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Michael Amsler

Best Place to Put on a New Face

A WORLD-WEARY LOCAL ATTORNEY paces in the reception area of Alles European Day Spa, waiting to kiss her caseload goodbye for an hour or so and surrender to the soothing pleasures of an "anti-stress" aromatherapy body wrap. Meanwhile, upstairs in one of the treatment rooms, an off-duty cop luxuriates in his regular shiatsu massage and deep-pore facial before returning to the harsh rigors of the beat. "Stress reduction are the key words," explains the spa's owner, Ines Scherrer, in her soft accent. "We wanted to create a little retreat, somewhere you could come for a few hours and relieve your everyday tension without having to take a trip to Hawaii." Scherrer, 42, who hails from Germany and was educated in Switzerland (she returns to Zurich annually for skin-care updates), has spent 10 years as an aesthetician in Sonoma County. True to the name of her newly opened spa (Alles meaning "all-inclusive" in German), Sherrer offers numerous services, including eight different styles of massage, eyebrow tinting, nail care, yoga classes, and the scary-sounding "manual lymphatic drainage," designed to unblock lymph nodes and strengthen the immune system. The downtown Santa Rosa spa, which is located in a remodeled Victorian, boasts a completely non-toxic environment, down to the poison-free paint on the walls. Scherrer uses plant extract-based products with no artificial chemicals or nostril-burning odors, and the sheets are 100 percent cotton.. But don't expect a formulaic chilly-white, sterile environment--Alles features a lively, warm Moroccan motif (loads of reds, oranges, golds, and greens) with exotic artwork, a fireplace, and a fountain. Scherrer and her staff also light candles, serve tea, and play recorded music for their clients. Is the music Moroccan also? we wonder. "No," replies Scherrer with a laugh. "We want to relax people--we don't want them to dance on the tables."Alles European Day Spa, 432 Orchard St., Santa Rosa; 573-3068.
--P.H.

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From the March 25-31, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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