Wednesday, June 04, 2014
FLORENCE — Tranquility Day Spa & Salon in Florence is offering free services for clients with cancer. They can make a 30-minute appointment for the first Monday of every month, starting June 2, for a service ranging from facial treatments, to manicures to wig styling.
Lynn LaFountain, who has owned Tranquility at 40 Main St. for five years, is passionate about helping people with cancer and said that, “While I’m healthy, I feel like I should be giving back to other people.”
LaFountain and her staff have raising over $12,000 during the past three years for the American Cancer Society. However, she also wanted to see the people she was helping.
LaFountain turned to the Cancer Connection in Florence, which offers free programs and support for people living with cancer. LaFountain knew that the Cancer Connection did not receive any of the money raised for the American Cancer Society, and asked what she could do to help people in her community who are living with cancer.
“I felt like there was something more I could be doing,” said LaFountain. After watching the documentary “Mondays at Racine,” about two sisters who opened their hair salon to women with cancer, “I said that’s it! That’s what I should be doing,” recalled LaFountain.
She decided to call her free service “T’s Tranquil Mondays.” The T stands for Teresa, who is one of many clients, friends, and acquaintances diagnosed with form of cancer.
With such a heavy emphasis on medical treatment for patients with cancer, LaFountain wanted to make sure that their personal needs, as well as the medical ones, were met. She hopes to do this with a safe haven where people can relax and enjoy themselves.
“People who are going through cancer treatment, it becomes their job” because they don’t always have “an entire village to help them,” said LaFountain.
Many people come to Tranquility after work because they feel stress, she said. “When cancer becomes ‘your job,’ (patients) should have somewhere that they can get away and try and release some of their stress, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Menu of services
LaFountain and her staff put together a menu of 30-minute services which include wig styling, soothing facial treatments, Tamer Massage Therapy, manicures, and pedicures.
“I think we will have a lot of people. Each person can choose one from the menu, and then we can get more people in,” said LaFountain. Tranquility, which is currently closed on Mondays, will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Monday of every month for this service.
“We try to be conscious of (clients’) feelings,” said LaFountain. “Everybody’s here, and they’re all in it together.”
LaFountain is also hoping that “T’s Tranquil Mondays” will become a social event for people, even if they do not want a service or have not booked an appointment ahead of time.
“They can talk to other people who are going through what they’re going through, and they can feel comfortable. If they want to take their wig off, they can take their wig off, you know?” said LaFountain. “… I encourage everyone to come and socialize and visit. Everybody here is going to be in the same boat, so they’re all going through the same thing.”
Along with the staff at Tranquility, other specialists will help with “T’s Tranquil Mondays.” Nanci Newton, an oncology massage therapist, saw a press release for the service, thought “that’s such a great thing,” and gave the salon a call.
Newton began practicing oncology massage when her aunt was diagnosed with colon cancer and wanted a massage. At the time, Newton was in massage therapy school and had been taught that it was not safe to work with people with cancer, mainly because physicians did not know if massages were harmful. Newton and a small group of students began to look into why people believed massage therapy could be harmful to cancer patients.
Newton has been practicing oncology massage for 15 years, and has her own business, The Healing Zone Therapeutic Massage, in Hadley.
Newton taught LaFountain and her staff about how to massage patients with cancer, and offered to serve as a consultant and resource for the spa if they had any questions about working with patients with cancer.
“The massage really isn’t that different. The questions they ask are different, and adaptations they make are more specific,” said Newton.
“We want to be prepared,” said LaFountain. “We want all of our clients on ‘T’s Tranquil Monday’ to have a really great, wonderful experience.”
“I’m excited about the teamwork, and I’m glad to be getting the word out that people with cancer and cancer histories can get a really good, safe, massage,” said Newton.
LaFountain encourages clients to book appointments early by calling 413-584-0353. “I have people who are already booking for July,” said LaFountain. “Our spa fills up quickly.”
“You know, I’m very passionate about this. I feel very strongly about this,” said LaFountain. “It took five years to realize that it’s not just supposed to be a spa and salon. I think it’s OK to say we’re excited about it.”