I walk into Salt Marsh Massage Center in Mashpee, and my first thought is, Wow, peace incarnate, a sanctuary; the epitome of serenity. John Poignand’s stunning artwork, white overstuffed couches, and soft lighting envelope you in the Center’s Zen-fabulous atmosphere. Sheer white curtains sway silently in the breeze. Sea grass stands tall on one of the tables; candles add an inviting touch. Poignand’s artwork is larger than life, exploding with color and extraordinary detail. “Our place is [also] a gallery to showcase local artists. Every three months, we rotate the work,” says Erin Capron, one of the owners of Salt Marsh.
One of their signature treatments is the Duet Massage. Put away all preconceived notions of couples massage. This particular massage can be enjoyed as a mother-daughter experience, or as two friends. A great icebreaker, it is ideal for someone who has never had a massage and wants to have company for his or her first experience. Just lie down and relax in the hands of two therapists in their oversized treatment room.
“We want to change the public’s opinion of a day spa,” explains Erin. “We want our clients, when they come through the door, to say ‘Ah.’” Salt Marsh’s colors and textures are Cape Cod-inspired, with soft blues, sea green and lots of white, echoing our beloved seascape. This is a true Cape spa experience, far away from the institutional, slick day spas that are common these days. Balance is evident everywhere, and apparently too in Erin and Aaron’s business and personal union. According to Erin, “My husband is the hands-on part of Salt Marsh. I’m the marketing part, and I’m here to support him,” she says. She also loves to go to “work,” although she wouldn’t call it that. “Our mission is to create a working environment that is an extension of our lifestyle. I don’t say, ‘I’m going to work’. This is part of my day,” says Erin. “This is just what I do, what I love to do.”
Erin’s MFA in design is evident in the beauty of Salt Marsh, and its attention to detail. Her background in high-end retail management (including Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom and Pottery Barn) shows in Salt Marsh’s passion for customer service. Whatever you need, however you need it, Erin and Aaron are there to supply it. The organic product line developed for them is pristine. “Every piece of it is organic,” says Erin. There are no preservatives, and no artificial anything.The light-sensitive formula is kept in a cooler to preserve its life-giving energy.
The Caprons also care greatly about their employees. “We want not only our clients, but our employees to enjoy being here,” adds Aaron. “It’s important they feel encouraged, supported and valued.” Whether this means changing the table for a massage therapist or aesthetician, or getting them a glass of water, the intention of Salt Marsh is clear: teamwork, and helping people feel their best. “We want the aestheticians to feel they can build their own business here. And we want our employees to feel empowered; then they can give our clients the best treatment possible.”
Aaron’s background is in exercise physiology; he’s worked in rehabilitation medicine with adult and pediatric populations for over a decade. His experience in physical and occupational therapy at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, as well as his extensive training and certification in all modalities of massage, ensure that you are in safe hands, literally. I personally experienced their signature “Walk on the Beach” massage, beginning with a sea kelp foot soak, followed by a gentle exfoliating scrub and finished with a calf and foot massage. All this, combined with smooth beach stones underneath my tired feet, bring energy back into my tender feet and relaxed body. I can almost hear the waves as I notice a lovely painting of a boat in the treatment room; when I ask about the artist, Aaron is humble about the fact that he painted it.
It is easy to see why Salt Marsh’s clientele–including a surprising number of construction workers, landscapers and Boston commuters–come in for repeat business. Day laborers with specific injuries need strong hands, and many ask for deep tissue work with Aaron. The number of men coming in for massage is heartening, since the stereotypical spa is a feminine domain. I can see why both genders would feel completely comfortable in Salt Marsh’s surroundings, and Erin and Aaron bring a superb balance of yin and yang to their Center. “Our clients come in as a solid, and leave as a liquid,” he laughs gently.
Wednesday mornings are for kids only, an extension of Aaron’s work in pediatrics. “The power of touch is important. Getting the kids to take that step…” Parents are encouraged to participate in their kids’ 30-minute sessions. The Center offers infant massage classes in private or group settings. In August 2007, Salt Marsh hosted its first annual Benefit for Cancer Survivors; anyone afflicted with cancer in his or her lifetime received free massages or treatments with 25% of other clients’ treatment fees donated directly to cancer research. Appetizers from Bleu restaurant and wine were available throughout the day. The Center is also a proud supporter of the Pan Mass Challenge, benefiting The Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Massage: relaxation, therapeutic, hot stone, reflexology, pre- and post-natal, infant, Duet; as well as facials, hair removal, and more. Catering to bridal parties. Open 7 days a week; Sundays by appointment only. Please call 508-477-4020 or visit saltmarshmassage.com. – CHA
By Cheryl Kain, Winter 2007
Photos By Beth Draper
Cheryl Kain writes about alternative healing, music, food, travel ad pop culture for various regional and national magazines. She is an accomplished singer/teacher and coaches voice privately. Please contact her through cherylkain.com.