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Healing touch

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Kelly Davall, of Saumaj Health Spa in the George Washington Hotel, gives office manager Debra Alsberry a massage. Sally Voth/Daily

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Kelly Davall gives a co-worker a chair massage at Saumaj Spa recently. Sally Voth/Daily

Health spa secret gem at George Washington Hotel

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Tucked away in a serene corner of The George Washington Hotel the tiny Saumaj Health Spa offers patrons relaxation and beautification.

The spa, which has just two treatment rooms, opened last December, managing member Kelly Davall said. She promotes the healing benefits of spa treatments.

"I really wanted to come at it from a healthful standpoint," said Davall, sitting in the spa's reception area, which is next to the hotel's Roman-bath style swimming pool in the George Washington's lower level. "If you're unstressed, if you have good health, you're going to be beautiful."

Saumaj offers a variety of massages, facials, body treatments and waxings. Davall is a certified massage therapist and body worker, and employes a second massage therapist and an esthetician. Serene and relaxing, the spa features marble and Tuscan-style accents.

She initially struggled with a name for the health spa. She knew she wanted a unique and sophisticated moniker, and got the idea for "Saumaj" while talking to a friend whose preschool-age daughter mispronounced "massage."

"Every night, she comes up to [Davall's friend], and says, 'Mommy, give me a saumaj,'" Davall sad. "I thought, 'There's the name.'"

In addition to relaxing massages, Saumaj offers ones relating to particular issues, she said. Her massage menu includes light-touch, therapeutic, deep tissue, chair, couples, sports, pregnancy, and hot-stone.

Customers can also get an abdominal massage to help with digestion, and there is a hydro-therapy massage for hotel guests. The latter includes a trip to the nearby pool or hot tub.

There is even a children's massage.

"We have had a few," Davall said of the children's massage.

Some parents get massages for their children simply for the experience, "but also, children have stress, and children have oftentimes physical issues," she said.

A variety of facials are offered, including those targeting acne, sensitive skin and aging. A partnership with an area plastic surgeon allows Saumaj to carry SkinMedica, an advanced skin care line of products, Davall said.

The Strasburg single mother graduated from the Shenandoah Valley School of Therapeutic Massage in Edinburg in 2005, and worked as a roving massage therapist treating employees at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital. She continues to do massages on Mondays at Crossroads Physical Therapy in Woodstock.

Davall then offered on-call massage therapy to guests at the George Washington, which led to the formation of the spa.

"I think more people are seeing the benefits of good skin care and massage," Davall said. "The No. 1 killer is stress. We really put a focus on health and kind of meeting people where they are, giving them what they want with some suggestions."

Both massage therapists are trained in "issue" work.

"We like to give people maybe some exercises or stretching, or things that they can take with them, so it's not just the spa experience, but maybe give them some little tips or knowledge to help their overall health," Davall said.

Office manager/receptionist Debra Alsberry was the recipient of a massage demonstration from Davall recently, one of the perks of the job. She said she thought the addition of the spa was an enhancement to an already four-star hotel.

Saumaj is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. It is on Facebook, and its website is www.saumaj.com.

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