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Touch of Nature

Fri, Sep 3rd, 2010
Posted in Business Announcements

In the midst of all the reports of foreclosures, rising unemployment, and threats of a double dip recession, it is refreshing to see someone with the courage to step out and undertake a new business venture here in Fillmore County. Many of you may have noticed the Touch of Nature sign along Highway 16 across from the Fillmore County Airport and wondered about it. Curiosity finally got the best of me, and one day while driving to Spring Valley I had my husband slow down enough so I could write down the telephone number listed on the sign. One quick call and an interview later, my curiosity was satisfied and here's the story. Or, as Paul Harvey used to say: page two.

Jennifer Mulhern is the owner and operator of the newest massage business in the county, which is located on her husband, Mitch's, family farm. "Many locals still think of this as Grandma Emma's farm," Jen smiled. Jen herself grew up and graduated from high school in Spring Valley in 1996. The next year she graduated from cosmetology school and over the next few years worked in both cosmetology and day care. She also worked for five years at the Mayo Clinic. However, her first love has always been massage, so in the spring of 2007, she enrolled in the Minnesota School of Business massage program, Rochester campus, and earned her associate degree in massage therapy by attending evening classes.

"I couldn't have done this without the support of my family," she explained. "They have been just tremendous." Mitch built the facility for her and decorated the interior with barn boards from an old barn, giving it a very unique décor. Even the name, Touch of Nature, is fitting for her rural setting where you can glimpse deer feeding and their labs roaming the yard. Even the oils she uses are all natural, unscented oils.

During the construction of Touch of Nature, Jen worked as a massage therapist in Spring Valley for about six months. The therapist there was moving ,so Jen felt this would be a good time to venture out on her own and not infringe on someone else's territory. "Mitch started construction last fall," Jen said, "right during deer season," she added with a smile. Knowing that was a sacrifice for him, she is very thankful he was willing to do the work for her, which was completed in May, and she was finally open for business.

Jen's clients have ranged in age from 14 to 92. "Massage is my way to help people of all ages," she commented. "Doctors and nurses help in many ways that are much needed, but I feel that I can help in an alternative form of medicine by the way of nature's 'touch.'" She went on to explain, "Touch is a natural reaction to pain and stress. Think about it. The last time you bumped your knee or had a headache, the first thing you probably did was grab it and then rub it - or should I say massaged it. By using massage you are using a natural healer by getting the circulation going under that skin to make yourself feel better." Massage is so much more than just a "feel good" pampering treatment. While it does feel good, it also helps the body heal itself in many ways. Jen says it gives her a real sense of satisfaction knowing that when a client leaves, she has helped that person feel both relaxed and rejuvenated.

According to Jen, the number one benefit of massage is that it helps to relieve stress. "Everyone has stress," she remarked, "and I think it is important to point out that there are so many diseases in today's day and age that are stress related. Relaxation helps to reduce stress and in so doing decreases anxiety, lowers your blood pressure, improves recovery time after an injury, helps you to sleep better and even can help increase your concentration."

In addition to relieving stress and the many symptoms that accompany it, massage also increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles, reduces spasms and cramping, increases joint flexibility, reduces recovery time and helps prepare for strenuous workout by eliminating subsequent pains of the athlete at any level, releases endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and is being used in chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain. For patients with low back pain it improves the range of motion and decreases discomfort. Those suffering from migraine headaches can also find relief in massage, which decreases the need for medication. Expectant mothers will benefit from massage with shorter labor as well as less need for medication for depression and anxiety. Arthritis suffers can find relief from the many joint discomforts they endure.

Jen offers five techniques that include:

• Swedish massage, perhaps the best-known type. Swedish massage uses a firm but gentle pressure to promote relaxation, ease muscle tension and create other health benefits.

• Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscles and fascia, also called connective tissue. This massage uses many of the same movements and techniques as Swedish massage, but the pressure will be more intense. It also tends to be more focused as the therapist works to release chronic muscle tension or knots.

• Prenatal massage is specifically tailored for the expectant mother's needs, as the name indicates.

• Hot stone massage is a specialty massage that uses smooth, heated stones. The heat is both deeply relaxing and helps tight muscles to release.

• Thai massage is more energizing and rigorous than the classic forms of massage. This is sometimes called Thai yoga massage because as the therapist, Jen moves the client into a series of yoga-like stretches and basically does all of the work for you. Muscles compression, joint mobilization and acupressure are also used during this treatment. Jen says this type of massage is both relaxing and energizing at the same time.

For Jen, massage is truly a fulfilling career. It enables her to help people by taking into consideration the needs of each individual client and then offering a massage that will best fit those particular needs. It also gives her a flexible schedule that allows her to work around the demands of her husband, Mitch, and sons: Michael, age 10; Lucas, 6; Miles, 4;and baby due in October!

People may be hesitant to try massage thinking they can't afford to "pamper" themselves and that the pain they are experiencing will eventually go away. Sometimes folks just learn to "live" with pain without trying massage therapy that has proven medical benefits. Jen has worked out some very affordable package deals for those who may be thinking they can't afford massage. You don't have to live with pain and she wants to make sure people realize that massage is an affordable alternative. For more information, call Jen at 765-4585.

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