Creative Wellness: Three Decades of Commitment to Healthy Living

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Thursday, March 5, 2020, 8:15 am
By: 
Sarah Spohn

Irene Savoyat (left) and Chris Reay, co-directors of Creative Wellness. (Photos courtesy of Creative Wellness)

The world of alternative medicine, holistic healing, acupuncture, and even massage therapy has increasingly become more mainstream over the past few years. Local wellness center, Creative Wellness staff and founders know firsthand just how transformative these types of medicine can be. The business has been a mainstay in the East Lansing area for almost three decades. Creative Wellness (2045 Asher Court, East Lansing) is celebrating its 30th anniversary, having first opened its doors for business on April 2, 1990.

The business was originally housed in less than 2,000 square feet, off of Abbot Road, by a team of six founders. Today, it operates with two co-directors, Irene Savoyat and Chris Reay. The pair said the initial mission of the center remains the same: to assist clients in achieving and maintaining ultimate wellness. Creative Wellness aims to build a bridge between conventional treatment and complimentary health services, something they were the first in the area to do. While rooted in massage therapy, the center offers Tai chi classes, meditation, yoga, energy work, baby massage, partner massage, and a variety of self-care classes.

Marketing director Anne Subrizi, said Creative Wellness services include massage, acupuncture, and meditation — all methods which work well in conjunction with conventional medicine and treatments. The business’ goal is to provide an oasis, a respite where people can relax, knowing they’re under the care of skilled professionals.

Currently, they have 47 employees, with a couple dozen of massage therapists, and are continually growing — with several massage therapy positions open to qualified applicants. Throughout this growth, Reay has seen an increased level of support from the medical community — working hand-in-hand with health care centers and physicians.

Creative Wellness services include massage, acupuncture, and meditation — all methods which work well in conjunction with conventional medicine and treatments.

“They trust us to provide quality, complimentary care, and to work together with them on their health care,” Reay said. “We have also seen a great increase in the number of insurance companies who are now covering this care — increased number of comprehensive health plans that now cover, in addition to chiropractic, medically necessary massage therapy, as well as acupuncture.”

Savoyat said this acceptance by the science and medical communities have “opened the floodgate for those looking to increase their wellness.” Doctors are now prescribing and referring patients to attend meditation and yoga classes as a means of coordinated care. Creative Wellness has begun receiving referrals from the Veterans Health Administration, offering massage therapy and chiropractic methods to veterans with acute and chronic pain from military service.

The most-used form of alternative medicine that Creative Wellness offers, which many are not aware of is acupuncture in Chinese medicine. This can help alleviate symptoms from gastrointestinal, gynecological, respiratory, circulatory disorders, as well chemotherapy and radiation side effects.

Throughout the 75 different community events Creative Wellness donates gift certificates, or time to — including races, wellness days, staff appreciation days, and more, Anne said there is one thing people are most curious about.

“When we go out into the community, what people are most interested in talking to us about is acupuncture,” Subrizi said. “Acupuncture, 30 years ago, but even in the last five to ten years, has become more mainstream. It’s another thing in terms of this community, that we offer, but there are not a lot of people here that offer it.”

In turn, the East Lansing community has supported Creative Wellness, having awarded Crystal Awards, local ‘best of’ awards to individual massage therapists, and mentions from Chamber of Commerce as well. Today, the location’s 10,000+ square foot space remains rooted in the goal of encouraging patients to become active participants in their individual health journeys.

Currently, the center is in the midst of becoming a partner within the Medicare network. “Medicare just announced they are covering acupuncture for low back pain, based on research studies,” Reay said. “There’s a lot of paperwork and hoops to go through to both qualify, and maintain the relationship with Medicare, but we’re doing that in order to increase access. That will help our retired community members in East Lansing, and the elderly in this area.”

For Savoyat, and fellow staff, the business is thankful and humbled by the continued support, and hope to celebrate another 30 years as a business.

“We are grateful to the community of East Lansing who has welcomed us, and supported us all these years, grateful to the wonderful clients who have entrusted their health and well-being to us, and grateful to our remarkable staff members, who by their professional skills and thoughtfulness, do their best every day, to be there for each client who comes in the door,” Savoyat said. “You all have helped us make Creative Wellness what it is today.”

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