Valerie Judd believes in taking care of your mind, body and soul.
That’s something I can absolutely get behind.
If we’re taking care of skin, our hair and nails and going to the gym or eating right to care for our bodies, we need to also put in the work to care for our minds and beyond.
Judd is a licensed massage therapist who operates out of private practices in Scranton and Hazleton, as well as Wayne Physiatry LLC in Honesdale. She does traditional body work therapies but also incorporates guided mediation and breathing exercises into each session for the ultimate mix of healing mentally, physically and metaphysically.
“We need to take care of our bodies and listen to our bodies,” she said during a recent afternoon. “We sometimes get caught in the day-to-day and we don’t take the time to really hear what our bodies are saying to us or give it attention. We’re often the last one we take care of. Being kind to ourselves is a part of loving ourselves.”
She discovered the healing nature of massage therapy at a young age, after her grandfather was diagnosed with bone cancer. She saw firsthand how therapeutic massage could be as it could provide intense relief. She studied massage therapy at Pennsylvania School of Massage Therapy and also is a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, having studied more than 100 dietary theories and principles and practical lifestyle coaching methods.
In her practices, she offers body work services including classic Swedish massage, to reduce pain, joint stiffness and also receive stress; deep tissue to promote recovery and healing especially after an injury; Ayurvedic, which stimulates and promotes lymphatic drainage; hot stone therapy; reflexology; Thai massage and more
Judd also is trained in energy work and breathing meditation as well as Dosha balancing massage, which helps with balancing mood or mental state that’s related to the weather; Shirodara, which is beneficial for treatment of anxiety, insomnia, stress, PTSD and more; and Alignment of the Chakras, or centers of spiritual power throughout our bodies.
She’s also a reiki practitioner, which is Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. Reiki is known to promote the body’s natural healing processes and helps to create emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Judd believes in each piece of the body working together.
“We need to eat right or exercise to stay healthy physically but you also should be spiritually healthy,” she said. “It refocuses our attention and energy to a positive space.”
I have to admit I was super nervous before the session but Judd immediately calmed my nerves (though she later let on she sensed my initial apprehension the moment she put her hands on me.) It helps that Judd herself has a calming presence which, personally, I think has a lot to do with feeling comfortable getting energy work done. You need to feel safe and supported and Judd made me feel that way as soon as she began the session.
She did some body work but also some reiki and guided meditation. I’ve had massages before but they way Judd combines meditation and breathing exercises truly made the entire experience more enjoyable and relaxing. My brain not only shut off but I had a clear mind. I felt refreshed and peaceful immediately after. In the next few days, I’ve felt more creative and productive than I had in a long time. It was a total reset and something I never knew I needed.
Getting a massage is seen in our culture as a “pampering” when, in fact, it’s something we should be doing more of. Our bodies our machines and they need maintenance. It reflects Judd’s philosophy about taking care of the whole package: body, mind and spirit. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I absolutely love it. I love massage therapy,” she said. “To help others heal, to help them just be able feel better or to at least get started feeling better, finding balance, finding peace … I want to share it with whoever I can.”
Find more information or book an appointment with Judd. For Scranton or Hazleton, call or text 570-614-8179, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For Wayne Physiatry LLC, 600 Maple Ave., Honesdale, call 570-253-1005.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT