With the demands of our ultra-modern work, family and social lives, it is often difficult to find the time to relax and decompress after a stressful week.
Alonda Nichols believes that more people should take the time to care for their bodies and their minds by enjoying some well-earned rest and relaxation, and after 18 years of working in the spa industry, she has recently opened her own shop called The Thymeless Apothecary in St. Jacobs.
“A lot of time people won’t go [to a spa] until they get a gift certificate, and then they’re kind of forced into it,” admits Nichols, whose store is located in the upper level of 1369 King St.
N. in the heart of downtown.
“But then after that it might be something they think about doing on a regular basis, but it’s still very difficult for a number of people.”
At The Thymeless Apothecary, Nichols will provide everything customers might need to create their own spa experience at home. From rich body butter to scented candles and therapeutic bath salts, Nichols has you covered.
This is not her first time running her own spa and boutique, either. Nichols owned and operated Healing Roots Spa in Cambridge for 11 years before deciding to downsize and move to a new location, going from 4,500 square feet in Cambridge to just 900 in St. Jacobs.
And after nearly two decades in the spa industry and two certifications in aromatherapy under her belt, the former schoolteacher from Kitchener has developed a deeper understanding of what customers are looking for, and aims to please at her new location.
Her store features custom blends of sea salts and essential oils to match problem or desire a customer might have, from trouble sleeping to post-workout relaxation using salts that are brought from around the globe and into your bathroom.
“We have Dead Sea salts from Israel, Bolivian salt from the Andes, salt from the Mediterranean, French salt, and Himalayan salt,” explained Nichols. “They all have specific properties. They detoxify or relax muscle tension, and I custom blend whatever fragrance they want. I kind of play around a little and it’s fun.”
The Thymeless Apothecary also offers a specialized facial treatment to help tone, tighten and hydrate the face for age-defying results. Nichols offers one hour, 90-minute, and one-hour-and-45-minute treatments. Customers can also opt for a half-hour massage and a half-hour facial package, or 40 minutes of reflexology administered by Nichols herself.
Also known as ‘zone therapy,’ reflexology is an alternative medicine that involves the physical act of applying pressure to feet, hand or ears with hand techniques with the aim of creating physical changes in the body.
All of these treatments will be as holistic and natural as possible, an important feature for Nichols.
“People are very concerned with holistic and organic and natural,” she said. “I get that asked all the time; ‘What is in the product? Is it natural? Are there preservatives?’ and that sort of thing.
“Customers are more savvy, certainly.”
By removing those artificial preservatives and chemicals, however, her products tend to have a shorter shelf life and Nichols suggests replacing them every six months or as necessary. She buys soaps and oils that contain naturally occurring ingredients such as vitamin E or wheat germ, a natural preservative.
“It is difficult, because we do to some extent need some preservatives in the products otherwise they will go quite rancid quite quickly. Unless you refrigerate your products you are going to have to use them up much faster.”
As a former teacher, Nichols laughs when she admits that her experience in stressful situations helps her relate with her clients a little better and to understand what they might be looking for.
She hopes that more people will take the time to treat themselves, to listen to their bodies and just relax, particularly with the busy lives we all lead these days. She says that the health benefits of taking some ‘me’ time are too simple to ignore.
“Well, mentally you can decompress and from there lessen your muscle tension and from there you can lower your blood pressure and that can help with digestive issues.
“And with reflexology – even though nothing is proven – in a lot of cases it can provide some temporary relief.”
For Nichols, there is no greater feeling than seeing a customer go home relaxed and rejuvenated.
“There is something very rewarding about the end of a treatment and how people feel really good and relaxed after. With all the stress in the world it’s nice to just give them the time away from their troubles.”