Hands-on Approach Ocean’s Dream Is a Soothing Success Story

For Lily Tiukaenko, starting her own business was a simple matter of seeing a need and diving in with both hands to meet it.

“I’ve always liked massage, and I went to school for it,” Tiukaenko said. “After school, I tried to find a job, but I couldn’t find what I wanted around here. I had a dream of having a nice, relaxing place but, at the same time, a professional place where people could come get a massage and experience the benefits of what massage therapy offers at a reasonable price.”

Feeling the Chicopee area to be underserved by that type of business, Tiukaenko opened Ocean’s Dream on Main Street in November 2006.

One of the challenges of building a client base, she said, is convincing people who may never have received a massage that the benefits are many.

“It helps relieve stress, aids in relaxation, and decreases muscle tension, stiffness, and pain,” she said. “It’s helpful with fibromyalgia, reduces muscle spasms, and just helps with everyday aches and pains, and it’s also beneficial in chronic situations.”

Massage has certainly benefited Tiukaenko, who has seen her inspiration grow into a thriving business — with plans for expansion in mind.

Back to Work

Different types of massage deliver different benefits, which is why the five therapists on Tiukaenko’s staff specialize in a wide range of styles.

“Most of them cover at least Swedish, deep tissue, and relaxation massage, but some do massage for pregnancy, some do reflexology, and so on,” she said.

Swedish massage, she explained, is the most common type of massage therapy, using a system of long strokes, kneading, and friction techniques. Deep tissue massage, on the other hand, is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, back tightness, and sore shoulders. It employs some of the same strokes as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper, concentrating on areas of tension and pain.

Hot-stone massage employs heated, smooth stones that are placed on certain points of the body to warm and loosen tight muscles. Tiukaenko said it’s effective for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter form of massage. Meanwhile, pregnancy massage uses a specific type of pressure to reduce stress, decrease swelling, relieve aches and pains, and reduce anxiety and depression in pregnant women.

Ocean’s Dream also offers general relaxation massage, sports massage to enhance performance and recuperation, and even aromatherapy massage, which incorporates essential oils into the experience.

Practitioners of massage have long touted its benefits for conditions including fatigue, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, age-related disorders, smoking cessation, and depression, in addition to the commonly treated body aches and tightness.

While many people make appointments to target specific problems, Tiukaenko said, many simply include massage in their general wellness regimen.

“A lot of people just come in on a regular basis to keep up with their health and wellness, and prevent chronic pain,” she added. “A lot of times, your immune system can be weakened by stress, and a lot of people choose to get a massage to counter that.”

That idea falls into line with the emphasis the health care establishment is increasingly placing on preventative care, and as a result, more insurance plans are starting to cover massage. Tiukaenko said it just makes financial sense, after all. “They’d prefer to pay for back massage than back surgery.”

In fact, Tiukaenko said she has had several people come in on the verge of having back surgery to deal with chronic pain, who eventually found relief through deep tissue massage, while other people chose to forego their pain medication after experiencing the more natural relief of massage.

Even for those not on the cusp of surgery, “it’s good for chronic headaches and migraines, especially for people who work in an office,” she explained. “You use a lot of upper-body muscles to sit up at your desk, and when those muscles get tense through stress and overwork, it attacks the nerve endings that run from the upper back into the head, and that can create pinching sensations and headaches.”

People too often try to escape that tension through pain-relief drugs, she said, but she has seen an increasing awareness of the alternative to medication.

“With all the drug-related side effects, people are more conscious about what goes into their bodies,” Tiukaenko said. “This is an alternative way to treat those aches and pains, through manipulation.”

That’s a Wrap

Although massage forms the core of her business, Tiukaenko has incorporated a range of other body treatments at Ocean’s Dream as well, from nutrient-rich body wraps to feet treatments and scalp treatments – all of them using only natural ingredients, not chemicals.

She also offers an infrared sauna that helps people reduce muscle tension without the breathing difficulty that some people experience in a traditional steam sauna. “Most people come here just for massage,” she said, but some people add the body treatments for relaxation.”

For people who want to take in many services at a reduced price, Tiukaenko has created a membership program that includes unlimited reduced-rate massage, spa treatments, and sauna treatments. As her roster of clients grows, she said she would like to expand Ocean’s Dream to a second location outside Chicopee one day, adding that she expects referrals for her services to continue to rise as more people discover the benefits of massage.

“A lot of people are trying it for the first time, and they realize how much it helps their aches and pains,” she said. “They’re becoming regular clients, and they’re helping to spread the word.”

For a new business owner, that’s relaxing news indeed.

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