Relax in Your Slacks

Downtown Kansas City can be a stress-inducing place, between work woes in the high-rises and parking problems on the traffic-jammed streets. But downtown’s Jinsei Center, the new ground-floor anchor of the Opera House Lofts Building on the corner of Broadway and 10th Street, might be the area’s most relaxing lunch-hour stop. Visitors can overcome their arachnophobia, inhale therapeutic scents or cure their lingering maladies (cold, hangover) with specially prepared elixirs, all without leaving the skyscrapers’ shadows.

The Jinsei Center puts an innovative twist on the smoothie-bar-and-spa formula. In addition to the usual fruit blends, its tonics contain exotic ingredients such as Chinese peony and fleece flower. Its massage menu includes Chinese cupping, which involves the use of bell-shaped suction devices on pressure points. And hypnotherapy, hardly a health-club fixture, is an essential element.

“It might seem strange to some people, but I just got back from Los Angeles and there’s a place like this on every corner,” says Harley Sears, Jinsei’s owner and hypnotherapy specialist. Sears uses subliminal suggestions, encouraging the entranced to stop smoking or to give up junk food. (Apparently, wellness-obsessed hypnotists aren’t interested in excavating suppressed memories or causing clients to cluck like chickens.)

The tonic bar has a cozy residential feel, with a kitchen-style layout. Yet the sounds of the city are never far away, especially during the daytime. “It might not be our ideal market, but I like the atmosphere,” Sears says. “When a truck whizzes by my window, I find myself apologizing, but my clients almost never notice. They’re totally focused on my voice and their goals, and they block out everything else.”

At first, Sears predicts, curious walk-ins will head straight to the tonic bar or the small art space. “It can be intimidating at first, like walking into a physician’s office,” he says. But doctors seldom present options as tempting as a hot-stone massage or a honeysuckle-mint drink.

Daily shots of the ginseng-powered Depth Recharger might just be the most organic way to rejuvenate downtown — one office worker at a time.