadn’t ask my measurements on the phone, yet when I arrived, there was the perfect sized outfit for me. And it couldn’t have been generic because it was basically a small, so there was no way it could have fit everyone. Maybe it’s just an ancient Thai secret.

We lie on a king-sized mattress on the floor, with a blanket, and have a room heater or air-conditioning, whichever you prefer. It was the most interesting massage I’ve ever had. Vipa did a combination of normal techniques, acupressure, reflexology, and stretching. For an hour and a half! For only $65!!! She saved my back for last, and when she got to my neck on the right side, she actually giggled because the knot was so bad. She worked an extra 20 minutes on just that spot.

All massages are very individualized, so there are different oils and balms, each for a different problem. The therapists decide as they feel your needs. There’s nothing generic about it. They actually care about improving your health and not just going through the basic motions that I’ve encountered with so many other massages. It was great.

When I got dressed and went to leave, Vipa had a cup of water ready for me because you must drink a lot of it after this technique to keep the toxins flowing out. She bowed to me and walked me out, pointing me to my car because I was still in a reverie.

As I left, I thought that I can’t wait to go back for another one. The only kink in those plans is that the first massage, which was a few weeks ago, was so perfect that my back hasn’t hurt since! But don’t worry, with my hectic schedule, I’m sure the tension will creep up soon enough. Although, now that I wrote about it, the muscle memory is making me feel relaxed again. So, you won’t have to fight me for an appointment for the next few weeks.

Thai Sabai
1951 Westwood Blvd. Westwood 310-801-3912
5261 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood 323-485-2800


I had recently heard about this new Miracle Facial that’s performed at the Goddess Repair Shop in Marina Del Rey and couldn’t imagine what it was that would make people rave about it so.

Thus, in my on-going search for relaxation, I ventured down there. First of all, it’s in that funky in an old-school way area on Washington that I always thought was Venice, not MDR. I love the feeling of teen-age summers that it always invokes in me. The neighborhood is relaxing in itself. Everyone looks like hippies who have all the time in the world to hang in a café. It’s really great, and I never remember to go there on my own, so the facial was a success before it even started.

The owner is Anna Marie Colavito, a woman with great hair who looks about fifteen years younger than she is. And I never think females look so fabulous. And she hasn’t even had surgery, which just a handful of us can say nowadays. (If you’re wondering how I know that fact, besides that she told me and I believe her, no matter how good the plastic surgeon is, I can almost always spot it. Maybe it’s the Brooklyn in me.)

I didn’t get all the info, because I was trying to relax, but this isn’t a run-of-the-mill facial with masques and blemish-poppings. It’s an almost two-hour treatment with a machine called the Reparer that reads your needs and makes you look better in general. While gently rolling it over my face, Anna Marie could tell where there were build-ups of toxins, scar tissue, etc. She could even tell that I squint a lot!

I had recently interviewed a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, (it’ll be in this column in a week or two), and he agreed with my assessment that my eyes are doing great and I’m a long while away from needing an eyelid lift. But, I swear, that after my miracle Facial, they were more open and firmer! I couldn’t believe it!

Jokingly, I asked Anna Marie if she could build me a butt, something I was thrilled to be without when I was a dancer, but have wanted ever since my knees went out. I was shocked to find out that a butt lift is one of the treatments offered here! This machine does everything!

I have to tell you that it can get quite pricey with a few treatments. But, compared to what a face-lift would cost surgically, not to mention the being sedated factor, which I just can’t handle, I think this is the way to go with the body parts one’s looking to improve. It’s at least worth exploring before getting put under a knife.

Plus, you get to go out to a hippie café or cantina afterwards. Sounds like a fun time to me.

Goddess Repair Shop 3401 Pacific Avenue MDR 310-822-1947

And lastly, I’m feeling a tad like Nero, printing this column. I didn’t mean to be fiddling while much of Southern California is burning. My heart and thoughts are with everyone who is suffering during this most trying of times and I hope and pray for better days in the very near future.

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