Spa Review: ESP Wellness Center – Santa Monica, CA.

January 19, 2012 | | Comments 2

I recently visited ESP Wellness Center in Santa Monica and I was very impressed with the treatments and the wonderful energy of the entire facility. My favorite massage therapist, Michael Canvin, invited me to ESP Wellness Center for a hot stone massage. I couldn’t wait to get another massage with Michael and I had never had a hot stone massage with him, so I was really looking forward to that. Just as I expected, Michael’s massages are always the absolute best. I was also invited by Parvati Shallow, co-founder of the Wellness center with co-founder Erika Shay, to experience my first Reiki session with her. From the moment you enter ESP Wellness Center, you feel a very positive and healing energy. Erika and Parvati want you to leave their facility with a smile on your face and feeling energized. They strive to guide all of their clients into a strong, positive and healing place in their lives. Aside from both of these ladies being absolutely lovely, they are brave and tenacious women who care very much about helping to improve the lives of their clients and pass on as much positive energy as they can. And they do! I had a long conversation with both of them after my treatments and I found them both to be very thoughtful and genuinely caring women. When I left the facility that day, I left looking forward to my next visit. They generously invited me to come back for a breath work class and for a private session in their infrared sauna.

ESP Wellness Center

The menu of services at ESP Wellness Center includes: massage, Reiki, nutritional counseling, private sessions in their infrared sauna, guided meditation, breath work and some very fun fitness classes. Their menu for fitness classes includes: pilates, yoga, boxing training, suspension training, trampoline classes, and a class that I’m very excited to attend at some point…Inner Child. The Inner Child class is all about releasing your inner child, while getting a fun workout. This class playfully includes hula hoops, jump ropes, trampolines, hop scotch, parachutes and more. It sounds like a blast! I can’t wait to try it. I think this class would be great for getting a group of your friends together for a super fun activity, while getting a great workout and having a laugh. ESP Wellness Center offers private sessions, two or three person shared sessions, and semi-private group fitness classes. They offer more services than I’m mentioning, and I highly recommend that you visit ESP to check out all they have to offer.

ESP Wellness Center

On the day that I visited ESP Wellness Center, I went for the hot stone massage with Michael and Reiki with Parvati. I have had hot stone massages before, but Michael Canvin always takes every massage to a different and higher level. Check out this pic of me on Michael’s massage table with hot stones placed on my body and hot stones in between my toes. There were many more hot stones placed on and under my body than what you can see in this picture.

Michael Canvin ESP Wellness Center

I absolutely loved Michael’s placement of the hot stones. It felt so healing and relaxing. Michael explained why and where he placed the hot stones on my body and explained to me that because the stones are earthy, they are very grounding. At the very beginning of my session with Michael, he placed hot stones under my body, for me to lie down on. This may sound like it could be uncomfortable, to lie on top of hot stones, but it was extremely relaxing. The stones that Michael placed between my toes were also very relaxing. Perfect placement!

Michael Canvin: “I placed the chakra stones on the front of your body on chakra areas. And on your back, I made a spinal layout with the stones. The stones run along the spine, not on the spine but next to the spine. It really relaxes the back muscles so that they are prepared for when you turn around and I work on your back. They are warm and soft and it’s a very relaxing feeling to have those stones. (Along with the stones that Michael placed between my toes, he also placed hot stones in my hands) The benefit with hot stones is that they are a warm-up for your body, in a way.”

Massages are never predictable with Michael. We talked a lot about going deeper in a massage and the benefit of slower movement by the massage therapist. Michael explained to me that there are some people who have trouble letting go during a massage, they are resistant. When you completely surrender to a massage, the benefit is much greater. During my massage, when Michael was working deeper with my muscles, he guided me with my breathing through his movements. It was such a powerful massage. In his healing hands, I completely surrender. And, in doing so, the benefits I get from the massage are much greater. While it was an amazing massage, Michael also gave me what felt like a truly healing experience. I will always go back to him. If I could, I would schedule a massage with him every week. Honestly, I’ve yet to find anyone who is on Michael’s level when it comes to massage. He works on a level that is high above anyone else that has ever worked on my body.

Michael Canvin: “I often see the body as an instrument, and I find new tunes every time I work with someone. No massage is the same. I don’t want it to be predictable. I never get tired of learning about the body and how to work on it. So, it’s a constant new flow.”

