By Martin Couch
Steve Lawhon was told he had the touch when it came to giving massages, so the former ER paramedic decided to listen to advice from his friends and co-workers.
On Thursday afternoon, Lawhon and his partner Nichole Stonebraker had a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Bryant Chamber of Commerce introducing the new Tropical Touch Massage Clinic.[more]
"I went to massage therapy school at American University of Healing Arts and I decided to open up my own place," Lawhon said. "I want to make people happy doing massages. It helps them relax and sort of centers them so they have more harmony in their lives."
Lawhon decided on the Bryant area on north Highway 5 near Midtown Bryant to cater to the businessmen and women of the area and offers a wide variety of massages to suit patrons' needs.
In July, Tropical Touch is offering $10 off on every type of massage except for half-hour massages. Among the most popular of the massages offered is the Swedish, which is a 60-minute session for $70. Couples massages are $130 for both husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend getting treatment in the same room, then there is the Deep Tissue Massage for $85 and a Facial Massage that lasts 40 minutes for $65.
Another popular massage technique offered is the Healing Stone Massage, which uses stones heated to 120 to 140 degrees and placed on a person's back or other body parts for 90 minutes at $115.
"We make sure that the stones don't burn if the skin is too sensitive," Lawhon said. "We can chill them down."
A Foot Paraffin treatment is available and preferred by women that includes a foot massage and soon, Lawhon and Stonebraker will offer a Reflexology massage, which has the patron sitting fully clothed on a table and pains are relieved through massaging the feet.
Another specialty message offered is the Micro-current Face Lift, which takes about 10 sessions to complete. The going price is $120 per session, but Lawhon is doing it for $85.
"What we have is two probes with one touching the forehead and the other touching the neck and chin area," Lawhon described. "It sends a current through the muscles and face, stimulating the face to draw more blood into it. It prevents collagen and after the first session your face looks more plump. Everybody loves it."
An Aroma massage therapy is also offered along with a Chair massage that relieves shoulder and neck tension for a $20 session for 15 minutes and a $30 session for 20 minutes.
"We can come to your place of business so you will be comfortable in our specially designated massage chair," Lawhon said. "Massage is great for people with fibromyalgia, and autistic children. If you have a headache, it's good for that too, just about any ailment and we take precautions for all of it."
Stonebraker, who attended classes with Lawhon and is one of the top certified massage therapists from the Healing Arts University, has partnered with him at Tropical Touch.
"I was in a class before him, but he sat in through several different classes," Stonebraker said. "It's an experience of a lifetime to go to a school like that. The reason I got into it was that my dad (Harley Stonebraker, who is a major investor in Tropical Touch) was hurt in the Vietnam war and I was always working on his back and it intrigued me to know that I could make someone feel better. I had been doing this a long time, but not like this. Finally, I had the opportunity to go the school with some help from my parents and I made it and did it.
"It's exciting," she added. "It's slow right now, but hopefully we can really get it going. I've been told that I am really good at what I do and Steve is really good at what he does. We can actually help."
Stonebraker's goal is to one day work doing therapeutic massages for disabled children.
"I want to get experienced in that," she said. "First with the babies in the wheelchairs and if we can start off here, that's how it's going to go. I'm not in this for the money. I'm into it to help people, because I think everybody needs to feel good."
Stonebraker can do all the massages well, but her specialty is the Swedish massage that is for relaxing and getting the back and upper tension gone.
Normal hours for Tropical Touch are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday by appointment or walk-in. However, Lawhon says if a person can't make it during the regular hours, they can call and schedule an appointment, even on Sunday.
Tropical Touch Massage Clinic is located at 5407 Highway 5 in Bryant.