Hands On/Massage Practitioner Has the Magic Touch

by Nathan Oravec

“If you’re uncomfortable, you’re not going to relax,” says Karey Lucas. “That’s what I see as the biggest problem with the massage industry - it’s misunderstood - it’s unknown... for some people, it’s scary.”

That’s why the twenty year old Lucas, a state and nationally certified massage practitioner, always offers potential clients a free consultation at Southern Sun Studios in Hagerstown, where she currently offers her services. “I invite them to come back to [the massage room] so they can see what it’s like.”

Lucas says she draws from her own past when dealing with first-timers. “When I had my first massage, I had no idea what it was going to involve - I didn’t know anything,” she continues. “So I can bring my own experiences to situations. It helps me build a basis with my clients. I want people to feel comfortable with me.”

In fact, Lucas decided early on that she wanted to do something to help people feel good. “After high school I decided that I was not going to have a job that I didn’t enjoy,” she says. “I’ve always liked being around people. And I was always giving close friends massages - their shoulders or hands or feet - and after a while, I started to get a lot of compliments - people telling me, ‘You’re really good at this.’”

She would pursue her gift, completing a 500-hour course at the Blue Ridge Summit, PA-based Synergy Healing Arts & Massage Center, fulfilling the Maryland State and National requirements to become a massage practitioner.

“Synergy was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” she says. “They were very hands-on,” she notes - no pun intended, “instead of ‘here’s a book to teach you modality.’ They really helped me through it.”

Continually practicing her trade, Lucas has considered furthering her education to achieve massage therapist status, which would allow her to use her gifts within the medical field with medical professionals.

In the meantime, she is enjoying her role as Southern Sun’s sole resident masseuse, offering relaxation, therapeutic and energy-boosting massage to her customers.

“I absolutely love it,” she beams. “I love getting up to go to work in the morning.” A friend of Southern Sun owners Vikki and Dan Moore, Lucas had fielded other job offers throughout Hagerstown. “I decided that this was the best place to accommodate what I do, though,” she says. “They care a lot about me - and they are doing a lot to help me with my career. And it’s a nice, relaxing environment.”

While Lucas specializes in a variety of therapeutic and relaxation massage, aiding with such physical and mental health issues as stress reduction, blood pressure, muscle relaxation, chronic pain, etc., some, she says, are requested more than others.

The first, and most common style of the massages Lucas offers, is known as Swedish. This, she says, is a basic, gentle relaxation massage manipulating the muscles and connective tissues of the body. “It has so many benefits both internally and externally,” Lucas notes.

A deep-tissue massage, she explains, operates on the same idea as the Swedish, but instead of working superficial muscles toward the surface, reaches deeper - closer to the bone. “Deep-tissue massage is good for a bigger, more robust person,” says Lucas, adding, “or one who’s hurting a lot.” Using slow strokes and direct pressure with fingers, thumbs and elbows, deep-tissue massage has been used to treat individuals with chronic pain.

Craniosacral therapy, involving a massage of the bones of the skull and lower spine, has been linked to the improvement of a number of health conditions, including migraines, chronic neck and back pain, infantile disorders, brain and spinal chord injuries, chronic fatigue, ADD, ADHD, and many others. Dating back to the 1800s, the therapy, says Lucas, “is not new, but at the same time, not really well-known. It’s a really gentle way of healing, that works internally to help an individual health-wise,” she says. “It’s wonderful for migraines and headaches.”

“Whenever a body goes through a trauma - it tends to repeat that trauma,” Lucas continues. “Craniosacral therapy can help to stop that pattern.”

In addition, Lucas offers sports specific massage, pre and post, treating injured areas with ice and heat packs to reduce swelling, etc. The massage, she says, is available for athletes, as well as anyone who is involved in a lot of physical exertion.

“All of these things speak for themselves. You just have to feel it to believe it.”

Most massages, she notes, are 60 minutes. “We do offer 30 minute sessions, but once you’re on the table for 30 minutes - you’re going to want the full hour.” Prices range from $50 for a Swedish massage to $65 Sports Specific based on a one-hour session. Packages can also be customized to fit individual needs.

Lucas has been with Southern Sun for a little over a month, now. Massage is available through appointment only, with hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other times are available by special arrangements one week in advance.

“I know a lot of people only get massages on vacation, but it’s really something you should do [more often],” says Lucas. “It’s really something you should do all the time. It’s a great tune-up for your body.”

“And it feels so great - why would you not want to?”

For more information, call 240-313-9450. Southern Sun Studio is located at 71 Eastern Boulevard North in the Centre at Antietam Creek.