New Massage School and Wellness Center Opening in Center City

And they'll be offering seriously discounted massages! Yes, please.



If you often, while sitting in your terribly uncomfortable desk chair for the seventh hour that day, find yourself thinking about how wonderful a massage would feel, I am with you. But these thoughts are usually shot down by flashing mental images of my not-so-sky-high bank account balance. Not for long, though: Two Fishtown residents, Julia Bayardi and Donna Zadie, are gearing up to open a massage school in Center City, and the curriculum will include lots of hands-on practice. Meaning? We’ll all be able to get our cheap massage on soon enough. The joy!

Bayardi and Zadie, both massage therapists who’ve been working in Philly for over 10 years, met while studying at the now closed Massage Art Center of Philadelphia. They soon realized they were neighbors — they say they can open their doors and yell to each other, they’re so close — and had the same goal: to open their own massage business. They teamed up and rented a one-room space on Girard Avenue under the name Sunshine Wellness Group and gave massages out of that space for awhile, then they grew out of the small digs — and the name — and here we are: The duo are set to open up shop at 1500 Chestnut Street in October with not one, but two new massage-centric ventures.

The first venture, Philadelphia School of Massage & Bodywork, will offer both a full-time day program and a part-time evening program where students will get a comprehensive education with a foundation in Swedish massage, with work in other modalities, like Shiatsu for instance, mixed in. The second venture, which will occupy the same space, is Blue Alchemy Healing Center, a wellness center that will offer all types of massage, from sports to prenatal to deep tissue, and bodywork done by professional practitioners.

So, what about those cheap massages, you ask? Well, as the Bayardi and Zadie explain, to complete the curriculum at the Philadelphia School of Massage & Bodywork, all students will have to rack up 75 hours of work on the public. So once they begin doing their clinical hours, the school will be offering hourlong Swedish massages done by students for just $40, half the cost of Blue Alchemy Healing Center’s standard hourlong massage. And at the end of the massage, you’ll just have to give a bit of feedback (they are learning, after all) on their work. Not a bad deal, right?

If you’re looking to get into the massage field, the school is still accepting students to start in the fall, and they’ll be having an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, September 14th. And if need a massage stat, Bayardi and Zadie say Blue Alchemy will probably begin booking massages next week, just in time for PopeMania. They will also be holding a grand opening on October 17th from 2 to 6 p.m. You can find out more about the school here, and Blue Alchemy Healing Center here.

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