Gahanna Girl Meets Thrive Massage and Wellness


Visit Gahanna (Gahanna Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau) sent Emily, our  Communications Assistant, out to investigate Thrive Massage and Wellness, a new local business. She returned later that afternoon looking relaxed, feeling rested, smelling of floral notes and causing the rest of us to immediately go book appointments. (“I’ll have what she’s having.”) As one of the most recent additions to Gahanna’s Herbal Trail, Thrive offers Amita Herbal Body Wraps, Lavender Sugar Scrubs, Body Creams and Bath Salts. (Pssst… mention this post and pay only the disounted member rate for your first experience.)  Here’s Emily’s account of her first (“but definitely not the last”) visit to Thrive …


Take care of yourself: the most challenging piece of advice I’ve ever been given. In today’s 24/7 world, it’s hard to find time to take even a 5 minute break, let alone time to take care of your body. In days filled with stressful meetings, rush hour traffic, and questionable food (I’m looking at you, Chicken Chalupa), personal wellness seems more like fantasy than reality—because let’s be honest, at the end of a long day, the last thing any of us want to do is go to the gym.

D2522E99-C4B1-4C1B-B01E-C43AA21B0F4EThis was the mindset I had when I first walked into Thrive Massage & Wellness to interview Susan Reiser, CEO. Of course, I had read about Thrive’s Sunlighten® saunas prior to our discussion, but I hadn’t fully understood how it worked. She explained their saunas offer full spectrum infrared heat to warm up your body’s core to a cellular level, which both detoxifies and stimulates metabolic activity.

If that confuses you like it did me, think about it this way: when you are sick, your body reacts by going into a fever condition. The fever causes a hotter body, which kills unwanted intruders and stimulates the release of toxins, helping you to feel better faster. Essentially, these saunas are recreating the same condition by raising your core body temperature, making you feel better from the inside-out.


Intrigued, I listened more to what Susan had to share, until she stopped to ask, “Want to give it a try?” (Cue flashbacks to the gym that I joined a while back, and the awkward experiences with fellow gym-goers who were a little too free in the steam sauna, if you know what I mean.) Understandably, I was a little nervous. Yet, I had been struggling with a cough and cold for most of the week, so perhaps this was just what I needed!

This is Not Your Average Sauna

I slipped into my spa ensemble (white robe and flip flops) and headed back out to my personal, pre-heated sauna—no uncomfortable gym experiences here. As I stepped into the wood-lined room, Susan showed me the settings on the wall.

She had selected Detoxification as my program, though there were several more to choose from, including Cardio, Pain Relief, Relaxation, Weight-loss, Skin Health, as well as a Custom option. She showed me the stereo system in the sauna, which could be adjusted to suit my own musical tastes (there was even smooth jazz—my favorite!), as well as the unique lights that utilize chromotherapy.

Chromotherapy is the science of using colors to adjust body vibrations to frequencies, balancing the 7 color spectrum that our bodies need to live.

Susan set my color to “Strong Blue,” a color that lubricates joints and articulations, addresses infections, stress and nervous tension. Moments later, I was ready to melt away into blissfulness.


The screen in my sauna displayed a countdown clock, informing me how much time I had left in my session. It read, “37 minutes,” and I began to worry. Am I going to be able to sit here that long? I usually only last 10 minutes in the steam sauna at the gym! A few minutes later, I realized I had nothing to worry about. After all, this was not your average sauna.

I was the epitome of coziness as I leaned up against the black, mesh-covered heaters. I hardly noticed that the temperature had risen to a balmy 132 degrees. 25 minutes into my session, I finally began to feel sweat beading up across my forehead and my body. I looked again at the clock. I had 12 minutes left to enjoy the relaxation in my own little paradise and that was exactly what I intended to do. I rested my head back against the nook of the corner, and restfully shut my eyes.

A Massage that Fixed Problems I Never Knew I Had

Following my sauna, I met with Tammy Brady, my massage therapist for the afternoon. Before getting started, she asked whether I had any areas that were causing me trouble. Moments later, after a few more questions and a brief description of her style, we got started.

Tammy skillfully worked from head to toe, deftly finding knots and pains and alleviating any remaining tightness. The sauna, which had warmed and relaxed all of my muscles and joints, had perfectly primed me for this massage. I was completely “zenned-out.” I may have even dosed off once or twice. Because my muscles were so well heated, Tammy was able to work more deeply into the tissue, reaching and relieving tension I didn’t even know I had.


I didn’t want my time at Thrive Massage & Wellness to end, but reality awaited me. As I headed back into the locker room to freshen up, I felt more than just relaxed—I felt centered, balanced, and calm. My time both in the sauna and on the massage table had given a feeling that I hadn’t had in a long time: renewal.

As I headed out into the lobby, I reminded myself of the piece of advice I’d frequently been given: take care of yourself. At Thrive, I was able to do just that. My trip was certainly more than just a spa treatment; it was a step towards finally living a healthy life—without the crowded gym workout or scaring locker room experiences. I had done something that was beneficial for my personal wellness, and it felt sooo good. So the next time that I realize I’m not taking care of myself the way I should be? You can bet that I’ll be scheduling in Thrive time on my calendar, and I can’t wait to go back.

To learn more about Gahanna’s Herbal Trail, many attractions, restaurants, hotels, parks and events, check out