BRATTLEBORO -- For the past two years there has been a little spa getaway right on Main Street in Brattleboro where your tension and stress may be blissfully massaged away, where pampering is their specialty, and where recently a few changes have taken place. First, professional masseuses Ken and Jessica Luo have taken ownership of Chinese Therapeutic Massage to continue to provide current clients with a variety of massage options; and secondly they have added foot reflexology to their list of alternative healing services to their repertoire.

The Luos gave me a warm reception when I arrived, expressing how excited they were to be in Brattleboro, appreciating its beauty. They both came here from Lindenhurst, N.Y., to operate their new business and Ken stays here full-time while Jessica still commutes to Lindenhurst to work a couple of days a week to help make ends meet until their fledgling business takes flight.

During my visit I was treated to one of Ken's foot reflexology massages -- his field of expertise -- while he gave me a lesson in reflexology. There are zones on the foot that when pressure is applied to them have a direct impact on a particular organ or gland of the body, promoting healing there, very similar to the concept behind acupuncture, but without the needles.

The massage was heavenly. The smell of Jasmine drifted up as Ken slathered what looked like body butter to my feet. As he poked and rubbed and kneaded he inquired if I felt any sort of pain and to let him know if I did; pain is an indication that there may be a health issue in the organ or gland that corresponded with the zone he was applying pressure to. Luckily, it all felt nothing but great, with no pain -- I'm pretty healthy I guess. It just made it rather difficult to get the motivation to get back out of the chair.

Ken did catch on pretty quickly that I appeared stressed around my shoulders and applied massage cupping on my upper shoulders.

Chinese Therapeutic Massage on Main Street in Brattleboro. (Kayla Rice/Reformer)
Chinese Therapeutic Massage on Main Street in Brattleboro. (Kayla Rice/Reformer)
Although cupping is an ancient technique in Chinese therapy it has only recently gained a lot of attention for its effectiveness in promoting circulation and reaching deeper into the tissue than hand massage. Massage cupping, not practiced anywhere else locally, is done by heating glass cups to just the right temperature, then applying to the area of tension, creating a vacuum as it cooled, sucking up the skin that rests over the stressed out muscle to relieve the tension and draw out toxins. Fair warning though, this does tend to leave a red mark, not something you would want to try if you were planning to wear an open back gown any time soon, but it sure does feel good.

Chinese massage therapy is a homeopathic treatment for mental-body harmony by combining the massage with special herbal blends to help remove toxins from the body. This restores the natural flow of energy in the body to improve health. These massages are tools to manage pain and stress, alleviate muscle pain and exhaustion, and improve blood flow. It is even a method of easing pregnancy pain and alleviating postpartum effects by reducing swelling and water retention.

Besides foot reflexology and massage cupping, they also practice other methods of massage. Deep tissue massage realigns the deep layers of muscle and connective tissues which is particularly helpful for stiff necks and shoulders; hot stone massage where warmed stones are placed on the muscle to warm it up so the masseuse can work deeper into the muscle; shiatsu massage, which, like foot reflexology uses pressure points and is also known as acupressure; and facial massage to help improve the circulation on the face and provide a more youthful appearance.

Their goal is let everyone know about their services and have launched a campaign on Craig's List to get that very word out there and have posted fall specials. They also have gift certificates that make great gift ideas for the holidays coming up with prices ranging from 30 minutes of body work for $35, $55 for 60 minutes, 90 minutes at $80, or 30 minutes of foot reflexology for $25, 60 minutes for $40 or 90 minutes for $50. Cupping is $30.

My visit ended with a giant hug from Jessica and a respectful handshake from Ken and I walked back to my car feeling like a new woman.

Chinese Therapeutic Massage is located at 41 Main Street in Brattleboro and they are open 7 days a week, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 802-251-0579.

Cicely Eastman can be reached at ceastman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 261.