When medica, the healing arts opened 20 years ago in Richland Township, alternative medicine was often considered “New Agey,” “weird” or just downright odd.
Today, people not only are aware of alternative medicine, but they are choosing more non-traditional forms of healing to improve their health.
“We still see people who think massages are for pampering only—and it can be—but that attitude has really changed,” said founder and co-owner of medica, Beverly Leopold.
This year marks medica’s 20th anniversary as well as an important milestone for massage therapy. In Pennsylvania, massage therapists now must be licensed. State law required all massage therapists to have completed the licensure process and be certified by last December.
A longtime proponent of licensing, Leopold said she believes the public and other health-care providers will look at massage in a more serious manner with this new requirement.
“This just takes us to a higher level. We work hard for our education and training, and to have the licensing will, I believe, make massage therapy ‘legitimate,’” said Leopold.
The new licensing law also means more insurance companies will include massage under their coverage.
Leopold had worked in the traditional health-care insurance business when she decided to become a massage therapist and open her business. Because her work often brought her to Richland Township, she knew the location and community. Despite the long drive from her Murrysville home, Leopold said the location decision was a good one.
“This area was and is growing, and people really have been accepting and supportive here,” she said. “I love this area.”
One of her missions over the past two decades has been to educate people on alternative health-care services.
“I don’t like to refer to it as 'alternative' health care but rather complimentary health care,” said Leopold.
In addition to massage therapy, medica offers acupuncture, Reiki, reflexology, facials and other similar procedures that Leopold refers to as “wellness techniques.” These practices often complement more traditional forms of health care, said Leopold.
“Our sessions are clinical in nature and offer a complementary factor to the healing process,” she said.
Leopold, a licensed massage therapist, certified hypnotherapist, life coach and Reiki master, knows there are health problems that must be treated by a physician.
“I often refer someone to a physician if they have symptoms of an overlying health concern,” said Leopold. “We work with our clients within the scope of our knowledge.”
Leopold also works with physicians who refer patients who have run the course through certain medicines or procedures and still are suffering with chronic pain that may be eased through massage or hypnosis.
Leopold’s son and co-owner, Rich Timmerman, is also a certified massage therapist and provides deep-tissue massage that works well for athletes recovering from sports injuries and chronic health issues. medica also has a chiropractor on-site who incorporates acupuncture into wellness sessions.
Like traditional physicians, Leopold and Timmerman work with their client’s total health-care issues to ensure the optimal overall health.
“Our mission is to allow people to know their own bodies, to be comfortable with it and not fear a problem when it comes up, but to deal with it,” she said. “They don’t have to have a bad day.”
In her efforts to reach out to the community, Leopold often provides services to local organizations and is hosting a fundraiser to the nonprofit Hosanna Industries through the end of March.
"We are still getting people to know more about us, but times have really changed. We aren’t considered voodoo medicine anymore,” she joked.
Leopold will host a Spring Celebration Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17. medica is located at 5321 William Flynn Highway, Richland Township. There will be wellness workshops, demonstrations, meet-the-practitioner sessions and refreshments.
For more information, contact Leopold by telephone at 424-449-2255 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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