SIDNEY – Betsy O’Leary and Sonja Nicodemus started their businesses independently of each other, but their symbiotic relationship has helped both of them grow.
Nicodemus’ Therapeutic Massage by Sonja and O’Leary’s Moonflower Aromatherapy and Salt Room hosted a joint ribbon cutting in October at their new location, 128 N. Main Ave. in downtown Sidney. The two businesses share the location and work cooperatively to help people through natural healing.
“They compliment each other very well,” O’Leary said. “They’re both natural healing.”
Both businesses have grown significantly since Nicodemus and O’Leary, who are sisters-in-law, started attending the Great Sidney Farmers’ Market in 2016. Since then they have outgrown two brick and mortar locations – first in the Murphy Building on Poplar Street and then a space on Ohio Avenue – before moving into their current location on Main Avenue.
“It’s still just a little bit scary,” Nicodemus said of moving into a larger space, “but I’m very excited because I love what I do and love serving the community, and most of all I like helping people feel better.”
Nicodemus’ introduction to medical massages came after she hurt her back. The experience inspired her to earn an associates degree in applied science from Miami-Jacobs Career College in 2011 so she could provide relief like she received.
“I knew then that I wanted to do that for other people,” she said. “As soon as the opportunity arose that’s what I did; I went back to school.”
Like Nicodemus, O’Leary entered her field because of personal experience.
O’Leary can’t take cold medications because they make her heart race, she said, so a friend suggested that she should try essential oils as an alternative. Though she was skeptical at first, she found they helped her tremendously.
That prompted her to become a certified aromatherapist through the Aromahead Institute in 2015.
“When I got into aromatherapy, I didn’t do it to start a business. I did it because I was dabbling in essential oils, and I really wanted to get into the science behind it,” O’Leary said. “I’ve always been interested in natural things, natural healing and things like that.”
Since starting their businesses, O’Leary and Nicodemus found they compliment each other quite well. They can promote each other’s offerings and the benefits of utilizing them together to their clients.
“That is the most awesome thing about what her and I do is that her oils just compliment my massages,” Nicodemus said. “And when she has people that come in to get oils and they start talking about this hurts, that hurts, then she’s like you need to see Sonja. And we’ll keep using these oils, we’ll incorporate massage, and then we get a good medical plan going for them in regards to rehabilitating.”
Though it’s not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, O’Leary said, aromatherapy has many benefits for mental and physical discomforts.
“A lot of times people come to me because they are really stressed,” she said. “I let them know, these oils, based on certain chemical components, help people relax and distress.
“It helps with tension, it helps with stress, it’s really good for relieving like stuffy noses, pressure, things like that.”
Essential oils have different benefits based on their chemical components, O’Leary said, and individuals react differently to each of the oils. So she explains the benefits of the oils and has customers smell them to determine what they like. Diffusers filled with the essential oils then create a mist that fills a room with particles that people breath in and get on their skin.
O’Leary sells topical products that work similarly to the inhaled products but are rubbed directly on the skin. She also has many other items for sale including aromatherapy jewelry and accessories, salt lamps, smudge sticks, crystals and teas.
By moving to a larger space, O’Leary also was able to add a salt room that people can visit.
“This is my baby,” she said. “This was kind of like something I really just felt our community needed, especially now.”
The salt room has a machine that grinds pharmaceutical grade Himalayan salt and disperses it into the air. Inside the room, one to six guests can sit in chairs or upon yoga mats while relaxing and meditating.
“You relax and you mediate,” O’Leary said. “And the whole time soft music is playing, and you breath in the salt air, and it kind of simulates like when you’re at the beach.”
Nicodemus offers numerous massage options, including one inside the salt room. Among her offerings are Swedish/relaxation, neuromuscular, therapeutic, deep tissue, trigger point, hot stone and amber stone massages along with reflexology for feet.
Most of her clients seek therapeutic massages to fix specific ailments.
“I really focus on getting people back on their feet, less pain and also feeling good,” Nicodemus said.
A lot of issues are caused by the breaking down of muscles, dehydration of muscles and low circulation within muscles, which Nicodemus said can be alleviated through massage.
“What I do is I encourage that circulation, I hydrate them through oils, creams and stretching, and as I’m massaging them, I can actually get the muscles to go back into their normal resting place and get rid of the knots, and you have less pain,” she said.
Nicodemus offers massages by appointment each Monday through Saturday. She offers 30 minute, 60 minute and 90 minute appointments and can make adjustments to fit her customers’ schedules.
“If there’s a time I have a client that says I only have 20 minutes, I’ll take it,” she said. “Because if I can help somebody get through the rest of their day and I’m available, it’s not a problem.”
Amy Breinich, the executive director of Sidney Alive, praised both Therapeutic Massage by Sonja and Moonflower Aromatherapy during last month’s ribbon cutting ceremony, stating they helped her with anxiety issues.
“As a downtown, we’re incredibly grateful to have them,” Breinich said. “They’re a unique shop. They offer things that are healing for people in our community. And not only am I a fan, I’m also a client.”
Moonflower Aromatherapy is open Wednesday through Saturday each week. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information about Moonflower Aromatherapy, visit its website at www.moonfloweraromatherapy.com, visit Moonflower Aromatherapy on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 937-638-2599.
For more information about Therapeutic Massage by Sonja, visit Therapeutic Massage by Sonja on Facebook or call or text 937-622-9686.
Reach the writer at email@example.com or 937-538-4824.