Welcome Anna- our new blogger! Reporting on the Walk In Wellness Clinic......
Welcome to the Clinic & meet each therapist one by one- as Anna reports her personal experience.
Welcome to the Clinic & meet each therapist one by one- as Anna reports her personal experience.
Walk In Wellness Clinic
From the outside, Studio de la Luz looks bigger than it is; when you walk through the door, it’s clear this colorful and carefully decorated space takes up only part of the building you see from the street. But there’s plenty of room for setting up treatment tables, and if you can spare half an hour or so between 10 and 4 on Tuesdays, you can taste the talents of local healers for the price of a modest donation.
The weekly Tuesday Walk-in Wellness Clinic hosted by Studio de la Luz in the historic Hot Springs District of downtown Truth or Consequences offers community members a convenient opportunity for a treatment session short enough to fit into your lunch hour. And if you enjoy it as much as I did, you may just decide to put it on your calendar as a regular gig.
When I arrive, there’s an open massage table, and two other clients are already receiving the ministrations of skilled therapists. These aren’t private sessions, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that the low-key atmosphere, complete with soft background music, damped down my awareness of sharing the space with others.
Under the competent hands of a therapist, the tension drains out of me, and the atmosphere in Studio de la Luz feels supportive in all the best ways: the music is soft and soothing, clients sigh in pleasure, and conversations are low. Outside sounds are muted, turning this little studio into an insulated arena where talented givers and grateful takers can interact.
And I’m happy to be on the receiving end of a wonderful massage: the therapist working on me specializes in acupressure and muscle release. I do my share of sighing, and by the time I get off the table thirty minutes after my arrival, my shoulders have quit reaching for my ears. I’m in no hurry to slip back into my regular routine. And the bonus is that it seems I’m breathing more easily and deeply than before I walked through the door.
The range of modalities offered by local therapists is truly impressive. Clients might enjoy a reflexology treatment to make the feet feel spry again, get an energetic tune-up with craniosacral work or acupressure, or simply experience the relief of surrendering to strong and competent hands those muscles and soft tissues challenged by getting through each day.
With a suggested minimum donation of $15, the Walk-in Wellness Clinic is a bargain designed to make alternative wellness services affordable for those who might not have the budget for hands-on treatments like these.
Take it from me, it’s worth your time and money to make a point of walking in to the Studio de la Luz next Tuesday and checking it out.
Julia Masaoka LMT- Massage Therapist/ Cranial Sacral Therapy
The low-volume Native American flute music playing when I walk in the door at Studio de la Luz kicks off my personal relaxation process. I see someone else getting what I would usually call a foot rub, but I suspect it’s more likely to be a reflexology treatment.
Julia Masaoka’s table is free, so I don’t need to wait. Julia is a licensed massage therapist who is also certified in CranioSacral Therapy. She originally learned massage in the 80s, and returned to school to get further training later; at this point, she has more than thirty years of experience as a bodyworker.
After going back and forth between Asheville, North Carolina and Truth or Consequences for a few years, Julia now lives here full-time, and says her work at the Wellness Clinic is a blessing on multiple levels.
She asks me if there’s anything she should know about what’s going on with my body before inviting me to lie face-down on the massage table.
Then, despite my mentioning only the stiffness in my lower back, in a very short time, she discovers the tightness I carry between my shoulder blades. Gently and firmly, she works the area until the muscles begin to release their tension.
As the session goes on, Julia’s massage encourages more tight, tense muscles to uncoil. Her hands move expertly over my skin and soft tissues, working where my neck meets my shoulders, giving my upper arms light and soothing pressure before she spends some welcome moments helping my lower back to remember what it feels like to “let go.”
She’s especially careful working with my neck, which turns out to be another spot in dire need of attention; if you’re like me, you may have become an expert at ignoring your body’s signals that it would welcome a helping hand or two. Using a technique called “Polarity,” she systematically eases the knots in soft tissue around the cervical spine, facilitating a better balance from side to side.
Julia’s an expert at coaxing out the jangly energy, and I do my part by focusing on allowing the release of tension. She tops it off with a few minutes of CranioSacral work at the end of the session. Julia says this will help balance CranioSacral fluid, leading to a relaxing effect the nervous system, something I know I need.
