At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.
Though reflexology shares much in common with acupuncture, it has its own unique properties and origins. Read on to learn more about the practice.
In the early 20th century, you might have been able to identify patients coming from a reflexology appointment by the clothespins on their fingertips. Today’s reflexologists generally carry out their treatments by hand in a wellness clinic or a massage studio, but the principle remains the same: apply pressure to specific points on the hands, feet, or ears, prompting responses in organs throughout the body.
Similar to acupuncture and acupressure, the practice posits that energy pathways run throughout the body. Reflexology’s system, however, is a bit simpler than Chinese medicine’s complex map of meridians. Envision vertical lines running from each toe up through the leg, joining lines running from each finger up the arm toward the neck and coming together in the head, and you have the body divided into 10 attractively slimming reflexology zones. Within each zone on the palm or—most common in reflexology sessions today—the sole, certain pressure points are thought to correspond to organs, joints, or other tissues elsewhere in the same zone.
Dr. William Fitzgerald—originator of the clothespin technique—began practicing what he called “zone therapy” in 1915. While research has yet to find a concrete link between modern medical thought and the millennia-old idea of imperceptible bodily energy, that doesn't mean reflexology can't be relaxing. Patients can expect the benefits of a treatment to include at least those of a good foot massage: increased circulation, relieved muscle tension, and decreased stress and susceptibility to tickle attacks. Even early proponents of the technique accepted that results might vary from person to person. Writing in 1928, physician Bernard Lust was content with claiming that “the adoption of the method is attended with absolutely no danger or disagreeable results, and may be the means of lengthening short lives and making good health catching.”
At Nirvana Reflexology Spa, a team of certified reflexologists uses the ancient therapy to relieve ailments and reduce toxins. During reflexology treatments, pressure is applied to specific areas of the feet and hands that are believed to line up with many of the body's internal organs. The treatment, aside from inducing general feelings of relaxation and well-being, has been shown to positively impact everything from migraines and back pain to insomnia and anxiety. For additional soothing, the therapists also administer an herbal tea bath for the feet, since coffee can often leave toes jumpy, and they also work out tension in the neck and scalp, adjusting pressure to each client's comfort level.
The therapists at Masso the Art of Healing in Clarksburg don't just customize their services to each client's needs—they also assist them with plans for continuing their therapy at home. All of this is in service to their goal of helping clients reach a lasting state of relaxation without having to spend a week locked in the cotton-ball closet. Though they specialize in easing muscular tension with Swedish massage, Masso's therapists also perform more than a dozen other body services—ranging from Russian massage to craniosacral therapy to body scrubs. Additionally, they get kinks out of connective tissue with myofascial release, and cater to the relaxation needs of expectant mothers with prenatal massage.
Just as a translator can seamlessly slip from language to language, licensed massage therapist Mary Ann Zenter can effortlessly shift through various massage techniques, tailoring her treatments to meet each individual's needs. She can loosen muscles with broad, soothing strokes that dissolve general tension, or employ methods such as cross-fiber frictioning and compression to work out deep-seated pain. Patients can also request reflexology sessions, which work to boost overall health.
When one of the cofounders of Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa was diagnosed with cancer in her 30s, her doctor put her on the most aggressive chemo and radiation therapies available. As her immune system fought the cancer, her body absorbed the side effects. A longtime friend recommended acupuncture to counteract the suffering; though she was initially skeptical of the holistic procedure, she agreed to give it a try. After just one appointment, she felt her senses awaken. Further treatments permanently changed the way she looked at health care, making her feel like a brand-new person and convincing her to share her discoveries with as many people as she could.
At Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa, she does just that, combining venerated Eastern wisdom with professional spa products to deliver healing massages and rejuvenating facials. Within earth-toned treatment rooms draped with russet curtains, massage therapists ease muscle tension and redirect chi—the energy that regulates the body’s functions and suppresses its natural appetite for hangnails—with focused acupressure techniques. Thalgo facials employ marine botanicals, such as regenerative algae, to nourish and hydrate complexions.