Muscle Works massage gives hands-on healing

Muscle Works owner Joyce Phillips has created a refuge for relaxation in Manlius. A licensed massage therapist with almost 15 years experience, Phillips shares office space with Dr. Jean Cohen, a longtime, local chiropractor located on Highbridge Road.

Phillips' private massage room accentuates soft lighting, warm colors, a plush garden, and the soothing sounds of trickling water -- all calming effects sure to ease the stress of any client, new and existing. A fireplace also enhances the cozy environment, which is situated just beyond the massage table where Phillips works her magic.

Clients come to Muscle Works, which opened mid-90s, for a variety of reasons -- some for therapeutic work; others for relaxation. Phillips techniques aren't limited -- she specializes in acute and chronic pain relief. Some methods that which she concentrates include hot stone therapy, paraffin wax dips (which include upper body massage), deep tissue, Swedish, sports, and pregnancy massage. Additionally, she works with new parents and their infants.

"New moms can come and have a private session on learning techniques of infant massage," she said.

Phillips said it's a great bonding tool for new parents, and especially for those with colicky babies.

"It's a very effective method," she said.

Phillips teaches not only techniques to help fussy babies, but also the types of oils to use and which ones to avoid. She emphasized this kind of massage is tried and true; nothing new.

Once a chiropractic assistant, Phillips opted for a career change after experiencing her own issues with back problems.

"I started getting massage, and that was probably the only thing that really helped me," she said. "Consequently, I ended up with surgery, but after the surgery and I got better, I thought, you know, I want to use that experience to help other people."

The 1994 Fingerlakes School of Massage graduate said she wanted to run a practice that was geared for therapeutic care.

"My background is in working with patients, and almost entirely 12 years has been in a clinical setting," Phillips said. "I noticed that the people who did massage therapy as well as chiropractic seemed to be the people that got better faster."

However, Phillips said she still has considerable numbers of clients who come in solely for relaxation; they don't have to be a patient of a chiropractor.

"Anybody can walk through the doors," she said.

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