Spa Spy: Truth Beauty & Wellness

A spa relocates to Birmingham’s Rail District
Photographs by David Lewinski

Spa-goers who fondly recall Truth Rejuvenating Center Spa & Salon on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield Township will be happy to learn that it has reopened, albeit in a different location, with a slightly different name and amended services. It’s still owned by sisters Sandra Finkelstein and Suzanne Briggs.

Now called Truth Beauty & Wellness, it’s been open since spring in the Rail District of Birmingham, on the ground floor of The District Lofts. The most notable change is that there’s no longer a hair salon, so gone are the seemingly obligatory throbbing music, whirring hair dryers, and incessant client-stylist chatter. What bliss!

Your Spa Spy never understood the attraction of a salon and spa under one roof. Although there are plenty of businesses that offer those combined services, the spa section never seems as tranquil as it ought to be. By their nature, salons are not quiet places, and the noise invariably spills into the spa areas, which are supposed to be oases of solace. It’s like a date between an Aries and a Scorpio — some things aren’t destined to work.

What’s immediately surprising when arriving at the new Truth is that there’s free street parking. In Birmingham? Well, this is well east of Woodward, far from the congested, meter-lined streets of downtown, so you don’t have to worry about feeding a meter mid-massage. And although it’s decorated in the loft-style that’s all the rage these days (high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and pipes), Truth’s pale-lavender walls, Asian statuary, orchids, Ming aralia, and jade plants soften the hard-edged loft look.

One holdover from the old Truth is veteran manicurist/pedicurist Alla, who hails from Odessa, Ukraine. Not given to idle chatter, Alla stays focused on her work. She starts with a pedicure, which, after the usual ministrations, takes on a particularly soothing turn when she applies a vanilla-sugar masque to my feet, followed by wrapping them in hot towels. After a final buff, it felt just plain wrong to put on my socks and shoes.

But it was time for a manicure, which was included gratis with the pedicure as part of a new-client special offer. What’s not to like about that? My favorite part of the manicure was simply soaking my hands in a bowl of warm water scented with frankincense and Italian mandarin. The smell is delightful; if you’re not a believer in aromatherapy, try this treatment. It’s as relaxing as a Mozart sonata after being bombarded by rap.

It had been awhile since visiting a spa, so I signed up for a massage, too. I told Mark, my masseur, what areas of tension troubled me, and then let him go to work. It ended up being a sort of a Swedish/deep-tissue combination. He had to work a lot on my traps and neck to expand my range of motion, but the effort paid off. I also liked the way he kneaded the muscles along the spine, which was a sort of a limbering-up prelude to the full-bore back massage.

With biking, walking, and tennis being my main sources of exercise, my legs get a workout, sometimes too much of one. Mark worked on my iliotibial (or IT) band — the tendon on the outside of the leg, running along the thigh to just below the knee. Runners and cyclists often complain of inflammation in this area, which causes knee pain. There’s not a whole lot of skin and fat on that part of the body, so my therapist told me massaging it might feel “weird.” It did, but my legs felt better for it.

The face is often neglected during a massage; perhaps it’s because some clients feel sensitive about it. But there’s a lot of stress that can build up, particularly around the temples. My appointment concluded with a soothing facial massage.

Truth, which espouses “inner and outer beauty,” uses natural and organic products, some of which are sold in the lobby, as is a collection of natural-stone jewelry.

If “inner and outer beauty” means just plain feeling good, this spa succeeds — and that’s the truth.

Noon-8 p.m. Tue. and Thur.; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed., Fri., and Sat. 2051 Villa, in The District Lofts, Birmingham; 248-792-5102,

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