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Get Rid of Winter Fatigue & Irritability:  Massage Away the Blues


Did you know that massage can actually improve your physical and mental health?  Massage is a somatic therapy where the soft tissues of the body are manipulated in order to reduce tiredness or irritability and improve circulation.  Therefore, the treatment is often recommended to alleviate symptoms related to depression and stress. 


This ancient healing art dates back as far as the Ancient Egyptians, and was also used to heal ailments that involved the circulation and joints by the Ancient Persians, Hindus and Chinese, as well.


Now people suffering from winter depression have reported excellent results from massage therapy as the bodywork is especially designed to relieve the tension and fatigue that causes people to suffer physically and psychologically. 


There are over 250 types of somatic therapies.  In Somatic Therapy, the focus is on the whole person:  body, mind, emotions and spirit.  Therefore, massage therapists can employ a combination of techniques.  Basic applications can include compression, rocking, tapping, stroking and kneading the tissues.  Techniques provide revitalization to the energy systems of the body as well as relaxation for tense and tired muscles and joints.


Practitioners use scented lotions and oils to lessen friction to the skin and supply a bit of aromatherapy, all of which help to provide the recipient with an overall feeling of calm. If you opt for a full body massage, the bodywork will include arms, legs, back, feet, head, neck, hands and shoulders.


This type of therapy is especially good for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  In addition to eating nutritionally sound meals, receiving light therapy or counseling, a massage is an excellent way to enhance the outlook of anyone suffering from winter blues.


In addition, massage therapy can also be helpful for pregnant women who cannot take certain antidepressants because of possible adverse side effects.  Pregnancy massages can lessen swelling in the legs, feet and arms, relieve muscle and joint pain, as well as relieve feelings of sadness and anxiety associated with fluctuating hormones. 


Because a massage increases immune system functioning it can also alleviate the symptoms of other conditions too, including:

·         High blood pressure

·         Diabetes

·         Arthritis

·         Lower back pain

·         Bursitis

·         Infertility


For help in alleviating your winter blues or other conditions, contact the massage therapy experts at Skin Catering located conveniently here at Tower Square in suite 220.  Call for an appointment at 413.282.8772 or online at




Travel to Europe is Steady Say the Experts at Emerald City Travel


Emerald City Travel owner, Janice Webb

is booking trips to Europe in 2016.

(Photo courtesy of Business West)


To travel out of the country or not to travel, is a question that you might think some vacationers may be asking themselves since the recent terrorist attacks in Europe.  However, giving into “terror” is not the American way.


Janice Webb, owner of Emerald City Travel, confirmed just that in a recent article in Business West entitled Plane Speaking:  Global Turmoil Isn’t Keeping Travelers from Their Destinations (By George O’Brien - Dec. 14, 2015)


In the article, Webb says that three local couples had put down their deposits for a vacation trip to Paris just hours before the news broke about the terrorist attacks there.  Despite the horror of the attacks, which claimed the lives of 130 people, these couples did not cancel their travel plans to the City of Light.


“They all e-mailed me back and said, ‘let’s do this and hope for the best,’ and that appears to be the common sentiment,” explained Webb.  “People want to travel, and they’re not going to let this stop them.  They’re going to be more cautious, certainly, but they’re still going to travel.”


Webb goes on to explain that the sporadic turmoil in Europe is not enough to deter the American traveler, who in some cases has been waiting for years to see the world and travel perhaps to the home of their ancestors.  It also doesn’t hurt that the US dollar is much stronger than the euro, so the US traveler’s buck goes much farther in Europe these days.


Webb says while bookings for Europe are typically slow this time of year, she is expecting thingsl to pick up in the spring, when European travel is more favorable because of the weather.

For help with your travel needs, you can stop by Emerald City Travel located in suite 136 at Tower Square, or call Janice Webb at 413.737.4361.





Springfield Boys & Girls Club Has Phenomenal FOT Season!

Sounds of cheering can still be heard at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club (SBGC) as a result of the final numbers from last month’s Festival of Trees fundraiser!  Breaking the previous year’s record, this two-and-a-half weeklong event netted more than $135,000 for the club.  That is $17,000 more than was raised the year before.


This was the 15th year for the SBGC’s Festival of Trees, and the 13th year that the event has been held at Tower Square.  A total of 14,039 people attended this year’s festival, which is approximately 1,000 more than the previous year.


“We broke the glass ceiling with record attendance at the Festival of Trees,” commented event chairperson, Stacy Magiera.  “The combined efforts of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club and Tower Square to make this event a premiere family holiday tradition has contributed to its huge success.  These funds will be used to continue to provide kids in Springfield with a safe, positive, supportive place to be with great mentors and programs to help them navigate through their impressionable years.”


The Festival of Trees is forest of more 137 trees decorated and donated by local businesses, civic & social organizations, schools, hospitals, families and individuals.  At the end of the event, each tree is raffled off.  Festival goers also have a chance to vote on their favorite trees while they’re visiting.


Proceeds from the festival will go toward the many worthwhile programs offered at the SBGC to the 1,500 inner city children who are served by the club, programs that inspire, educate, guide, enable and support all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, respectful citizens and leaders.





The Work of Student Photographers Featured at VPC


In an effort to support and encourage local student photographers, the Valley Photo Center (VPC) is hosting a Student Open Submission Show set to begin this month.  Student photographers from elementary, middle school, high school and college have been submitting their works to be on display at the VPC for the past several weeks.  To make it even easier for the student shutter bugs, all entry fees were waived.


The student show will be open on January 5th and run for several weeks.  A panel of judges will be giving awards to the best print in the show, best print in each school category (elementary, middle, high school & college), and best entry from each school  There will also be a people’s choice award based on votes from the public, so be sure to stop in and choose your favorite!


The Valley Photo Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to educate its members and the public about the art and science of photography to bring about a greater appreciation for photography.


All shows are free and open to the public.  Gallery hours are 11am – 2pm Tuesday – Friday.


The Valley Photo Center is located in suite 206 adjacent to the Tower Square food court.   For additional information visit





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