Friday, 08 Apr 2011, 5:05 PM EDT
Ted Koppy

ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) - When a Shelton spa suddenly shut down, customers figured they were left with useless gift cards. But after seeing News 8's story, an Orange spa has stepped up for those customers.

If anyone had a gift certificate for the now closed Simply Body Day Spa in Shelton, Inner Essence Spa in Orange wants to make sure those people get something for it.

After News 8's story aired Apr.6, about the spa suddenly closing in which prepaid Simply Body customers were locked out, Inner Essence decided to honor their gift cards for 50% of the value.

"There's a lot of fears out there with people buying gift certificates, and unfortunately it does happen, and this is just a way to get people to not have lost the complete value of the gift that they were given," says Shana McCarthy, Owner of Inner Essence Spa.

Despite the offer in Orange, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends consumers who are seeking a refund from a company that goes out of business file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection , as well as with the B.B.B.

McCarthy, who has owned Inner Essence through the last four turbulent years, can empathize with the owner of Simply Body. She says there is a better way to go out of business.

"There's no reason why you can't give some notice. A couple of months. There was a spa that closed in Hamden, actually, that gave a few months notice for people to come in and use their gift certificates, and I thought that was a really nice way to do it," says McCarthy.

McCarthy says even though this won't be a money making endeavor, she's hoping the people who come to her spa will like it so much, that they'll return.

Discover your true self at Inner Essence Spa
By: Robin E. Glowa June 18, 2009 Hersam Acorn Newspapers

There is a spa where you will finally receive the deeply relaxing and healing massage you’ve always wanted. A spa where a total health, wellness and beauty experience will touch your life in ways you never expected. At Inner Essence Spa and Wellness Center in Orange, you will find a one of a kind, highly satisfying spa experience, where you can address not only your physical well being but enhance your spiritual side as well.

Owner Shana McCarthy-Bernier envisioned a haven where clients could not only relax and unwind but also cleanse, detoxify, clarify, and beautify the body inside and out. Shana’s vision inspired her to hire the most skilled and passionate practioner’s of massage, skin care, acupuncture, nail care, and body treatments. "I’m very picky about my therapists," says Shana. "We want a certain energy and level of expertise so we can match our clients with the therapist who will best address there particular concerns. When our customers want a sports massage, a super-deep massage or a more spiritual massage, we can accommodate them.

Inner Essence is a Mecca of tranquility. Trickling fountains, creamy beige wall, soft lighting and hardwood floors lead from one room of repose to the next. Far from being an overwhelming, sterile salon experience, Inner Essence is welcoming and warm. Shana says" Many of our clients have mentioned that they love the comfort level here. They specifically say that the energy is good, and it’s not stuffy or intimidating."

All the spa services at Inner Essence include the use of robes, slippers, lockers, towels, and showers. The showers are a unique feature not always found at most spas. "Our clients love the showers!" Shana says. "I worked at a spa previously with no showers. I knew that when I designed my own spa, showers would be an essential part."

Shana is a licensed massage therapist and energy-medicine practioner, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise physiology. "Good energy" is not just a catch phrase for her but a true quest for an overall quality of life. Her spa embodies the ideals of love well, look well. The medicinal and restorative offerings at Inner Essence provide health-enhancing attributes for the whole body. By aspiring toward true wellness, clients can manifest confidence, vitality, glowing skin, and robust radiance. As Shana says, "When you discover your true self, your inner essence can shine through."

Therapeutic massage helps to restore the flow of good energy throughout the body. Shana and her staff offer an amazing array of massage treatments. Among the more distinctive offerings is Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, a variation of an ancient form of barefoot massage. (The therapist is suspended form a bar attached to the ceiling.) Shana recommends this massage for those who have gotten massages that are never deep enough. Using the feet for a portion of this massage allows for a very deep stretching of the muscles, according to Shana. "It is not painful, "she said. "The feet are broad and the width of the feet pulls and stretches in such a way that the deepness sneaks in. People often can’t speak, they release so deeply."

Raindrop therapy utilizes 12 organic, undiluted, 100 %- pure essential oils, which are dripped along the spine like little drops of rain. This treatment is antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial and helps to detoxify the entire body while providing particularly effective relief for back pain.

Myofascial Release will target the fascia, which support and stabilize muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. This massage will help the muscles feel longer, looser and livelier. Shana says, "You can’t go wrong with any one of these massage treatments."

"Our couple’s massages have become very popular, "she says. "Couples are able to enjoy any of our treatments side by side in the comfort of our Garden of Eden room."

This beautiful room has a charming fireplace, big potted palms, light streaming in through a big bay window, and the relaxing sound of water flowing from a copper fountain. What a spectacular way to celebrate each other.

Beauty treatments at Inner Essence utilize the finest products and are administered by highly skilled professionals. "Our aesthetician’s are always educating themselves on the newest techniques and products, "says Shana. "I have really done my homework with experts so that I can offer a line of skin care and beauty products that really work, and the price is reasonable.

"I pride myself on offering high quality services at reasonable prices," Shana continues. "Good value is always important and even more so in this current economy. We customize packages and also offer spa memberships with discounted pricing."

One’s health is a vitally important investment. Reducing stress levels with a pampering, therapeutic facial, a manicure, a pedicure, an organic sugar scrub, or a body wrap will stimulate the body and soul. Acupuncture, reflexology, energy healing or ionic foot detox’s will take the healing process even further. Shana will also be offering group meditation in the near future, and recommends checking her Web site at for news of upcoming events.

Inner Essence is a fantastic spot for parties, baby or wedding showers, and girls' or guys' night out. A gift certificate for any one of the deeply satisfying treatments is a wonderful gesture with long-lasting benefits.

Begin your journey toward ultimate wellness with a visit to Inner Essence Spa.

Appointments can be made 7 days a week by calling 203-795-4170

Inner Essence Spa and Wellness Center is located at 311 Racebrook Road in Orange

New Haven Advocate October 8, 2008
Proactive Resources Presents New Have’s finest 08’ Top 12
Best kept secret in Orange

As nature replenishes the earth with essential elements like sunlight and rain, our bodies and souls must also be replenished. The team at Inner Essence Spa and Wellness works closely with women & men to design a style that is specific to the individual.

Services at Inner Essence Spa & Wellness are unique. They include therapeutic facials, manicures/pedicures, nail treatments for men, body waxing, makeup application, body treatments such as Yoga, 1:1 Pilates, acupuncture & energy healing as well as a wide variety of private & couples massage therapies that include Ashiatsu Oriental Bar therapy (ancient form of deep-tissue barefoot massage) & Raindrop Therapy (a treatment that supports the immune system while relieving back pain & inflammation). They are proud of the top-of-the-line, environmentally responsible products that they carry. Facials & body treatment are an important part of the regimen at Inner Essence Spa & Wellness. The primary focus of every team member is to make each client feel welcomed and appreciated when they visit. Contact them about hosting private parties, spa packages and gift certificates.