Minding Your Business: Soul Ease Medical Massage & Mind Body Therapy
Corning’s Soul Ease Adds Float Therapy to Enhance Mind-Body-Spirit Services in Southern Tier
Name of Business: Soul Ease Medical Massage & Mind Body Therapy
Address: 55 Ferris St., Suite 201, Corning, NY
Social Media: Facebook
# Years in Business: Opened January 2018, celebrating five years in business.
Owner/Owners: Melanie A. Wood, MA, LMT, MMP, sole proprietor, with five independent contractors, NYS-Licensed Massage Therapists Ingrid Hungerford, Donna Hutchison, Jessica Samuelson, and Tyra Osborne; and licensed Esthetician Hanna Keegan.
Tell me about your business:
“There’s four massage therapists and an esthetician, at this point,” begins founder and owner Melanie Wood.
Soul Ease offers several methods of massage, mind-body therapy and health coaching, vibroacoustic sound therapy, float therapy, and several beauty services including face and body waxing, facials and lash extensions, lifts and tints.
“We really pride ourselves in being both a medically-focused massage facility that has a heart-centered culture. Our focus is on community and relationships, and how to have extended trusting relationships with our clients and with our community so that we are offering, not just a medical approach to using alternative methods such as massage for healing, but also the whole body approach. And that includes emotional welfare, mental welfare – We’re not mental health therapists, but we really know how to hold space really well for people, and create that trusting environment because we believe that symptoms aren’t necessarily all physical symptoms. They come from stress. they come from anxiety. They come from the daily grind of life and we take all of that into consideration, even as we’re helping your frozen shoulder,” she explains.
“Soul Ease Medical Massage offers massage that is actually given because of a prescription or Letter of Medical Necessity from a doctor.”
“There’s the infrared medical-grade sauna we have, and now the float therapy. We do cupping and all kinds of things to actually manage both orthopedic injuries and arthritis and inflammation … but, also, autoimmune diseases and stress-related disorders and mental health. We are a place that can do that.”
“There’s a lot of focus on how people look and not how they feel in our society standards now. We focus on the opposite.” Melanie says. “We think that you’re going to enhance your beauty and your overall well-being from the inside out and how you feel based on how you’re managing your pain and you’re managing your body’s flexibility and hydration level. So we really focus on natural beauty evolving into just really feeling good and glowing because you really do feel great.”
Why did you start your business?
“To be able to better utilize my leadership skills in the community and to offer a place for other massage therapists and healing practitioners to evolve and grow within themselves and within their own businesses,” says Melanie.
“The more we have on the team, the more we have to offer the community, and the better off we are having more than one thing under the same roof. Really, it’s so I can watch other people grow, and so I can watch other clients grow. We share clients and … are helping them in as many ways as possible.”
She continued, “It’s really a blessing to be able to bring alternative health care to the area because, as we’ve seen, it’s harder and harder to get traditional medicine appointments and care in time. More and more people are seeking alternative ways to, at least, manage symptoms for whatever condition that they have.”
Photos provided by Soul Ease Medical Massage and Mind Body Therapy. Left to right: Soul Ease massage therapists Lisa, owner Melanie Wood, Donna, and Ingrid; Soul Ease massage therapists doing cupping work on clients; the float tank at Soul Ease; journal entries from clients after a float therapy session; Soul Ease massage therapists giving Corning-Painted Post Middle School teachers chair massages.
Who are your customers?
"We love helping people that are committed to their own well-being. Of course, it’s ok if someone wants to have a massage … as a pampering, We can see that, but we’re more suited for people who are committed to using massage therapy, float therapy, infrared sauna, things like that, on an ongoing basis as part of their self-care regime, so that they are continuously evolving their own health and wellness. They’re committed to their own health and wellness and this is part of it, just like good nutrition would be part of their health and wellness plan."
"It can be a luxury for you but it’s also used as part of and, in conjunction with, a health care plan."
Tell me about the float tank – what made you want to invest in one?
“I visited Nashville about a decade ago, and a friend took me to Float Nashville. He was always on the up and up about new trends and new things coming about in integrative health care. Float Nashville was a place he talked about a lot, and we visited. Since then … I’ve made sure that I’ve floated. I fell in love with it," Melanie says.
"I have Lyme Disease, and I was also very much a spiritual seeker at that time. It’s a way to meditate plus keep physical symptoms of Lyme Disease at bay. So, I would travel to Rochester and Syracuse, and then Watkins Glen opened one; and for the past five years … I’ve wanted my own.”
Float tanks are an investment. They're very expensive and there are a lot of regulations to meet, but after years of preparation, construction, and lots of headaches, Melanie's dream came true and a float tank was finally installed at Soul Ease, opening for service in April.
“It is a process to learn to be with ourselves,” Melanie Wood says. “It’s a process that can be learned. The more you practice the more the benefits of being able to relax that deeply or learn how to be in control of your thoughts. Then you feel like you’re more in control of yourself, intrinsically, versus letting the outside world influence the way you feel control.”
“It is a sensory deprivation but people can choose the level of sensory deprivation they want. In terms of mental, emotional, spiritual benefits – it puts you in this environment where there’s very little else going on.“
The tank has underwater lights that clients can leave on and, if complete silence is uncomfortable, there’s an option to have music play softly at the beginning and end, or you can choose to have music throughout the session.
“It can become a meditative practice because you can focus on hearing your breath. Some people can feel their heartbeat. Some people can recite mantras. There are other people that use the meditative practice to be visionaries and float off into … being in the cosmos of the mind, the consciousness of the mind. And other people are just working on stilling their thoughts.”
Those are only the mental health benefits. Melanie continued, explaining the physical benefits of float therapy.
"You’re in 1,200 lbs. of Epsom salts in about 10 inches of water, so you, literally, float. You don’t have to travel to the Dead Sea for this,” she laughs.
"Anti-gravity can help with allowing the body to adjust into the natural position it should be in. So, think of it as a very gentle chiropractic treatment. It aligns the spine. It helps with posture. The Epsom salts can help with muscle aches and pains. If folks have any inflammation disorder, it reduces the inflammation in their joints and inflammation in the body, in general. The anti-gravity, it gives the body a break.”
“If you’re an athlete and you’re active all the time, then it’s going to help to soothe your muscles and to make sure that your joints and your ligaments are healthy. It’s a whole body approach.”
Other Important Information:
Soul Ease accepts health savings accounts and flex spending accounts with a physician’s prescription or Letter of Medical Necessity.
Floating is available for children, consult Soul Ease staff for guidance.
Find out what clients have to say about Soul Ease here.
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