Mike and Merry Vediner think a new massage course in Ashland should be a "prerequisite for couples."
The Vediners, married 35 years, reached that conclusion after their first class with JoAnn Lewis, director of the Family Massage Education Center in Ashland. Open since January, the center specializes in "couples massage." But that doesn't mean just married couples like the Vediners.
Lewis and her staff teach parents how to massage infants, and they offer techniques for massaging seniors and pregnant women. All the material is intended for use in the home, not to administer professionally, which requires a state license.
The center, located in the former Ashland Academy of Art, employs seven therapists and hosts classes in five-week sessions. Lewis, a licensed massage therapist, also offers continuing-education credits for other licensees. Instruction in infant massage is open to anyone, including social workers and day-care providers, who pass the lessons along to parents responsible for the actual touching.
"We're protecting the bond between the parent and the child," says Lewis.
Previously instructing parents in infant massage at Ashland Community Hospital, Lewis says recurrent requests inspired her to teach the larger public. Dozens of massage clients told Lewis they had massage tables in their closets at home and didn't know how to use them.