Wilmington Business Promotes Massage As Self-care, Not Luxury
WILMINGTON -- As a child, Courtney Hatfield watched her grandmother endure all that came with being diagnosed with lymphoma. She didn’t know that years later, this experience would be the catalyst to pursue a career in massage therapy.
“I watched her go through a lot of different transitions with her treatment and how it affected her emotionally and physically,” Hatfield said of her grandmother, “and I felt that I wanted to do something to help comfort people during those times.”
Always a hands-on person, Hatfield wanted to help people, especially those diagnosed with cancer, in a way that wouldn’t pumping chemicals into their bodies.
“I feel like they get enough of that in the hospital. They just need time to take care of themselves, time for rest,” she said. “I feel like so many people rely so much on medication that they end up feeling so lost without it. And it has so many different side effects that go along with it. Being able to provide pain relief for someone without having to give them a prescription is wild.”
If you’re planning to go to Hatfield’s Healing Hands, leave your ideas of massages as luxury experiences at the door. For Hatfield, owner of the massage business in Wilmington, massages should not be left only for special occasions. Massage is a way to practice self-care and provides great health benefits, she said.
Many of her clients are cancer patients or people in remission. Hatfield offers oncology massage services to those clients. What makes oncology massage different from a typical massage? Hatfield said it’s all about communication.
“It’s monitoring where they are in their treatment, what medications they’re taking,” she said. “So from there, you treat the symptoms that go along with those things. Like neuropathy is a huge one -- that’s what I see the most frequent. And by using massage therapy I’m able to help provide some relief for those people who are going through that.”
Hatfield opened up her business at Wilmington Family Chiropractic, located at 7 Middlesex Ave., Unit 101, last November. In 2013, she earned a certificate in Holistic Massage Therapy from Nashua Community College. She also completed 32 hours of continuing education in Oncology Massage Training.
From previously working at other massage and spa businesses to owning her own, the 28-year-old Dracut resident has grown her clientele. She serves many athletes, and said she definitely sees a surge among runners training for marathons.
“I do a lot of assisted stretching work with them,” Hatfield said. “I also see a lot of knee issues and hamstring stuff.”
Some people, she said, are looking for time to relax, or manage pain relief, or ease anxiety.
“So many of my clients struggle with anxiety and it’s something that I struggle with as well, so I feel like I can really relate to my clients in that way,” Hatfield said. “Giving them self-care techniques to bring home and practice and just giving them different feedback.
“Just being present is the most important thing -- being an ear to listen,” she added.
Hatfield often gives health recommendations to her clients, which include staying hydrated, practicing good posture and stretching. She said she comes across many clients who are dehydrated, which she can tell by the tightness in their legs and whether they become lightheaded after the massage session.
Because she works within the Wilmington Family Chiropractic building, she often refers her clients to their services when necessary and other local physical therapists.
“I think combining holistic care is really important because you have to treat the body as a whole,” she said. “That’s what I’m known for.”
In addition to oncology and sports massages, Hatfield also offers Swedish, deep tissue and therapeutic massages. She said massage is also a technique used to release toxins in the body.
“Toxins in your body are stored from different environmental chemicals that go out. By getting a massage, you’re releasing that,” she said. “You’re releasing a chemical in your brain basically, that helps promote happiness. It helps disperse those chemicals by using the circulatory system, the lymphatic system.”
All her massages range from 30 minutes to two hours.
Because Hatfield works with so many cancer patients and clients with allergies, everything in her massage room is hypoallergenic and unscented. She does not use essential oils, but does recommend them to some clients. Teachers, police and firefighters receive 20 percent off their service.
“It’s really rewarding,” Hatfield said. “I feel like each person I get is a gift that comes in my office. I feel really privileged to be able to work on them and knowing that I’m making a difference really touches me.”
For more information, visit www.HatfieldsHealingHands.com or call 603-321-4518.
Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.