Category Archives: Massage Therapy

Massage is an amazing tool. I’ve seen it help my clients with chronic and acute headaches, low back pain, torticollis, all kinds of neck troubles, pain management, stress relief (which is huge), and most importantly I find that it is a gateway drug, introducing people to their bodies when we spend so much of our lives in our brains. When we learn how to feel our body through massage, we learn to listen to what it’s telling us, and discover that We are the expert on what our body needs. Empowerment.

Massage in the Hospital Setting

Blue Cliff College asked me to come talk to their massage students about Thai Massage a couple of weeks ago, and one of the students there asked me about doing massage at the bedside in nursing.  My gut reaction, which I find myself embarrassed by, was not just no, but hell no.

Thai Massage, stretching, yoga
What a Thai Massage Talk/Demo Looks like

And it’s not that I don’t do some bedside nursing massage.  I do.  I had an elderly gentleman patient approaching 100 years old who was comfortable with dying, but his family was still holding on.  They wanted him to remain a full code, which is a full conversation on its own.

I imagine that when most people are asked the question, “Do you want us to use life saving measures on your mom/dad if they are dying?” They are horrified by the implications.  My gut reaction is, “Well of course I do.  Wouldn’t you?”

But to those of us who work in life saving measures, we have a whole other set of associated images that comes to mind: ribs breaking, blood, sputum, puke.  CPR is violent.  So when a frail elderly patient closing in on 100 years old is comfortable with leaving the planet, and the kids are holding on to that Full Code status, the nursing staff might be praying to not have to break that poor sweet man to bring him back to life when he could be headed toward that most coveted –fall asleep and not wake back up– kind of passing.

Sometimes the decision is not that clear.  But often, we humans have a very difficult time letting go.

All of that is to say that when this particular patient had foot pain–I massaged his feet.  And he loved every minute of it.  No, we did not have to perform CPR on him.  But I was afraid, the whole time he was in the hospital, that we would. These are the times when Palliative care is needed and is an amazing form of nursing.

Blue Cliff College Thai Massage Talk and Demo

I have helped anxious patients learn how to meditate.  I have walked them through meditations. I have also helped them download meditation apps.

But most of our patients on the floor are not in a good mental space for massage.  We treat an alarming number of detoxing alcoholics who are not at the hospital because they chose to be.  The same with detoxing methamphetamine addicts.  I have found that it is simply not the right combination of circumstances for massage therapy.

As a massage therapist, people come to me because they are actively making a choice to feel better, to take care of themselves.  They value their health.  I help them manage their pain. They are taking responsibility for their health.

As a medical surgical nurse, people come to the hospital to be fixed.  Most of them don’t want to be there, and many are forced to be there either because of self inflicted circumstances, or because the people around them have had enough and can not manage their health or addiction problems any more.

In my intellectual mind I rationalize that yes, we need touch in the hospital, and I do bring that element in–but not often.  Part of it is because I hardly have time to pee or take a break during the day, and massage or Reiki is a contemplative, slow process.  Part of it is the patient population.  I have patients who are perfectly capable of cleaning their own genitalia who will tell me they need me to do that for them.  It’s just not the same as somebody coming to a massage studio fully aware of the sacred space that we create in the massage room.

Maybe it would be different if we had a dedicated space and set of procedures for bodywork.  But as a bedside nurse in a mostly elderly male population I have not found it easy or intuitive to incorporate massage into hospital treatment.

I used to play with business models for in hospital massage services.  Massage in the hospital would be good for the staff, the family of patients, as well as the patients.  But in my bedside nursing I haven’t found a way to incorporate it on a regular basis.

But it did give me pause when I found myself ashamed to admit to students that I did not use massage in my day to day nursing.  I’ll have to cogitate on it.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a local hospital, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, runner, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 25 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  

To Schedule an Appointment for a Massage go to: Integrated Massage and click the “Book Now” button. For information about upcoming continuing education for massage therapists email Wendy at imspa@hotmail.com

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Meditation for Anxiety

I teach a dance class with my friend Nicole on Fridays at 7:45a.m. at Be One Yoga Studio.  We were talking at class last week and we both have kids who experience Vasovagal Syncope.  If they go to get a shot or see blood they faint, pass out, vagal down–whatever you want to call it.  It’s embarrassing, inconvenient, and scary to them.

