If this blizzard has got you feeling cold and dry and itchy or if you’re still looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, drive on down to Skincare and Wellness on the Thames and let owner Paula Widstrom put all your concerns to rest.
Widstrom has a double major in relaxation as a licensed esthetician and certified reflexologist. The Pawcatuck native and Stonington High grad replanted her roots in Gales Ferry 29 years ago and has been doing business here since 1997.
She said she started off as Reflexology on the Thames, which didn’t really catch on at the time.
“We just couldn’t build a market for it,” she said of the uncommon therapy. “They weren’t ready for it.”
So, ever the innovator, Widstrom decided that if she could offer “a hook” like facials then she could draw more customers.
“It was in that journey that I found my true passion,” she said.
She said the facials helped her hold onto the relaxation element she liked about reflexology but the science behind skin treatments was what hooked her.
And so, after lots of training and education, she opened Skincare and Wellness on the Thames in 2004. It’s a day spa located on Long Cove Road at Route 12 in Gales Ferry that offers a variety of facials for relaxation and skin treatments for client’s personal needs.
So, tell me about Skin and Wellness on the Thames?
Widstrom said her facial and relaxation treatments begin with an in-depth skin analysis and lifestyle evaluation.
“I don’t use a one-sized fits-all system, here,” she said. “I’m a little different here.”
My clients are women and men of all different ages. She said she has a lot of “Sandwich generation” clients and others who have high levels of stress.
“I like to provide a place for women to drop their stresses and meet their skincare needs,” she said.
How do you do that?
Widstrom gears her menu to have enough time to delivery the treatments. She said that the personalized time and service is one of the things that sets her apart in the industry.
“There’s no rush here,” she said. “Each client is afforded time to relax.”
The quality of time is not the only thing that makes Skin and Wellness on the Thames special. Widstrom also custom blends the products she uses during treatment and products her clients can take home in between facials.
She said the take-home products are “much more targeted approach to personal skin care” and that they’re custom blended with 100 percent natural, pesticide-free botanicals.
“My products render results, they’re very results driven and performance based.”
Widstrom said her client retention rate is high because her products are so successful.
How does Reflexology work?
Widstrom said there are 7,200 nerve endings in our feet that correspond with various areas of the body. She said proper pressure in the appropriate order delivers a state of relaxation and delivers oxygen to the corresponding areas of the body.
She said she has more male clients for reflexology than for facials but lately, more men have been requesting facial treatment to remain competitive in their jobs. She said they’re “just trying to maintain their youth and keep their jobs until retirement.”
Widstrom has a postgraduate degree from the International Dermal Institute and continues to train and learn more as the industry changes.
What’s your most popular facial?
The Best of Both Worlds, a 90-minute treatment that includes a double deep pore cleansing, exfoliation, extractions (if you wish), and a customized masque accompanied by a soothing European Style Massage. Plus, the treatment also includes a customized moisturizer to protect your skin, a Shiatsu acupressure massage and your choice of foot reflexology or scalp massage.
Why Gales Ferry?
Widstrom said that she’s happy doing business in Gales Ferry because it’s so quiet. It’s a place where women can go “and forget all about the outside world for an hour and a half.” She said her husband helped her install a soundproof wall around the treatment area.
What are the best and worst things people do to their skin?
The worst thing people do, she said, is buy over the counter products and change them all the time, “so they’re using products that are not synergistically designed to be used with the other products.”
The best thing, of course, they take time to care for their skin. She said people should definitely go to a licensed skin care therapist and should comply with the instructions given. And at the very least, do their nighttime routine.