Old LymeÂ â€” With the windows open on one of the warmest days of the year, a breeze fluttered the white curtains around the orchids placed on the windowsill, as soothing music played in a room with a serene blue-and-wooden palette.
As if that’s not calming enough, a dimly lit adjacent “relaxation room” is for people to have a seat “and let all of your stress and cares melt away.”
“I love when people walk out and they’re like, ‘Ahhh, can I just sit here for awhile?'” said Shanna Frawley, co-owner of Lois Rae Massage & Bodywork. “Just knowing that they feel a lot better walking out than walking in, it just reinforces my belief.”
She and Mary Davis, who have only known each other since October, opened Lois RaeÂ â€”Â their middle namesÂ â€” at 5 Davis Road East in March. Frawley was working for Davis at Mystic Massage & Wellness but wanted to work for herself for a change, and as an Old Lyme resident for the past 25 years, she wanted to open something in her neck of the woods.
Davis saw how supportive the Mystic community was and how busy her business was, and figured there was a need for another massage place, with so many people turning to alternative medicine.
“With the tempo of the U.S., everybody’s so stressed now. There’s so much anxiety, depression,” Davis said. She also thinks people are “getting pill-pushed” when they go to the doctor.
Before becoming a licensed massage therapist, Davis worked as a social worker. Confronted with the choice of getting her master’s degree or switching careers, she chose the latter.
“It still is taking care of people; it’s just in a different way,” she said of massage therapy. “It’s more hands-on.”
Frawley spent a decade as a home care aide, and after hurting her back she was referred to a pain clinic. She didn’t like that option, but the positive impact of a massage on her back pain prompted her to get licensed.
Since Lois Rae opened, she doesn’t work much at Mystic Massage anymore, but she is continuing her work as an independent contractor at Mohegan Sun, giving players massages at the gaming tables.
Frawley sells CBD productsÂ â€” which come from the cannabis sativa plant but don’t have THC, meaning they don’t have the psychoactive effects of marijuanaÂ â€” through HempWorx, and Lois Rae offers CBD massages.
Davis explained that the CBD salve helps with inflammation and pain relief. Davis specializes in sports massage and cupping. Lois Rae also offers classes on baby massages, with an emphasis on aiding digestion and promoting bonding between parent and infant.
The center has four single-treatment rooms, one couples room, a sauna room and a relaxation room. Davis and Frawley hope to grow to offer other wellness services like yoga, reiki and meditation, and they’re considering facials.
“Anything you can think of holistically, we’re not opposed to,” Frawley said.
The two originally named their place Lois Rae Day Spa but changed it to be more specific, as they don’t want to offer things like sugar scrubs or seaweed wraps.
They say business has been somewhat slow to start, but Frawley is encouraged by the upcoming growth of Old Lyme for the summer season.