It is not uncommon.  A couple of years ago I was teaching a classroom full of College of Education students about tourniquets–because these days as a teacher it is a distinct possibility that they will be faced with having to stop a child from bleeding out as a result of a gunshot wound–and one of the young women in the class started to faint and had to be helped to the floor.  Just the thought of tourniquets, without even images of blood or graphic pictures, was enough to trigger vasovagal syncope for her.

My son, Sean, was given atropine when they put an IV in him prior to his surgery for wisdom teeth because his heart rate dropped so low.  He had to stay an extra hour after the surgery because his heart rate was staying in the 30s and 40s.

My son, Zach, literally turned green when he was getting stitches once.  He starts to faint and has to sit down when there are needles around.

What happens is that there is an adrenaline surge, for our kids it is a result of a fear (fear of needles, blood, etc.), followed by a vagus nerve response that dilates the veins, dropping the heart rate.

Nicole and I were talking about things the kids could do to try to prevent the reaction since they will have to see needles, give blood, get immunizations, and receive medical treatment for the rest of their lives.

These are the things that have worked for us:

  • Stay horizontal. One of the factors of hypotension is that the body has to work against gravity to get the blood back to the heart.  Keeping the body horizontal can reduce that pull.  Also, it can prevent head injuries during the fainting episode.
  • Benzodiazepines.  Okay, so most people probably don’t have a bunch of bennies lying around, but if you have a prescription for these for anxiety, this is a good time to take it–before you go.  Now, obviously, this can not be mistaken as medical advice.  Ask your doctor if you need medication to help deal with this problem.  Talk to your doctor if you have this problem at all.  Medication can reduce the stress factor of the adrenergic response.
  • Systematic desensitization therapy.  This can be led by a therapist, but you can also willingly expose yourself to the thing you are afraid of incrementally increasing exposure until the anxiety producing event is no longer problematic.

Things that I think might work for us:

  • Meditation.  I have used meditation for other similar physiological responses to anxiety producing situations with great results, especially when paired with the next suggestion.  Now, my kids have not yet tried this for their fear of needles, so I’m just pulling it in as a possibility.
  • Self-hypnosis.  Again, I have used this for smoking cessation and public speaking, and it seems reasonable to assume that you could program your brain not to respond to stimuli in the same way to prevent the physiological problem.
  • Applied Tension Technique.  This as a way to organically and systematically increase your blood pressure so that when it drops it doesn’t drop so low.
  • Relaxation and distraction techniques are techniques I use every day with patients who don’t have needle phobias.  I often ask patients to wiggle their toes, or talk to them about their lives to distract them from the horrible things I’m doing to them–whether I’m placing an IV, giving them a shot, or dressing their wounds.

Nicole had this list of resources that she likes:

Years ago my friends Gina and Zara introduced me to Silva Method meditation.  I love it because it gives people a method.  Often my clients want to meditate but they feel stupid or that they are not doing it ‘right.’  The Silva Method helps provide a structure that can get you comfortable with the process.

And it seems, in my awareness, that a lot of people are drawn to Transcendental Meditation.  I have not experienced the training for this yet, but it is intriguing.

One that I recommend to patients at the hospital often is HeadSpace because it is free and it starts with guided meditation and gradually increases the time and decreases the verbal.

Obviously we need to get our kids to try all the options because we haven’t had the opportunity to try much (see the above list of ‘things that have worked’).  Fortunately there are tons of resources on the interwebs, and hopefully they will be open to being proactive with the process.

If you want to take part in my ‘post dance class talks with Nicole’ you’ll just have to come dance with us at Be One Yoga on Friday mornings!

