FIND YOUR PARADISE: Local Massage Therapist Offers Oncology Massages and More
Paradise Massage offers a massage specifically for those in cancer treatment or remission
If you or someone you love has or has had cancer, there is a resource in the Chippewa Valley offering some relief and relaxation. Laura Ellingboe is the owner of Paradise Massage, located inside of Grazie Salon (4638 Golf Road, Eau Claire), which offers oncology massages specifically for cancer patients.
Ellingboe has been a practicing massage therapist for the past 12 years, moving into the Grazie Salon space about three years ago. Thanks to her additional training and insight, she is a preferred provider through the Society for Oncology Massage, allowing her further knowledge of the needs of cancer patients – especially those who are at high risk for lymphedema. Lymphedema shows up as swelling, usually in an arm or leg, and is caused by a lymphatic system blockage.
“If you've ever had cancer or if you’ve ever had lymph nodes removed, you will always be at risk for lymphedema,” Ellingboe explained. “I’ve had clients that had breast cancer 20 years ago so they don’t think they need an oncology massage, but yes, you do! I still need to treat it as if you have cancer in that area.”
In 1990, Ellingboe lost her mom to lung cancer, then lost her sister to colon cancer in 2006. Both of them were only 51 years old. Her mother’s sisters also passed away from breast and ovarian cancer, and her cousin is in remission from colon cancer. With the risks of cancer in her family, Ellingboe got genetic testing done herself and found that she also has the cancer gene. Ultimately, she made the decision to undergo a total hysterectomy and a double mastectomy.
All that her family has been through alongside her own personal journey, pushed her to start a practice that would benefit those with cancer.
“Sometimes (the cancer patients) are just here for a touch that doesn’t hurt,” Ellingboe explained. “When they’re at the doctor, they’re getting poked and pulled and often get sick afterward. So with me, it’s an hour of relaxation and just that comforting touch.”
Paradise Massage also aims to fulfill its name as well through its environment, the massage room decorated in a getaway style to further the experience. The theme and true mission of Paradise Massage will continue and evolve, too.
Expansion plans are on the horizon for Ellingboe and Paradise Massage, as she is hoping to open a day spa specifically for cancer patients offering specialized care that is often hard for patients to find. With massages, facials, a yoga room, wig and bra fittings, nutritionists, and other spa services, she hopes to create a safe and calm space for cancer patients and their caregivers to enjoy gentle and relaxing care.