By Christina Whiting
Just 3.5 miles out East End Road, nestled in the East Village Shopping Center next to Vida’s Thai food, you’ll find Healing Hands Massage. In business since 2009, Healing Hands has called this warm, colorful and inviting space home for the past four years.
Jessi Dullinger and Mary Hayden, both certified massage therapists, offer massage by appointment to residents and visitors. Physiologically, massage is the application of pressure that creates heat with friction and that in return creates more circulation throughout the muscles in the body, which lubricates the muscle fibers and joints, loosening muscles.
Dullinger became a massage therapist in 2004 and has been working as a massage therapist in Homer since 2007, when she moved from Wisconsin. She first offered her services through Dr. Heston, a local Chiropractor and then studied Trigger Point with local teacher and acupuncturist Valerie DeLaune. After completing her Trigger Point education, Dullinger opened Healing Hands by Jessi.
Dullinger’s primary approach to massage is called myofasial release, a modality that loosens the fascia or tissue between the muscles and creates length and mobility.
She is versed in relaxation and deeper tissue massage and is currently pursuing more education in the structural integration vein.
“This allows me to assess a client’s structure to find movement patterns and physical and emotional constrictions within the tissue or structure, then work to unwind and balance the body,” she said. “It’s a treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain.”
Mary Hayden joined Healing Hands two years ago, after she and her husband moved to Homer from Georgia. Hayden’s approach to massage is a focus on deep relaxation, which invites the body to let go of stress and tension in order to heal itself.
“I use long, fluid, nurturing strokes and medium-firm pressure to help the whole body relax, followed by the application of more specific pressure in areas that need it,” she said. “Ninety-five percent of clients fall asleep on my table.”
Hayden is also trained in Prenatal Massage and has begun training in Cranial Sacral Therapy, a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance.
Dullinger and Hayden are enthusiastic about massage’s benefits for overall health, wholeness and balance. They say massage’s benefits include much more than just encouraging relaxation, although relaxation in and of itself is incredibly healing. Massage also helps to improve circulation, digestion, mobility and range of motion, it lessens depression, increases body awareness, relieves soreness, tension, stiffness and restlessness, moisturizes skin and assists in the prevention of stress-related diseases.
In addition to helping to get ride of aches and pains and provide stress relief, massage provides the opportunity for individuals to create time for themselves and to be still, quiet and relax.
Clients at Healing Hands massage include men and women and range from fishermen with repetitive motion issues to teachers, mothers and moms-to-be, athletes, dancers and others wanting to take better care of themselves. Some clients come in weekly; others monthly and others on an as-needed basis when pain or discomfort arises. Client’s needs are assessed on an individual basis.
Dullinger and Hayden are active in the community, providing chair massages at the Homer Farmer’s Market and to South Peninsula Hospital staff during wellness day and they are eager to increase their community presence. They hope to offer chair massages at businesses and events around the community this summer.
Healing Hands Massage offers a sliding scale pricing system, which ranges from $45 to $70 for a 60-minute massage and $70 to $105 for a 90-minute massage. Based on the honor system, they ask that each client pay as close to the full amount as they can, based on their income. The goal of this system is to make massage more available to people who need it the most and to allow for multiple treatments to be more of a possibility. They also offer wellness packages for people who consider themselves on the high end of the sliding scale, but who want a price break for purchasing multiple massages.
Meet Jessi Dullinger and Mary Hayden during their open house on March 27, 3-7 p.m. Enjoy wine, finger food and raffles for free massages.
“We wanted to have this open house to let the community know how much we appreciate them,” they said.
Healing Hands Massage is located at 3585 East End Road, across from the Kacheamak Gear Shed. Their hours are by appointment only. Jessi Dullinger can be reached at 299-8090 and Mary Hayden can be reached at 399-0269.
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