Email Wendy at imspa@hotmail.com to request a massage appointment.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, runner, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, Master Massage Therapist, massage therapy educator, and gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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Betrayal of Age

The frisbee came flying at me and as I moved to catch it I tripped over this step in my yard.  It was one of those falls in infinite slow motion.  I was going down incrementally, with each new hit I thought surely that was the end of the fall, but it just kept going.  I tripped, my leg hit the step, then my hip, and I thought, ‘surely this is it,’ but no, then my upper body toppled over and hit the shed.

That’s right nursing humans.  I’m a fall risk.

When I finally came to rest my kids were silent.  I think if I were 30 years old we would have all been laughing our butts off.  But when you are almost 50 and you fall people get scared.

Levi came over to help me up, but I needed to make sure I hadn’t broken anything before I moved because the pain was pretty intense.  Zach said, “That looked bad.”

In my head I was thinking, “this is what it looks like when an almost 50 year old woman plays frisbee with the kids.”

There are defining moments when we have to face the betrayals of age.  When I discovered that the painful feeling in my fingers was never going to go away because I had arthritis–that was one of those moments.  My kids’ reaction to my fall was another one.

In my job as a nurse I have patients who tell me, “this has been a wake up call for me.”  These are the words of a patient who came into the hospital with blood sugar of 690 (normal blood sugar is 60-100).  Or the alcoholic who suffered debilitating seizures while detoxing and knows that he might not survive another bout with the bottle.

When we’re younger we can get away with eating all of the things.  We can get away with drinking too much.  Our body can recover from all of the abuses we inflict on ourselves–for a while.  We are invincible.  And then, usually incrementally, sometimes suddenly, the betrayal of age sets in.  Many times it’s incremental and we continue to ignore it until it smacks us to the ground.

If you ignore the smackdown, things don’t go well.  Whether it’s limiting the number of massages you do in a week, getting into an alcohol recovery program, adhering to the diet restrictions that keep you from getting an A1C of 14 (that’s really bad for diabetics), taking up exercise, meditation, massage, and relaxation practices to help keep your blood pressure down, if you don’t make those changes life becomes incredibly difficult.  And not just on you, but on everybody who cares about you.

I guess that means I need to be a more cautious frisbee player.  Dylan Thomas comes to mind.  I don’t want to have to be careful!!  My bruises are still healing, but I was able to get a chiropractic adjustment today, and when my bruises clear up I’ll get a massage.

The underlying message in all of these things is to stay open to new ways of living, new ways of eating, new ways of managing health.  It is inevitable that the betrayal of age will hit us all at some point, and our quality of life is directly related to whether we are open to adapting to those new normals.

Or maybe I just need to pay better attention to my surroundings eh?  Yep.  Cuz I’m a doofus.

 

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Last Chance to Sign up for Thai Massage Class in January

We have a good Thai Massage class shaping up for the weekend of the 27th and 28th.  If you were thinking of taking it and haven’t made the commitment yet, now is the time!  Thai massage is a much different modality from traditional Swedish.  It’s an invigorating massage with goals of unblocking Thai energy meridians, relaxing the body, and improving range of motion with stretches.  I’m excited to bring this work to Northwest Arkansas.  If you haven’t tried Thai you don’t know what your missing!  Come join us!

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Always Get a Session Before Attending the Continuing Education Class

Twenty four years ago I studied Shiatsu in a continuing education class with internationally trained therapist Valerie Wonsower.  I remember that we were a rowdy bunch of students (you would think adult students in massage classes would behave better than that, but not even), and Valerie was soft spoken and I remember her being flustered with our rowdiness.  It’s been years since I’ve had one of Valerie’s classes, so maybe she has toughened up over the years, but at the time, we were out of control.

Valerie broke down the energy meridians and the technical way to use pressure.  Technically we were trained step-by-step how to give a professional Shiatsu massage.  We had all the components and the technical know how.  We had experienced the method from her during the class, we had experimented with the technique on each other, and we had received–in a very segmented way–the way every class has to be–Shiatsu massage.

