By: Sharon Aron Baron
Money is tight these days and usually the first thing that gets crossed off woman’s nonessential list are salon services. Pedicures and manicures either disappear from the budget, or the time between appointments grow further apart.
There is a way to pamper yourself while not depleting your paycheck, and that’s by heading to a nearby beauty school for discounted services.
While walking my dog the other day, a neighbor stopped her car and told me about the American Institute of Wellness and Beauty where she had just received an 80-minute massage for only $50.
If you are a massage-lover like me, then you’d know the regular cost for just a 50-minute massage is nearly double the price. At the Red Door Spa in Weston and the Galleria Mall it is $120. A massage at the nearby Aveda spa in Coral Springs is $65. A few years ago, I signed a yearlong contract at Massage Envy, where I paid $700 upfront for 12 massages over the course of a year. I found that the contract was too prohibitive and that if I didn’t use all the massages within a year, I would lose whatever was left.
Compare those prices to a 50-minute massage at the American Institute for only $33.
The massages are given by students at the school, however if you’d prefer a LMT or Licensed Massage Therapist, then the price is only $10 more.
I had to check out this place myself so I called and scheduled a 80-minute massage under the pretense of doing research for this story.
Located in Margate, the drive was only six miles from my home in Tamarac. The school is beautiful inside and resembled a salon upon entering. The receptionist was friendly, professional and seemed very enthusiastic. I was asked to fill out a health questionnaire which is what I usually do before massage therapy on a cruise. I’ve had lower back surgery due to a herniated disc and always have to make sure that the therapist doesn’t apply too much pressure to that area.
I met with a female student who had been training at the American Institute for six months. She noticed my remarks about the lower back surgery left to consult with her instructor. While alone, I was faced with a daunting task of figuring out how to get up on the table. The instructor was tall and had set the table up high so I had to scoot a chair over to it and step up from there. She returned and told me it was her first 80-minute massage. At first, I felt bad because I didn’t want her to tire her out with such a long massage, but then convinced myself that she needed this type of practice for her license. I relaxed and continued to enjoy a long massage that I’m pretty certain I fell asleep halfway through.
For the price, it was about as good as a licensed massage. The student wasn’t chatty and although I tried to tip her, I discovered that unlicensed therapists could not accept tips. After the massage, the student asked me to fill out a quick questionnaire to rate my experience.
I found the price so enticing that with the half off rate for new customers, I only paid $25 for an 80-minute massage. I found myself perusing the other services American Institute had to offer and decided to get a pedicure, which costs only $12, or $6 for new customers.
All the services in the salon area are overseen by a licensed professional. The salon was busy with customers and the pedicure area was no exception with every station being used. The woman performing my pedicure was very friendly and did a great job. The only problem was that I was sitting in a pedicure chair that was not working properly as I could not recline or move the chair back. It seemed that all the other chairs worked well so this was the exception.
They have many other services including hair coloring, highlights, perms, braids, haircuts, waxing and facials.
To find out more about American Institute of Wellness and Beauty, go to American Institute or call 954-781-2468 for an appointment. Don’t forget to give them my name as a referral, because at these prices, I will be returning.