Kirk Scarlett is on the advisory board at Branford Hall Career Institute, where he works with faculty, students, and outside health-care professionals to promote massage and its benefits in the community. Kirk is also a licensed massage therapist, spreading his massage gospel more directly out of his cozy Healing Hands Studio. Guests can solicit him for flowing Swedish strokes, as well as more focused techniques such as deep tissue and sports therapy.
The word meditation typically calls to mind a feeling of stillness and solitude. Matt DeMichele, however, believes in a shared meditative experience—one that takes place in the muscles as well as the mind. For him, massage is "meditation-in-motion," a way to acknowledge and address the tensions that have restricted one's potential. Since graduating from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and earning his certification in therapeutic massage and bodywork, Matt has hoped to build this awareness in others and act as a conduit for their body's healing.
Each appointment at Shadow and Trees Massage Therapy begins with an in-depth evaluation. Matt logs information on his clients' recurring aches to better customize a mix of modalities, often blending elements of Swedish, orthopedic, and myofascial massage. Having studied with Aaron Mattes, founder of the active-isolated-stretching method, Matt also leads muscles through short, specific stretches to boost their range of motion. A combination of his active isolated stretching and massage can help combat the effects of past injuries, encouraging ease of movement without smearing elbow joints with grease.
State-licensed massage therapist (license #004958) A. Malaika Sharp cultivates relaxation and targets each client's unique issues with a focused menu of services. She can shoo everyday stress away through basic relaxation massages, but she’s as focused on function as she is on feeling good. An avid martial artist and cyclist, Sharp consults with all clients to understand the ways they use their bodies for work and recreation. That helps her pick out distinct patterns of motion and coax bad habits or stored tension out of muscles, whether she’s targeting chronic aches through deep-tissue techniques or helping athletes recover from strenuous duck-duck-goose training through sports massage. Or, for those suffering from headaches and migraines, she can incorporate trigger-point therapy. Sharp is also a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and is certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
Reflexology Rocks’ Wendy Girl knows exactly which buttons to push. Skilled in a range of practices—from hand and foot therapy to kinesiology—the well-rounded holistic healer swaddles aching feet in organic foot creams, as she applies gentle pressure to specific nerve endings. The massage technique can stir relaxation and relief throughout the body, while also promoting internal well-being. Aside from treating feet, Wendy also works her magic on visages with face-reflexology sessions that relieve muscles sore from smiling at cardboard kitten cutouts for days on end.
Apricot Blossom Therapeutic Massage’s licensed, experienced therapist melds soothing scents with muscle-mollifying techniques, specializing in the profundity of deep-tissue massage. During each one-hour session, guests are wafted into clouds of fragrant bliss as muscular tension is tamed with long, therapeutic strokes, essential-oil blends, and reverse psychology. The studio’s atmosphere remains peaceful and centering and adheres to aesthetically pleasing style.