By Jeff Theodore, Contributing Writer
REGION – Getting a massage is more of a necessity than a luxury because it benefits health and well-being, according to 86 percent of people polled in a recent survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association.
This theory aligns with Andrew and Jill Dudka’s belief that they provide vital community service as owners of Elements massage studios in Shrewsbury and Mansfield.
“We help people with injuries, cancer survivors, pregnant women and those just under stress,” says Andrew, a business executive with extensive experience in manufacturing and operations.
Ten years ago, Andrew and his wife, Jill, a longtime math professor at college in Blackstone, Massachusetts, sought to open a massage franchise as a way to “take our destiny into our own hands.”
“It was exciting to hire staff, build the store, manage the software and learn more about massage,” said Andrew. “Our goal was to open a legitimate and therapeutic practice.
Fast forward a decade and the couple own two thriving studios that employ around 40 massage therapists, performing up to 1,700 massages per month. The studios operate on a membership-based model. Currently, Dudka studios have approximately 1,400 members.
“There is no commitment to become a member, but it does give people the option of having a session with a preferred therapist or skipping a month and banking a session that they can use anytime,” explains Andrew.
Therapists are state licensed and undergo rigorous training that requires both written and practical testing.
“When we interview therapists, we ask them what their background is and what they can bring to the client they think is unique,” says Andrew. “A good massage therapist must be a good team player, communicate with clients and meet their needs. The customer should feel better when leaving than when entering.
Massage modalities offered at Elements Studios range from deep tissue massages, which relieve pain and reduce muscle stiffness, to Swedish massages, which are painless and designed to increase blood circulation while calming the body.
Andrew says deep tissue and Swedish massages are the most popular in his studios. He added, however, that an add-on service that requires the application of CBD oil during massage is becoming increasingly popular.
“Once people try it, they love it,” Andrew says of CBD oil. “It tends to relieve pain longer. People are delighted that this is now legal in Massachusetts and that we can offer something. “
Cupping, a form of alternative medicine where cupping is applied to areas of the body to reduce inflammation, is another highly requested additional service, says Andrew.
“For some clients, deep tissue massages can be painful,” he says. “Cupping does the same thing as deep tissue, but it’s less painful and a great option for our customers. “
For the Dudkas, they hope to remain an option that clients will trust as massage educators, especially when it comes to safety.
“We always tell our customers and employees that safety is our top priority,” says Andrew. “It’s in regards to COVID and personal safety with their bodies. In the future, I hope to grow our business, but do so in a way that encourages people to know that we will be looking out for you.
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