Twenty years later I ran into Valerie and scheduled with her for the first time ever, a one hour Shiatsu massage.

I was shocked at the difference between my segmented school experience and the reality of a well orchestrated, integrated composition her Shiatsu session gave me.  They were two completely different experiences.  I can’t adequately describe the cohesion of that session.  It was rhythmic, hypnotic, fluid, solid, precise, and beautiful.  These are things you can’t pick up from a class that offers segments of training.  For instance, “now we are going to learn the Shiatsu pressure points of the forearm.”

I know that if I had gone into her Shiatsu class 24 years ago knowing what a complete Shiatsu massage experience could be like I would have come out with a totally different understanding and goal for myself as a therapist.

It is a completely different experience to understand the components of a modality than it is to have a fully integrated, uninterrupted session of bodywork in that modality.

I would encourage you to always experience the bodywork in totality before you ever take the class–regardless of the modality.  It will change your experience for the better.

If you are attending the Thai Massage class offered at Blue Cliff on January 27 and 28 I have some availability on some Fridays and Sundays if you would like to book a session of Thai Massage.  I am also offering a $20 discount for a Thai massage session to therapists who are already registered for the January class.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 24 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 

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Massage Availability

After closing the spa on Block street in downtown Fayetteville I didn’t massage a body for about a year and a half.  I have arthritis in my fingers and mashing the hell out of people didn’t seem like a good idea at all.  But life is a process.

My sister in law called me one day and she couldn’t get off the floor.  Debilitating back pain. I went to her house where she was attempting to not move and worked at softening her muscle spasms.  I saw her a few times and finally when she was able to get into a car she came to my house for a massage.  It was when she was in my house with my table up, the spa music going, and the silent reverence of the space we create for massage that I thought, “I could do this.”  Not like I did before, but a little bit.  It’s such gratifying work.  The challenge is to find a balance and only do what I can do comfortably.

So, I have been posting on Facebook times when I know I have availability, usually on Fridays and Sundays.  I am restarting my email newsletter.  And feel free to email, text, fb message, or call if you would like to check on availability, especially if you are in pain.

If you haven’t liked the Integrated Massage Page yet you can do that here: https://www.facebook.com/integratedmassagespa/  Often that is the first place you will see massage appointment availability.

Wendy Finn RN, BSN, MMT is a med-surge nurse, a master massage therapist, a raw food and massage therapy educator, mother of four sons, runner, dance and yoga instructor, and overall life enthusiast.  Follow on www.Facebook.com/integratedmassagespa/ , Twitter (@cleanburnfood), and Instagram (@cleanburningfood)

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Doing Massage Again

I haven’t practiced massage therapy for a year and a half, mainly because of the arthritis in my hands.  But my sister in law hurt her back and could hardly get off the floor for about 6  weeks.  She was even on the way to surgery but made a narrow escape and is now in the process of finding a balance and living with herniated discs.  She may opt in for surgery later, but for now she is managing and healing.

Anyway, while she was horizontal and unable to move without excruciating pain, I was in her toolbox to help her manage and move toward getting pain free.  As I was working with her it felt so empowering to be back doing the work I love and I thought, “I could do this.”

So now I’m not doing 12 hours in a massage room in a day the way I was.  I’m doing a limited number of massages to spare my fingers.  But it feels great to be back doing what I love, helping people get out of pain,  and reconnecting with the people I miss.

If you are not already friends with my page on Facebook then go click ‘Like’ and get notifications so that you can see any updates.

https://www.facebook.com/integratedmassagespa/

Let me know if you’ve been dying for a therapist and haven’t found anybody since we left Block Street!

Wendy

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Make That Phone Call…479-251-7422

It’s been a whirlwind shutting down the spa.  So many people dropped by while we were getting rid of things, moving things, and cleaning up.  It has been wonderful to connect with you all one last time at the spa, and heartwarming to see all the people reaching out to connect and share how much they loved coming to I.M. Spa.