Later, I find out CranioSacral Therapy can help banish headaches, improve learning disabilities, decrease neck or back pain, relieve sciatica and TMJ, as well as a long list of other potential benefits. And it’s incredibly soothing; if you’ve ever found yourself rubbing the back of your neck and noticing tension in the neck and shoulders, you may want to check out this type of therapy.
Julia tells me to take my time sitting up. I move slowly, fighting the urge to yawn; soon, there is no resisting, and for the next few minutes after my massage, I am overtaken by yawn after yawn. All the tasks that seemed urgent to accomplish this afternoon slip down on the priority list, and suddenly the most important thing is this pleasant reconnection with my body. After all, it’s my best friend, and it’s much happier after Julia’s massage.
“I enjoy helping people feel better,” says Julia. “And the camaraderie with other therapists is uplifting.”
It’s easy to see what she means. The little studio feels saturated with calm energy, and I toy with the idea that there is a synergistic healing effect of several gifted professionals working with clients at the same time, in the same place. I like the sound of my theory, and I encourage you to test it out by walking into the Wellness Clinic next Tuesday.
#3 Teina Wells LMT Massage Therapy/ Asian Fusion Bodywork
Last week I invited you to share my experiences at Studio de la Luz Tuesday Walk-In Wellness Clinic, which is open from 10 to 5 weekly. I arrive a little before 3, and under the first-come, first-serve rule, I land on Teina Wells’ table. Reading over the long list of skills she’s gathered over decades as a holistic health practitioner, I feel certain I’ll be in good hands.
Originally trained at Mueller College of Holistic Studies in San Diego, Teina has a generous deck of cards to pull from in serving clients. She is well-versed in Eastern healing arts, including traditional Asian bodywork. Teina uses a variety of modalities, such as acupressure, Spinal Touch, pain relief methods, full body Swedish massage, and myofascial release, to name a few.
“I’ve trained in so many different modalities, I can’t even remember where I learned what any more. I draw a bit from this and bit from that, mixing it up to get what feels right in the moment with each client,” says Teina.
I settle on the table, face up, wondering how it will feel to receive a treatment in a room with several other people occupying it already, and no telling if more clients might walk through the door any minute. In the past, I’ve only had private massage therapy sessions, which this is definitely not.
But it’s simple to start with a focus on the practiced touch of competent hands holding my head. Within a few minutes, Teina’s expertise has emptied my mind of any concerns about sharing the space with other clients and therapists. It feels like she has somehow drawn an invisible privacy curtain around us, and I close my eyes in pleasurable anticipation of what might come next.
Though I could never single out any of the techniques Teina uses to accomplish this, the tension in my jaw begins to decrease almost immediately. Did I have any idea how tight my jaw was? No. But I can surely feel the changes as they take place.
Next I get some attention to my scalp and temples, and then the base of my skull. By the time she reaches the spot where neck meets shoulders, I’m getting a bit drowsy. I can still hear the soft and calming music in the background, and ever-so-faintly, traffic passing by on the street, but it’s laughably easy to tune that out, along with the muted conversations around me.
I don’t usually think about the strain of everyday activity on fingers or toes, but it’s a relief to feel Teina working each digit over lightly and quickly, and my wrists and ankles get the benefit of her touch, too. At her request, I turn over, thinking that the part where she works on my back will be the best.
And it’s wonderful. Teina moves her talented hands along my spine, lingering in the places where tightness tends to build up in me. Anyone who spends hours on the computer knows how that spot between the shoulder blades can get, and whatever blend of modalities she applies is blissfully effective: my skin fairly tingles as the chronic stiffness drains out of my tissues.
But I can’t say for certain that the work on my back was the best of it; in fact, I’m not sure there is any way to separate one part of the massage from another, because everything Teina has done seems to have contributed to that overall feeling of relief.
Maybe this massage can help me understand what “Holistic Health” means; the dictionary says holism is based on the idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. And the massage Teina gives me feels like much, much more than pressure in one place, followed by the smoothing and soothing of tissues in another.
Instead, it seems as if Teina’s touch has reminded my body, mind and spirit of the inherent unity that can get lost in the shuffle; her mix of modalities has hit my sweet spot, relieved my tension, and left me with a pleasant buzz of wellbeing, which feels like the perfect gift to take with me as I go back out into the world.