After eight years in The Promenade, Inner Peace Massage tripled their space by moving to a soothing setting in Sheridan Park.
Their new 2,600-square-foot location allows owner Heidi B. Johnson and her team more room to offer their guests comfort, tranquility and accessibility.
“People may think of us in Old Town Bluffton, but it’s still us; it’s just us in a better, newer, larger location!” Johnson exclaimed.
Stepping inside Inner Peace Massage isn’t like entering a typical business setting, it’s more like stepping into a friend’s living room – a place where comfort and care collide. With a calming cream-colored palette, the reception area invites guests in with fresh-cut flowers and plush chairs, not to mention friendly service from the front desk staff.
It’s a place such as this that brings in a myriad of people, each at different places in their lives.
“Everyone comes for a different reason, whether it be just high stress from their job, tough things going on in life or maybe because they’re just in a good place mentally or they’re physically active,” Johnson explained. “There are just so many different reasons to come for a massage and, thankfully, we’re able to help people in many different stages of life.”
Part of the reason Inner Peace Massage is able to do this is because their team—of which almost everyone has more than 11 years of experience—is comprised of massage therapists who have diverse concentrations. While Johnson received her master’s level certification specializing in medical massage for arthritis, Carol Hunter, LMT, acquired advanced certifications in lymphatic drainage, pre-Natal massage and advanced therapeutic massage techniques. Catie Mengel, LMT, received advanced certifications in scar tissue therapy, Ashiatsu barefoot massage and Esalen massage while studying in California.
The other half of the equation has to do with their offerings.
Inner Peace Massage doesn’t offer just a one-massage-fits-all; they offer a personalized experience. Therapists want to find more about their guests, so they’re better able to accommodate them. For example, take one of their most requested massages—the Inner Peace Signature Massage. Instead of abruptly walking a client back to a room after asking which massage they want, the therapists at Inner Peace have their clients fill out an intake form.
“We ask everybody who comes in, every time they come in, to fill out an intake, whether they’ve been coming for years or it’s their first time,” Johnson said. “Every time they come in that specific treatment is tailored to their needs.”
If the massage therapist understands more about their clients, they are able to focus attention on certain areas and customize the massage so the treatment is more effective.
“We don’t just do a quickie, run-in 50-minute session—then out the door, go away,” Johnson clarified. “We’re looking to build a long-term relationship with our clients.”
That’s why Inner Peace takes time before sessions start to discover what their clients need and why the business offers a variety of treatments. In addition to the therapeutic Signature Massage, restorative Swedish massages, deep tissue massages, prenatal massages, European face massages and, among others, the Hungarian Facial Rejuvenation, also known as “The Natural Facelift,” are available.
The Hungarian Facial Rejuvenation is a contouring facelift massage, which starts with an exfoliating cleanse before the massage therapist systematically works through the client’s facial muscles with gentle acupressure, smoothing and sculpting to stop sagging, eliminate eye bags and patter out puffiness.
“It’s a natural alternative for anti-aging.”
“This holistic treatment works with returning the facial muscles back to a stronger base, for them to grow and mature,” Johnson says.
In addition to anti-aging treatments, Inner Peace also offers massages to help manage stress and emotional disorders, such as depression or anxiety, support immune system function, relieve pain and promote relaxation. But it’s not a magical fix. While their therapists do take your problems into their own hands, quite literally, it’s not just about working through stiff muscles, but also finding a state of mind.
“Massage is not just a physical state; the mental part is just as important as the physical part,” Johnson emphasized. “You can work the physical body as much as you want but if you don’t get the mental state in a proper, relaxed place, then you can’t bring the body to the most healthy spot.”
Tiffany Field, executive director of the Touch Research Institutes (TRI), discovered massage can improve ADHD symptoms in teenagers.
While Mark Rosenbaum and Jane Van de Velde unveiled the healing traits of massage therapy in their study,
“The Effects of Yoga, Massage, and Reiki on Patient Well-Being at a Cancer Resource Center,” published in June 2016 in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. While this study showed that Reiki helped most with pain control. Results showed that massage therapy also helped reduce stress and anxiety, improved mood and enhance patients’ perception of overall health and quality of life.
Johnson experienced this phenomenon while working with a customer named Brock after opening Inner Peace. He’d been a client of hers and, after two years. Brock returned and told Johnson that he’d been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. From then on, he continued to get regular massages while he fought the illness. Each time he came, he brought Johnson a note.
“And at the very end, right before he passed.”
“He gave me a handwritten note, just thanking me for all that I did.”
“And he gave me a necklace, and he said that I made a difference in his life,” Johnson revealed.
To this day, Johnson still wears that starfish necklace. This gesture from a grateful client illustrates the level of care found at Inner Peace. Their goal is to push past the pull of routines and use their skills. They use education and intuition to help clients with physical pains, but life changes, as well.