I have always felt grateful for my ability to connect with people at the spa.  Grateful that people allowed me the honor of connecting with them on that level.  There is no other job on the planet where you can give another human your undivided attention for a whole hour in that way, providing a supportive environment on the table for release and healing.  A special thank you to all the people who intentionally did business with us consistently and unwaveringly throughout the years.  You know who you are.  We would not have been able to have such a stable business for 10 years without your support.  So much gratitude!! Thank you for being such an important part of my life.

I have so many things I want to do now.  You can follow me on my new adventures by putting your email address in the ‘subscribe’ box on the upper right hand corner of this blog.

So, if you have not already heard, Fiddlehead Fern Therapeutics is taking over our client load.  Many of you will remember Jesse Lynn from the earlier days of I.M. Spa.  She did the first mobile spa party for 10 women with me 10 years ago.  OMG that was sooo much work preparing for that, making sure that we had everything we needed to pull that off seemlessly.  Both of us were nursing babies at the time, her son Rubin and my fourth son Ben.  I know she and her colleagues at the Fern will take good care of you.  All you have to do to make an appointment is call our phone number 479-251-7422.

Linay Walker was new to our staff this year.  She gave an amazing and therapeutic massage and had quite a following.  She can be found at  Santos Chiropractic where they offer a $50 one hour massage and an $80 hour and a half massage:

Santos Chiropractic (479-464-4413)
1706 SE Walton Blvd., Suite 6
Bentonville, AR 72712

 

Lisa Fogel has been our acupuncturist for years and years.  I love her.  I especially love how she is just as nerdy about acupuncture as I am about health and massage.  She is always sharing articles with me of research on the effectiveness of acupuncture.  So great. Her new office is:  479-435-3901

 Fayetteville Acupuncture

2013 Green Acres Road, Suite D,

Fayetteville, AR 72703 (Gray Building behind Enve Salon)

Nora has worked with me for almost 10 years and she is in the same boat as me physically.  She has decided to retire from massage therapy because of pain related to practice.  She has touched so many people and will be greatly missed.  I love getting massages from Nora.  Trading days were good days, though there were not as many as their should have been.

The Breast Center scooped up our fabulous Natalie.  You will probably see her when you go for your biannual breast mashing.  She will be helping women dealing with breast cancer which is a huge thing.  We’re really fortunate to have such good people on that mission over at the Breast Center.

Thank you for your patience with this transition.  The community has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive, and always I feel so fortunate to live with all of you here in Fayetteville.  We really have a great community y’all.

Love, love, love,

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, student nurse tech at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 22 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 

 

 

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The New Normal

We have startling news for everybody about I.M. Spa.

In July I was playing catch with my son Ben in the city pool with a waterlogged ball and it jammed my finger.  The thing never healed and in November I went to get it X-rayed because it seemed ridiculous that it wouldn’t have healed in that amount of time.  VA health care is amazing.  They X-rayed my finger in all possible directions and called me in November with the verdict.  Arthritis.

At first I was like hm.  That sucks.  And I went back to work thinking nothing more of it.

In the next couple of weeks I noticed that all my fingers ached.  They felt like the had gum or taffy around the joints, my hands ached when I did massages, and I was having pain with everyday use.  Playing volleyball with my boys jarred my fingers, Whenever Craig would squeeze my hands, a loving gesture, it surprised us both when I yelped in pain.  Opening jars in the kitchen was a challenge.

It took me a while to comprehend what having arthritis in my fingers meant to me in the grand scheme of things.  I have discovered that it means I can no longer practice massage therapy. Yes, my doctor had to tell me this before I got the hint, especially since doing massage for 22 years caused the problem to begin with.

This is the new normal.

So, I.M. Spa had just started renovating the new space for expansion.  We were adding a yoga studio and an extra treatment room, as well as building in plans to expand and include a smoothie bar when my life wasn’t so complicated with nursing school.  We had just bought $350 worth of body wax and thousands in Eminence products.

