Imagine a sanctuary without phones, TVs or doorbells, a place tucked away, beneath the roofline of a tidy bungalow-among woods and meadows. Sunlight glows on polished oak, soft music is playing. Then footsteps, the swish of linens and the soft voice of Becky Michaud are audible. This is the Healing Kneads Massage Therapy Center at 1130 W. Central Avenue in Davidsonville.
Owner-therapist Becky Michaud is youthful, glowing with enthusiasm and passion for her work. She is a registered therapeutic massage practitioner who has trained at both the East-West School of Massage Therapy in Pennsylvania, and the National Massage Therapy Institute in Falls Church, Virginia. She is certified in massage therapy by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Body Work and registered in the State of Maryland.
Becky's interest in holistic and alternative health treatments began when she was in her teens. Growing up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the strong rural influence encouraged Becky's respect for "old fashioned" and "natural" remedies. After high school, she traveled extensively in Europe and Africa, returning home with a clear idea of the path her life would take-becoming a massage therapist.
She credits the men in her life, her father and her husband, with guiding her success. "My father led me to herbal and natural things. He began to change his life, eating naturally grown food and caring for his body holistically, and my life changed too. He is very proud of me, thrilled with my profession." Becky met and recently married Justin Michaud. He has supported her decision to establish her own business. He painted her studio's walls and advises Becky on her business decisions.
When asked how she feels about running her own business, there is no equivocation. "It's fabulous! I love making the decisions...I have learned to improvise and adapt. Not every client needs the same thing. My client may come in in pain and leave feeling better; that's wonderful."
How does Becky accomplish this transformation from pain to relief? She practices four primary massage techniques. Most popular among her clients is the Swedish Massage which combines five basic elements: long, gliding strokes, circular strokes that create heat through friction, muscle kneading, percussive tapping and vibration or shaking of muscles and tissue. In combination, these processes release toxins, reduce tension and stress and increase circulation, thus improving skin and muscle tone.
Swedish Massage originated with Pehr Henrik Ling, a Swedish physiologist and gymnastics instructor. He developed his massage based on techniques used by ancient Greek and Roman athletes.
Deep Tissue Massage provides a bit more radical manipulation of muscles and tissue than other forms of massage. The technique is often warranted as a means to breakdown scar tissue and help with restoring strained or damaged muscles.
Lavender, chamomile and thyme, mimosa, rose and lemongrass-these are only a few of the essential oils that Becky might blend together for an Aromatherapy Massage. Based on an individual's requirements, Becky is trained to select oils that will alleviate tension, enhance tranquility and generally contribute to a sense of well-being. For example, lavender promotes healing of burns and cuts; destroys bacteria; relieves depression, inflammation, spasms, headaches, respiratory allergies, muscle aches, nausea and menstrual cramps. Becky will blend the oils, apply them during your massage, diffuse them into the air and send you home with additional oil to apply yourself.
The fourth massage technique is an exotic combination of heat and pressure via Heated Stone Therapy. The technique is influenced by both ancient Chinese and Japanese traditionsin its use of smooth, oval, basalt lava stones. Becky warms the stones to temperatures up to 140o F, then massages the body with the warm stones to promote circulation. Incorporating the stones with the massage strokes creates the heat and pressure that encourage relaxation and reduce tension.
They all sound lovely, don't they?
If you're short of time, Becky does offer the Seated Massage. You've probably seen these being done at airports and other public places. Unlike other forms of massage, this allows the client to remain clothed. Leaning or seated, if you will, in a forward-leaning chair, one's neck, shoulders, back, arms and scalp are massaged to reduce tension. This "quick fix" usually takes 15 to 25 minutes.
Finally, Becky offers a massage specifically to help with the discomforts of pregnancy. The Pregnancy Massage is recommended only for the second and third trimesters, and Becky focuses on comfort and relaxation. Clients find this massage helps with those symptoms common to pregnancy-backaches, cramping, insomnia and headaches.
"I've learned a lot; I have to know what to do for my clients," Becky says. She has some suggestions and advice for anyone who is considering a massage, as well as clients who have had one.
First, "If you've had a problem for anywhere from six months to five years, one [massage therapy] session won't cure it. Be patient." As with any treatment, progress is incremental. "You need to follow any adjustment recommendations given to you by your therapist. You also may need repeated sessions to secure your improvement."
Second, there are some general guidelines to follow before and after your massage: Dress comfortably. Loose attire that is easily gotten in and out of works well. Leave your cell phone in the car; don't bring your stress with you. Make a commitment to yourself and your therapist. Describe how you are feeling, what hurts, what concerns you. Trust your therapist; try to relax so you can gain the maximum benefit from your massage experience. And speak up! Tell your massage therapist if you're feeling discomfort or pain during the massage, if you are too warm or too cold, if you wish the music louder or softer, if you feel any discomfort-for any reason.
Finally, drink lots of water, particularly after your massage. Toxins are released during massage. Water will flush these toxins from your system, maximizing the positive effects. If those toxins remain in your body, the benefits of your massage will be severely diminished.
Should you wish to make an appointment, the phone number for Healing Kneads Massage Therapy Center is 410-286-0543 or 410-353-8430. Becky Michaud's email is email@example.com