Sara Braddock has always wanted to live her adult life in Letcher County, but wasn’t sure how she could earn a living in the place where she was born and raised.
After graduating from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Braddock, of Jenkins, became interested in the art of massage therapy and started working on earning her massage therapist’s license after determining there was a need for her services in this area.
“I had many job options [away from Letcher County], but I wanted to come home and give back to my community, which has given so much to me,” Braddock said recently. “I love my home and I love my mountains.”
Braddock, a 2009 graduate of Jenkins High School, now owns and operates Relax Therapeutic Massage, which is located inside the Platinum Salon on Main Street in Jenkins. She opened the business last year after receiving her required training at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy and earning a license from the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Massage Therapy.
The Mayo Clinic, the renowned medical and research facility in Rochester, Minnesota, defines massage therapy “as a type of treatment in which a trained and certified medical professional manipulates the soft tissues of your body — muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and skin — using varying degrees of pressure and movement. Massage is generally considered part of complementary and integrative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.”
Braddock says the type of massage therapy for which she’s Iicensed is often recommended to help those who suffer from anxiety or depression, headaches, stomach problems, fibromyalgia, arthritis, insomnia, sports injuries, soft tissue strains or injuries, back and neck problems, and joint pain.
Braddock offers 60-, 45-, and 30-minute full body Swedish massages, deep tissue massages, pregnancy massages, and 15-minute foot massages. All massages come with hot stone therapy, she said.
Braddock cautions that massage therapy isn’t meant to be a replacement for regular medical care.
“You need to talk to your doctor and let him or her know you are trying massage therapy and be sure to follow any standard plans you have,” she said.
Braddock’s mother, Brenda, hopes that other young Letcher Countians can follow her daughter’s lead and seek out an occupation that both fills a need and allows them to stay home to earn a living.
“Let’s support our young entrepreneurs every way we can,” Brenda Braddock said. “They are the future of our county.”
Relax Therapeutic Massage is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. While walk-ins are welcome, those wishing to make a reservation may call (606)821-6515; (606)424-5192, or (606)832- 0020.