Towards the end of December it was clear that there was no other decision to make.  We had to close I.M. Spa.

What does this mean to you if you are a client?  We are in the process of negotiating a new home for our clients.  You don’t need to worry about using your gift certificates.  There will be a place for you to go, but because this happened so fast we are still navigating that territory.  When we get it sorted out (within the next couple of weeks) we will give you detailed instructions.  You should be able to simply call the same number and book an appointment in the new location.

If you currently have an appointment you will be rescheduled.  It’s going to be okay.  We anticipate having a ton of phone calls in reaction to this information.  I would encourage you to wait a couple weeks to call  (Mid-January) while we find a home for you.  If you feel like you can’t wait, then please leave a detailed message when you do call.

I feel very fortunate for being able to touch people the way we have been able to with I.M. Spa.  I have worked on this business for 10 years and it has been amazing.  Our clients are fabulous, a wonderful network of extended family that I will miss immensely.

Building this business has taught me so much.  I have learned that I have tremendous stamina and drive (enough to crush the cartilege in between my finger joints :).  I have learned to do accounting, marketing, managing, human resources, retail (not the favorite), and conflict resolution.  I have learned how tremendously difficult it is to be a small business owner and I love our community of small business owners in downtown Fayetteville.  They exist because you consciously choose to support them.  I have learned that I love helping people, and no matter where I end up, I know that that is what I want to do.

If you know anybody who needs an awesome, organized, reliable, loyal, good tempered problem solver let us know, because sweet Natalie needs a job now.  She definitely gets stuff done!  Don’t have them contact me unless they plan to pay her well and take good care of her because she deserves it.

Thank you for supporting I.M. Spa for the past 10 years.  And keep an eye out for our next newsletter!!

Love, love, love,  and Happy New Year!!                                                                                                                                                         Wendy

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, student nurse tech at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 22 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 

 

 

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Gratitude and Abundance!

It has been almost 2 years since my husband Craig and I both decided to go to nursing school full time.  At the time I didn’t think there was any way possible for me to continue with I.M. Spa and be in school full time, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to keep walking into our space and connecting with our community through health and massage.  I’m grateful to our staff because they truly are the ones who have made it happen.

 

We’re also grateful to you. Without you choosing to get massage, facials, acupuncture, and waxing at I.M. Spa we would not be here. Thank you for choosing I.M. Spa for your bodywork needs.  I’m so honored every time I walk into a treatment room that I get to share that space with this community.

 

I am busier than I have ever been at this point in my life. I work with I.M. Spa, I go to nursing school full time, I have a part time job at the VA as a student nurse tech to get experience, and I have 3 of my 4 kids at home doing everything they do.  Thank goodness we have such an amazing community helping us out. Friends helping pick up our kids from school when we’re in class, friends helping kids get where they need to go, community everywhere supporting us all along the way.  You know who you are :). Fayetteville is an amazing place and I can’t imagine making it through without this beautiful combination of people in our community.  We’re so grateful.

 

I’m really looking forward to getting done with nursing school in May of 2016!  What a relief that will be!  We’ll have to have a party!

 

There are some exciting changes in the works for I.M. Spa.  We are moving to Evelyn Hills (next to Ozark Natural Foods, Uncle Sam’s, Cardamom & Curry, Treasures from Africa, and Handmade) and expanding to include a yoga studio. Downtown has been good to us. We are looking forward to more great neighbors, great parking, a place for you to drop off your kids while you get a facial or do a yoga class (Arkadia), and continuing doing what we do best.

We’ll keep you posted as the transition happens. We’ll be on Block Street till the beginning of January. And then we’ll have a big party in the new space!!  In August we will have been on Block Street for 6 years! Hard to believe.  It has been a sweet time.
Thank you for continuing to support I.M. Spa!  We look forward to serving you. It’s a favorite.
Love, love, love,
Wendy Finn
Schedule a massage, facial, acupuncture, or wax appointment at I.M. Spa:  479-251-7422
Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, student nurse tech at the VA hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422
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