3/19/2014 10:03:00 AM Serenity Wellness heals mind, body and spirit
Owner Hope Matsuda demonstrates a Reiki session with Yvonne Franco. Serenity Wellness features many holistic therapies such as this one that utilizes the ancient Japanese form of energy healing.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Yvonne Franco beams for the camera as she demonstrates a basic yoga pose at Serenity Wellness in Prescott Valley.
The traditional yoga classes are suited for all ages and abilities; even for individuals with mobility; or pain issues.
People are invited to stop by and sign up for a class to see if they like it.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Hope Matsuda never asked normal questions during her childhood. Her mind always needed to understand more than what was on the surface. She naturally gravitated towards ambitions that benefited her body and spirit to include a long career in dance.
She added the healing arts to her repertoire and has never looked back in regret.
"I owned a wellness center in Los Angeles for 12 years," Matsuda said last week as she sat in her cozy office with a clear view of her spacious yoga studio.
She opened Serenity Wellness in December and currently is placing the finishing touches on the hydrotherapy rooms.
She learned yoga as a dancer, when one of her choreographers instructed her troupe to take classes. Matsuda said the yoga exercises made all of the difference in her dancing.
"Back then, we didn't talk too much about breathing. The yoga, it changed my whole thought as to who I was and how I danced and the way I looked at life," she said.
She explained that with her generation, many people thought yoga was a hippie or cult movement.
"In Europe, massage is a normal part of their well-being and preventive health," Matsuda said.
Today, the popularity of this gentle exercise has exploded as more people continue learning that yoga helps to relieve stress while oxygenating every cell in the body and releasing toxins, Matsuda said.
For individuals who never have tried yoga, Matsuda offers this advice: "Even though we may realize that practicing something like yoga may be change for the better, we're often afraid of that change. See what you feel like when you walk in here, you don't have to commit to anything," she said.
As an added benefit, the yoga classes accommodate people with mobility and pain issues.
In addition to being a certified instructor, Matsuda works as a cognitive therapist and helps individuals, as well as the local hockey team, accomplish their competitive goals.
"Every athlete has a physical ability to excel but what puts one ahead of the other is the mental work," Matsuda said.
"It takes an effort to change the way you think."
She uses cognitive therapy to help anyone wanting to improve his or her game, work performance, quit smoking or lose weight. The therapy also is beneficial for veterans with PTSD, she said.
As a certified master practioner, Matsuda offers Reiki therapy, the ancient Japanese form of energy healing. This healing art implements little to no touch, designed to heal the body physically, mentally and emotionally.
Matsuda shattered her ankle four years ago. Suddenly, she was faced with not being able to walk for nearly a year. To make matters worse, she contracted a post-surgical bone infection that nearly guaranteed the loss of part of her leg. Matsuda used a combination of everything she knew plus Reiki energy healing. Her subsequent medical tests yielded positive results.
"I love what I do," Matsuda said.
Patrons who stop in to Serenity Wellness may enjoy a full menu of additional healing choices from Thai and Swedish massage and hot stone therapy to herbal wraps and detoxifying tonics.
Serenity Wellness is at 8168 Florentine Road, Suite D. For more information, call 928-775-5066. The center opens at 10 a.m. with varying closing hours depending on classes. Walk-ins welcome. Patrons also may take advantage of a $1 a minute chair massage.