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November 24, 2021

Empowering Healing Hands

Massage therapy dates back as far as 3000 BCE in India, where this ancient sacred healing system migrated to China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. Then, Japan did its twist, known as Shiatsu; the Greeks and Romans added herbs and oils. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, treated physical injuries in the 5th century BCE with a massage. Finally, from 19th century Dutchman J.G. Mezger, who added various strokes and kneading techniques, the Swedish added cupped hands and fingertips with movements. By the 20th and 21st centuries, today’s massage practitioners and therapists had established ethics and educational standards, with certified and licensed credentials, along with other methods.

Today, many recognize that massage is good medicine, and you don’t have to travel to another country to experience this practice’s luxury and healing properties. I talked with Emily Bigelow, the owner and massage therapist of Empowering Hands in Scotts Valley.

Therapy Meets Luxury

At her grand opening four years ago, I met Emily at her Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting event. Walking into her business, I was stuck with the ambiance. It was like stepping into a high-end resort. With the scent of scented oils and room designs, intuitively, I sensed this place was special.

One of her family members had introduced her to massage in high school, and, coupled with her active sports activities, she got hooked. “I was intrigued by how the body moves, and after my knee injury during school, I realized physical therapy’s focus was different from massage.” She decided to focus on therapeutic manipulation and structural integration modalities in helping people to relax and release tension and stress.

Emily’s training at the Maui School of Therapeutics taught her the therapeutic fundamentals of massage. Her earlier years of working in high-end resorts embedded the value of how a relaxing and soothing environment adds to the massage healing experience. 

Passion & Pivot

But she, like so many other businesses, had to pivot and cope with their stresses from the Covid-19 shutdown, so she re-calibrated. But she didn’t just survive; she thrived.

“How did you make it through when your business was not considered essential?” Emily said, “…at first, I was depressed by the shutdown and its impact on my business and four staff members, but it was my passion that came through.” She took advantage of the governmental funding, and instead of using the funds for salary, she reinvested in her business. “I worked with other chiropractors and physical therapists and used this income to pay my building rent, and I was able to get referrals for their ‘medical necessary clients.’”

Also, her clients were loyal. “They would call me, recognizing how the lock-down deprived them from their regular treatments and with the added stress of working at home in an environment that was not ergonomic and many with the added stress of at-home family and children to take care of the stress-factors increased.”

Therapeutic Aspects

“Massage is not just a luxury; it offers overall health and well-being. To my staff and me, what we do offers a mind, body, soul experience.” Massage can strengthen our immune systems. The most significant benefit is stress relief. Stress alone releases the damaging hormone cortisol. Other benefits help to reduce aches and pains, relax muscles, and improve sleep. I learned that another use of massage engages our neurotransmitter pathways to influence healthy body rest and digestion.

But, if you want to learn more about the benefits of massage and book an appointment, you must contact Emily and her professional staff. However, her business has almost doubled since the epidemic and November is booked solid. Emily’s business is local. “Now into our ninth year of business, my team and I thrive because of our clients and the community.” They enjoy building and developing a healthy goal plan with their clients. Tell them Janet sent you! Call 831-888-7614 or visit EmpoweringHandsMassage.com.


Janet Janssen is coach & trainer specializing in helping business owners and their teams increase their sales and customer services skills and helps improve public speaking and presentations. Contact her at [email protected] or 831-335-0553.

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