Truckee massage, spray tan studio ‘gets the blood moving’ |

Truckee massage, spray tan studio ‘gets the blood moving’

Jenny Goldsmith
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — In a community where extreme athletes reign and the not-so-extreme still rank above average by anyone's standards, it's no wonder alternative medicine practices thrive in Truckee and the Tahoe Basin.

"We live in a place where people recognize the importance in taking care of their body no matter what their athletic ability is," said Donna Schnitzius, owner of Donna's Massage and Spray Tan Studio in Truckee.

Schnitzius has been practicing massage in Truckee for over 14 years, and specializes in deep tissue, sports, prenatal and Swedish massage, in addition to spray tanning and ear candling services.

"Massage isn't just for pampering – there are so many other health benefits," Schnitzius said.

“I want to help people with their pain and discomfort because seeing people walk out of here with a smile on their face

— that’s what makes it all worth it.”
Donna Schnitzius

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As an integral part of preventative medicine, the benefits of massage can include pain and headache relief, increased joint mobility, stress reduction, improved circulation, better sleep and relaxation, and it can boost the immune system.

"Deep tissue work really gets the blood moving, and that can help move toxins through the body," Schnitzius said.


Schnitzius opened her new studio nearly six months ago after her former employer, Sierra Cosmetic Laser, closed its doors earlier this year.

The location on Palisades Drive is a quiet, relaxing space nestled in the hillside above Blue Coyote, and Schnitzius' old clients are slowly making their way to her, but the move hasn't been without its struggles.

"I love this space, but it's not that visible from the road so it's been a bit of a slow transition," said Schnitzius, her deep blue eyes gazing out the window at the towering pines that shield the front entrance — a feature of the location that is both serene yet inhibiting. "I'm hoping my clients find me in time for the holidays."

To help spread the word, Schnitzius has created gift certificates to take the guesswork out of holiday shopping, and she's offering a local's coupon with discounts on her massage and spray tanning services.

"I want to help people with their pain and discomfort because seeing people walk out of here with a smile on their face — that's what makes it all worth it," Schnitzius said.


Schnitzius grew up in the Bay Area, where she worked as a teacher at a Montessori school in San Rafael until changes in her husband's career led the family to relocate to Truckee.

"My husband found a job in Truckee when my son was 3 years old, and we thought this would be a great place to raise a family, so we picked up and moved," she said.

The new residence inspired Schnitzius to explore alternative career options for herself. She knew wanted a schedule that allowed her to spend more time with her husband and son, but she was burnt out on the day-to-day routine of teaching.

"I've always been a pretty nurturing person, and massage gave me a way to fulfill my desire to help people," she said. "It has been such a rewarding career for me."

Schnitzius received her massage therapist certification at the renowned Healing Arts Institute in Roseville.

Since then, she's been moving through several different massage locations in Truckee, but said she hopes this new location will provide a permanent home for her business.

"I'm hoping to grow my clientele enough that I can stay in one place for a while," Schnitzius said.


In addition to massage and spray tanning, Schnitzius provides ear candling services, an alternative medicine practiced by Native Americans and Egyptians that naturally and painlessly removes excess wax from the ear, helping clear sinus infections and wax buildup.

Her interest in the practice spawned from wanting to help her son's chronic ear and sinus problems. After witnessing the benefits first-hand, Schnitzius began to integrate ear candling into her list of services.

"I have clients who use this service seasonally, and have not had a sinus infection since," Schnitzius said.

As Schnitzius continues to work through the knots of her new business venture, one thing remains certain: She's determined to continue providing pain and stress relief to others.

"There's nothing more rewarding than making people feel good, whether it's through deep tissue, or ear relief, or by giving clients a beautiful glow," Schnitzius said. "It really is the best feeling in the world to watch a client leave in a happier, healthier state than when they arrived."

Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at

More info

What: Donna’s Massage & Spray Tan Studio

Address: 10059 Palisades Drive, Suite 3, Truckee

Phone: 530-550-1000