Warm ocean breezes, the scent of salt in the air, a cold, refreshing drink — and a massage. Sounds like the life — and just the inspiration Jessica Edwards needed to become a massage therapist.
“I lived in the Virgin Islands for two years and got my first massage there,” she remembers. “There was this trick she used, almost like magic. It was a certain pressure point and it made me turn to butter.”
Edwards, a Ludlow, Miss. native who attended Mississippi State University, says she was sucked into the bar and restaurant business for a time — 15 years to be more exact — and was really good at it. She met her husband Wesley at Ole Tavern, where he’s now the manager.
Deciding to go back to school, Edwards finished in 2008 as a Licensed Massage Therapist, but took a long hiatus after her pregnancy with daughter, Hollis. She always planned to go back to work but Hollis was born with a congenital brain abnormality. Edwards says, “The first two years were dedicated to taking care of her.”
She worked at Ole Tavern for a while, but says she thought, “What am I doing?” “I got sucked back in,” she says, “and fought my way back out.”
The day Eclesius Franklin’s Gifted Hands Massage moved out of his space in the basement of Fondren Corner, Edwards says she almost ran to (building manager) Mike Peter’s office. “It was a sign that I needed to get back into massage therapy,” she says. It’s also the place where she will open Mellow, Inc., a massage therapy center, by December 1.
Cramming all summer long, Edwards caught up on her continuing education units and was recertified in CPR and first aid. “I’m excited,” she says. “I’ve been refreshing my brain on everything I learned in school.” And, she’s been refreshing her space with new paint and carpet.
Mellow, Inc. will specialize in relaxation and deep tissue massage. “It’s mainly for people with high tense muscles and knots, especially those that sit in front of a computer all day,” she explains. “Massage helps with circulation and pain. People don’t realize how awful they felt until they leave here (feeling better).”
Edwards is also certified in prenatal massage. She says she enjoys that more than anything. “Being someone who has been pregnant, I know all about all the new aches and pains you start having,” she says.Â For those apprehensive about massage, Edwards will offer a chair massage, especially for those in a time crunch. She says, “We can do a quick 15 minutes and it gets the blood flowing. It makes a world of difference.”
The 38 year-old also taken course work in infant and child massage. “It helps with bonding and helps the child develop better senses,” she explains. Edwards will help new mothers learn the technique so that they can practice the massage at home.
Edwards is passionate about massage, but also about children with special needs and disabilities. “I’m all about inclusion, making sure they get the education they need and having a plan for them individually,” she says. Like their daughter Hollis, now three, who, Edwards says is doing better, especially after a diet change that has “helped more than three years worth of pharmaceuticals.”
Learning how to make their daughter’s life better has inspired Edwards to help make other’s lives better, too. “Aside from pain medication or muscle relaxers, just changing your lifestyle makes a world of difference,” she says. “Get someone to help you learn how to be more relaxed, even taking five minutes away from everything and focusing on nothing helps tremendously.”
Mellow, Inc. will open in December and celebrate a grand opening in early 2014. The office will be open by appointment only. Edwards says it gives her time to make sure her daughter is taken care of, too.
“I’m about to start doing what I love – on my own terms — and I’m so excited.”
Gift certificates will be available. Check out Mellow, Inc. on Facebook.