Lavender mist drifted from the diffuser through the room as Chinese flute music flowed softly from the speakers. Settling onto the warm massage table, one finds an unparalleled sense of release.
And that’s precisely Meagin Harris’ goal. As a massage therapist at Island Day Spa on St. Simons Island, it’s her mission to offer clients a respite from their busy lives.
“There are so many reasons to get a massage. It doesn’t just have to be for a special occasion or because you get a crick in your neck,” Harris says.
Instead, massage can truly play an integral part in one’s overall approach to healthcare. While massages certainly soothe tired muscles and promote relaxation, they can also serve a variety of purposes, many of which often go overlooked.
“It should be like a regular check up with your doctor, chiropractor, or OBGYN. It’s your whole body. It needs love too ... regular and constant care,” she says.
“It helps everything. It’s really great for people with insomnia. It releases serotonin and melatonin in the brain — all of those ‘good night’ chemicals. It helps to move around lymphatic fluid. It helps with blood flow. It just really brings the whole body back to homeostasis.”
Harris has been fascinated by massage therapy and the plethora of benefits it offers since she was a child. Growing up in Augusta, she always enjoyed providing her family with a sense of comfort courtesy of her healing hands.
“I liked massage ever since I was a little girl. I think it came from when my siblings and I would get growing pains. My mom would massage our legs and our feet. It would really, really help,” she says.
“So I would spend the night with cousins or friends and they would want to go outside and play. I would want to stay inside and massage their mom’s feet, hands and neck.”
That, of course, made Harris the favorite of many at the homes of her friends and family.
“I was really popular,” she says with a laugh. “I would do it for my aunts and my mom.”
Her draw to offer relief continued throughout her life. Eventually, it landed her on the doorstep of Augusta’s School of Massage.
“I was waiting tables in Augusta and I never thought about massage as a career. I was at my mother’s hairdresser’s and she had the registration packet to sign up. So I filled it out and was accepted. That was in 2013,” she says.
Harris started school and built her career there. She became the spa manager, as well as an instructor.
While she enjoyed the relationships she had built there, Harris was also in one of her own. She was doing long distance with her then-boyfriend (now husband) and decided she would make the move to the coast to be closer. That’s how she landed at the blissful hub of Island Day Spa. Once she visited, Harris knew it was the place for her.
Located at 60 Cinema Lane, St. Simons Island, the spa offers everything from hairstyling to nail care to bridal makeup. On the massage end, there’s multiple options from a relaxing ranging from Swedish massage to deep tissue treatments.
“Deep tissue is more therapeutic, hitting those problem areas. We offer hot stone massage which I absolutely love. It’s more along the lines of Swedish with the relaxation and helps those muscles really release. It feels so good,” she says. “We also offer our Island Signature Massage, which has a little bit of everything. Hot towels for the back, hands, and feet. You get some aromatherapy oils. You get reflexology, which deals with different parts of the feet, and a scalp massage. It’s very popular.”
They offer prenatal massages for those in their second trimester and beyond. Harris adds that they also offer body scrubs and wraps, which are equally good for the body.
“We have a sugar scrub which is super nice to get rid of the dead skin. Then, we rub in this luxurious oil to replenish the skin. And the body wraps ... they are from heaven,” she says with a laugh.
“We use a body butter and we wrap you gently in sheets. Then, we let it sit for about 30 minutes. After that, we unwrap you and massage it into the muscles. You feel like butter when it’s done. I would do a body wrap on everyone if I could.”