I can’t recommend booking a massage with Michael enough. I previously wrote on My Skin Affair that Michael is my favorite massage therapist but, I have to say, I think this hot stone massage that I had with Michael was even more impressive than when I first wrote that he was my favorite. He’s that good! If I could, I would treat everyone that I love to a massage with Michael.

When I listened back to the chat I had with Michael after my massage, I had to laugh at myself. In the recoding of our chat, I sounded like I was in a completely different world than I was in before my session with Michael. I was SO relaxed that my voice had lowered a few octaves and I was talking very slowly. My normal pattern of speech can be a bit fast, sometimes too fast. After my massage with Michael, I sounded like I was half asleep, in a state of deep relaxation. His hot stone massage put me in such a relaxed state that I felt like I had let go of tension in my body that I didn’t even realize was there. Michael truly took away my tension and stress and my body felt like it was floating. I felt so much lighter. I could go on for days about how skilled of a massage therapist Michael is and how healing his massages are. Just do yourself a favor, and treat your body to an hour with Michael Canvin if you can. Your body will thank you.

ESP Wellness Center

After my session with Michael, I joined Parvati Shallow for a Reiki session. I had never had Reiki before my experience with Parvati. I was very curious about it and really looking forward to a new experience, as I always look forward to new therapies and treatments for my body. I didn’t know much about Reiki, so I asked Parvati to explain to me what Reiki actually is.

Parvati Shallow: “Reiki is a light touch energetic healing process. You are fully clothed when you have a Reiki session, you’re lying down and the therapist works as a channel for energy. The universal energy of healing comes through the therapists body and out through their hands. When I practice Reiki on a client, I’ll feel the points and go through their body (she does this with the light touch of her hands) and I’ll find knee energies, ankle injuries, stomach problems, headache issues (issues that she wasn’t told about by the client prior to their Reiki session) and I feel that in my body. It’s interesting and I really enjoy it because you have this connection with your client and when I sense those areas that need a little bit more energy, a little more healing…I’ll stay on them for a second and send some extra love.”

ESP Wellness Center

For the amount of time that I was actually awake for my Reiki session with Parvati, I found it to be very relaxing. I’m not sure if it was the killer combo of Michael’s massage with Parvati’s Reiki, or the fact that I was new to Reiki and, therefore, very affected by it. But I was so relaxed that I briefly fell asleep while Parvati was working on my body. I actually prefer to stay awake during relaxing treatments so that I can be present for how wonderful my body feels. But, on this particular day, I don’t think I had a chance of staying awake. I had reached a state of relaxation that is almost too difficult to describe. After my Reiki session, Parvati shared with me the areas of my body where she felt different types of energy, even telling me where she thinks I might need to do some healing work on myself. That’s when she invited me to one of her breath work classes, thinking that I would benefit from it and that her breath work class could possibly help me to get in touch with certain areas of my body that need a bit more love and healing. It was a great experience.

I completely believe in and support what Erika Shay and Parvati Shallow are doing at ESP Wellness Center. I will most definitely be going back to take Parvati and Erika up on their offer for me to experience their infrared sauna and experience Parvati’s breath work class. I’m also really looking forward to the Inner Child class that they offer. I had a truly great experience at ESP Wellness Center. It was relaxing, healing, inspiring, welcoming and warm.

Thank you so much to Michael Canvin, Parvati Shallow and Erika Shay for a wonderful afternoon. I will see you all again very soon!

ESP Wellness Center

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  1. DaveG says:

    You’ve well-captured the ESP Wellness Center experience.

    Reiki with Parvati was for me just as you described it. I, too, briefly fell asleep. As a several-decades devote of massage in many forms, including Reiki, I’d never fallen asleep before. While I was a bit embarrassed by it, Parvati only laughed ever-so-lightly and said it was a compliment to her technique. I could not agree more. If I didn’t live on the east coast, I’d be a weekly regular client at ESP Wellness.

  2. Rose says:

    Dearest Joanna,

    Just “surfed” and stumbled over this article.
    What a warm sensation reading about your “connection” with Michael left me with.
    Certainly, Michael is a master, and he is so very missed here in Denmark.
    We have travelled many roads together. Might be Michaeel started as my student. But he already had the gift and understanding of my teachings inside him, before w eever met.
    Michael and I share a dream – presenting our shared life passion, LomiLomi, to you folks in California.
    The touch and knowledge of LomiLomi is Michael´s special essence.
    So don´t miss it!



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