Veteran Hires Cancer Survivor Therapist for New Massage Center, Benefits Wounded Warrior Project and Autism, Cancer Charities
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Veteran Hires Cancer Survivor Therapist for New Massage Center, Benefits Wounded Warrior Project and Autism, Cancer Charities

LaVida Massage of Hanahan opens as the first LaVida center in South Carolina and the only therapeutic massage business in area dedicated to health and wellness.

June 02, 2014 // // HANAHAN, SC – LaVida Massage, a national massage franchise with a unique mission to deliver massage therapy that provides alternative health and overall wellness benefits, continues to uphold its mission with its newest store opening. The first - and only - massage center in the area, LaVida Massage of Hanahan is opening with strong community and charitable ties.

A Road to Recovery

In maintaining these ties, the new center welcomes a recently hired therapist who recently overcame breast cancer. Mary Jeffries worked in the therapeutic massage industry for 12 years, but lost her previous job due to scheduling conflicts while enduring treatments.

"Undergoing radiation therapy physically weakened and fatigued me. Once I completed all my treatments, I immediately wanted to get back into work doing what I'm passionate about, but knew I wouldn't be able to complete a full shift," Jeffries says. "LaVida has been more than willing to work with my needs as I venture back into work, and really welcomed me in as a sort of family."

In an effort to help others who've experienced Jeffries' struggle and to encourage and assist in her recovery, LaVida Massage of Hanahan is donating to the cancer charity of her choice for every massage she does with LaVida, throughout the next two years.

"Mary's story really inspired us. We are committed to a business of, not only health and wellness, but of community and family ties, and when she reached out to us for employment, we were honored to add her on to our team," says LaVida of Hanahan co-owner and operator, Wes Atkinson.

The Business Behind the Backrub

Atkinson, along with partner Vince Martone, are both Hanahan residents who are bringing LaVida to the area, because they foresee a need to start a local business that upholds a strong growth model and also gives 'back' to serve a greater good.

"As a Navy civilian working security in federal corrections, everyday tasks proved to be hard on my back and I suffered much pain, as a result," says Atkinson. "Instead of pursuing medication to ease the aches, I decided to seek therapeutic massage, and I learned firsthand just how powerful the wellness benefits of massage are."

Atkinson then recommended the therapy to Martone - a Marine Corps. Veteran - who at the time was serving as Atkinson's military-assigned assistant, and he too reaped great benefits, thus launching their business partnership.

"We really wanted to launch something in an industry that was opposite of the high-intensity and stressful nature of the federal corrections setting," Martone adds. "We choose LaVida because it's a calm and welcoming environment that serves a purpose that we truthfully back and believe in. It's really like a family."

Giving 'Back' to Pay it Forward

Atkinson and Martone, who are both big into local volunteering and advocacy, are celebrating their first few months of business by donating a portion of profits to charities.

April was National Autism Awareness Month, and as such, LaVida of Hanahan donated to the Autism Speaks organization as a result of proceeds from the sales of branded t-shirts during its opening month.

And, during May, the center sold LaVida Massage coffee mugs, donating those sales profits of to the Wounded Warrior Project.

LaVida Massage of Hanahan is located at 1000 Tanner Ford Boulevard in Hanahan in the Hanahan Crossing beside the Super Bi-Lo supermarket near the Tanner Ford and North Rhett intersection. The new center opened in early April and is dedicated to providing massage services and retail products to meet the customized therapeutic needs of all in the community. Specialized modalities include Swedish/relaxation, couples' sessions, deep tissue, hot stone, prenatal, chair massages, corporate massages, oncological-focused therapies, and more. All services are performed by highly trained and licensed therapists.

Frequent massage therapy has been proven time and again to benefit the health with increased blood circulation, enhanced sleep quality, greater energy levels, improved body motion, reduced heart rate and injury prevention and rehabilitation.

About LaVida Massage

LaVida Massage is a leading provider of holistic health and wellness services. Offering an array of affordable and convenient therapeutic massage modalities, LaVida Massage caters to busy, active lifestyles in gender and age-neutral settings.

As more consumers understand and seek the proven mental and physical health benefits that massage therapy offers, LaVida Massage Franchise Development, Inc., continues to grow to meet this demand in the holistic health and wellness industry. LaVida Massage, a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA), has more than 50 centers in 20 U.S. States and in Canada, and has more branches opening in 2014 and beyond. The company has been named a Hot Franchise Pick by Entrepreneur magazine for the past four consecutive years.

Founded in 2007 in Brighton, Michigan, LaVida Massage is dedicated to the ideal that massage should be an affordable part of an overall healthy lifestyle and wellness plan.

For more information, visit, or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE LaVida Massage


Tara Hasouris

Julia Gillespie



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