Columbia boasts a booming medical community, but health care here isn’t limited to our wealth of hospitals and clinics. Holistic health is a growing industry, and Columbia is home to numerous small businesses dedicated to treating the whole person — body, mind and spirit.
“Holistic health looks at the body as a unit,” says Barb Duggan, owner of Connective Health Massage Therapy. “It’s a unit with parts, for sure, but everything is connected.”
From alternative therapies to Eastern-inspired medicine to diet recommendations and more, these local businesses are helping Columbians reach optimal wellness.
A health treatment rapidly growing in popularity across the United States, cryotherapy uses cold temperatures (-180 degrees F to -240 degrees F) to safely lower your body temperature. When exposed to the cold air, the body is tricked into a defensive response — even though it’s in no danger at all — quickly sending blood, oxygen and nutrients to the skin and in doing so reducing inflammation and pain and increasing collagen production. This process leads to what Element Cryotherapy notes are four main health benefits: recovery, beauty, weight loss and overall health and wellness. Cryotherapy sessions last only three minutes, and because the air in the treatment chamber is dry, the temperature doesn’t feel as cold as it sounds. The business offers localized cryotherapy, cryotherapy facials and NormaTec services, as well.
2901 W. Broadway, No. 115
Connective Health Massage Therapy
In addition to more traditional massage therapy services — full-body relaxation, deep tissue and prenatal massage; hot stone therapy; and infrared sauna therapy — Connective Health Massage offers neuromuscular therapy (NMT) that addresses muscle dysfunction, chronic pain, breathing problems and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.
“Massage is about whole-body functionality,” owner Barb Duggan says. “Often the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and fascia) contribute to dysfunction even when they are not torn.
We are an added resource for traditional medicine to help speed recovery through soft tissue work, reducing scar tissue, increasing flexibility and improving balance and stability.”
NMT gives therapists specific protocols that are research-based to alleviate pain and dysfunction. “Anatomy is the touchstone of our training, not only the muscles but also the common referral pain patterns and the muscular compensation patterns that pain forces the body into,” Duggan says. “Our massage therapists are looking for physical root cause of dysfunction, so we tend to ask more questions and will work on areas like the abdominals or muscles related to breathing to uncover more of the contributing factors of dysfunction and pain. We want people to experience more freedom of movement in their bodies.”
Training is a key factor to NMT and other massage therapy success. Duggan is certified in NMT with more than 200 hours of training, and five other therapists bring a combined 800-plus hours of advanced training to the table.
3211 S. Providence Road, Suite 105
Clarity Float Spa
Said to relieve stress, muscle tension, pain, anxiety and more, floating is a relaxation practice that involves submerging your body in shallow water (about 10 inches deep) with magnesium sulfate content. The high salt content makes the body more buoyant in the water, allowing you to “float.” At Clarity Float Spa, this occurs either in the Dream Pod, a “futuristic, sleep and womb-like” device or the Dream Cabin, a larger flotation device (tall enough to stand up in) that “feels more like floating through outer space.” Floats last 90 minutes and deliver a deep sense of calm.
309 S. Providence Road
Nikki Aleto Coaching
Nikki Aleto is an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, which means she utilizes EFT to help clients let go of their emotional barriers and negative energy, addressing everything from money issues, fear of flying and anxiety to job issues, parent conflict, test anxiety and more. According to Aleto, “EFT combines the exposing of a stressful experience with physical light tapping on specific meridian endpoints, calming the brain while desensitizing the issue at hand.”
“It is my job to ask a lot of questions — I need to get specific,” she says of her client sessions. “I need to make sure the client feels comfortable so that they feel safe opening up to me. I am looking for ‘triggers,’ points in their story that make them uncomfortable. When I find them, we tap on them. We keep tapping until the issue is nonthreatening to them anymore. We tap until they can talk about the issue and not have any negative emotion surrounding it.” Aleto offers both in-person and online sessions.
Karma Care LLC
A self-described “metaphysical shop” in Columbia, Karma Care LLC offers bio-matting services by appointment for those seeking healing and detoxification. Combining infrared light, negative ion technology and amethyst crystals, Biomats are FDA-licensed medical devices said to deliver therapeutic healing benefits such as pain relief, improved circulation and stress reduction.
1414 Rangeline St., Suite B
Heart, Body & Soul
A “one-stop shop for centered, conscious living,” Heart, Body & Soul offers products for healthy living as well as services that promote overall well-being. Mary Cruise, a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist specializing in traditional Chinese medicine, offers acupuncture and massage services, and guest practitioners offer Reiki and ThetaHealer services, as well.
1004 W. Worley St.