CornerStone Blog

Get to know Carol Hunt, Doylestown Massage Therapist

I’ve been meaning to set up an interview with Doylestown Massage Therapist Carol Hunt (license # msg000415) for some time. She’s an interesting and kind person and a font of information when it comes to bodywork. Given that February includes the Valentine holiday and is now considered a month to focus on love – both towards others as well as towards ourselves – it seemed the perfect time to speak with Carol who’s love of her work makes her not only an outstanding massage therapist, but also a valued member of the Cornerstone team.

How long have you been working at Cornerstone and what brought you here?

I started working at Cornerstone in September 1996, so it’s been a little over 22 years. A friend of mine used to drive by the Doylestown club, which was the first Cornerstone location. He told me that the parking lot was always full and suggested that I stop in and speak to someone. So, I did. Apparently, there was a massage therapist who had broken her ankle and no one was sure if she was coming back. After a couple interviews, I was hired. There were times when I was the only massage therapist on staff. Now, I’m fortunate to work with two other highly experienced massage therapists, Cathy Calabria-Kane and Rachel Zhang. Between the three of us, we have about 65 years of experience!

Why did you decide to become a massage therapist?

I originally went to massage school in the 80’s, but it wasn’t the right time in my life and I wasn’t ready to do anything with it. So, I went again in ’95 and by that time, I was ready to practice. As for why I chose this line of work, I can’t really articulate it. I just felt it was a calling, a calling that was strong enough that I paid for school twice!

How has massage therapy changed over the years that you have been practicing?

It’s much more in the public eye and awareness. Thankfully, the old-fashioned perception of “massage parlors” has dropped away and massage therapy has become properly integrated into the healthcare and wellness industry. There’s also been a lot more research in the last 10-15 years proving the efficacy of massage. We’ve learned that massage can benefit lots of different populations. Massage therapy has also become more professional with state licensure requirements along with other rules and regulations.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Staying relevant. I have a lot of long-term clients. I don’t want people getting bored with their massage. It’s important to me that I keep my massages fresh and focused on the needs of my clients. Since I love what I do, this is not hard.

How would you explain the importance of regular massage to overall health and wellness?

All massage is therapeutic with each treatment targeted towards creating total relaxation and restoration in an individual. Massage can release restrictions and ease muscle pain and tension, increase range of motion by promoting joint flexibility and induce relaxation, increase circulation and contribute towards deeper sleep.
Most people don’t stretch enojgh, so massage will help lengthen muscle fibers and can improve circulation through the body resulting in the movement of nutrients into and out of the cells. Tight muscles have less elasticity. So, cells have waste and toxic products. Relaxing muscles and improving fluid circulation moves nutrients into the cells and waste products out. Also, massage can help align new scar tissue and have it become pliable with the muscle fiber. There is also the importance of the power of touch. Massage therapy provides connection to another person in a non-judgmental and caring way. Massage is also like a vacation from stress which is the root of so much disease.

What do you like most about your job?

All of it. It feeds my soul. I love the one-on-one connection, I love seeing improvements in people, and I love “being the best part of their day”- even if it’s the fastest hour of a person’s day.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about massage therapy?

That they are in charge. Too many people say, “I had a massage and it hurt”, but they don’t speak up. People are afraid to ask for what they want. I always thank people when they make it clear what they want. It makes it easier for me to do my job and complete my mission which is to satisfy my clients by giving them what they need. It’s about you. It’s not about the massage I want to give you.

What type of massage do you specialize in?

Oncology massage, Swedish/Deep Swedish, Hot stone and Pre and post natal. I’m also a Reiki Master. Sometimes, people will ask me what kind of massage I’m giving. After 2o + years of experience, I have the confidence to incorporate my many years of continuing education and often combine elements from different modalities so I can tailor a massage to fit a person’s specific needs. Sometimes there’s no simple answer – it’s often a mix of things based on experience.

Carol has helped many people over the years, both members and Cornerstone staff. Here’s what Kim Starkey, Doylestown Personal Trainer, had to say:

“Carol has helped out our whole family reduce pain and stress with her deep Swedish massages. I buy gift cards regularly for my mother, husband and sons. So much more effective than going to a doctor and getting medicine that causes other side effects.”

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for weekly emails announcing upcoming appointment openings, contact Carol at CHunt@cornerstoneclubs.com.

If you’d like to make an appointment with Carol, she’s available in Doylestown at the following days and times:

Mondays, 3:00 – 8:00pm
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00am – 3:30pm
First Saturday of the month, 10:00 – 3:00pm

Member Gina Caputo Shares Her Inspirational Story

We are so grateful to long-time member Gina Caputo for courageously sharing her inspirational story.  She exemplifies everything that we here at Cornerstone solidly believe – and that is that health and wellness is a journey (not a destination) which is most successful when it takes place in a supportive community environment.  Please read on to enjoy Gina’s story.

I have been a member of the Cornerstone Clubs for 20 years and had the pleasure of seeing many changes over the years including the new clubs and classes at Warrington and New Hope.  During those 20 years, my exercise choices have evolved from machines to classes and personal and group trainings.  The Cornerstone Clubs are run very professionally, but project a personal and friendly feeling to the members. 

In April of 2016, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer.  During that time, my doctors continued to stress that exercise, nutrition and rest are key healthy habits to embrace.  Luckily for me, I was more than half way there which made the prep and surgery recovery much quicker.  After having double mastectomies in May, I was back at the gym within 6 weeks and able to do light workouts and cardio.  My range of motion was excellent due to being diligent all those years working out and keeping fit.  A few months later I was cleared to continue with my full work outs which mainly consisted of Barre, Zumba, Zumba toning (which I’ve done since Cornerstone introduced those classes), light weights and machines. Both Zumba and Barre have been an integral part of my life and journey with excellent instructors.

I wanted to focus on strengthening, toning and rebuilding my muscle. I spoke with Personal Trainer Tracey Kling (who was the trainer assigned to me when I first joined 20 years ago!). She suggested many options and classes, one of them being Flexline which I started in 2017.  

A few months later,  I started doing  personal training with Tracey to continue to tone, maintain my weight and restore muscle.  In addition to Zumba and Barre I have included Flexline and personal and team training every week.  I was determined to keep up, feel good and impress my doctors with results.

The professional  personal training I receive from Tracey has been gratifying and the results are amazing.  Needless to say,  the Cornerstone Clubs have become my “home away from home”.  Don’t give up, learn all that you can and embrace yourself. 

10 Reasons Why You Should Try Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom dancing is a wonderful way for people from all walks of life to get in shape while also releasing their creative juices. This goes past merely benefiting your body; dance can also benefit your state of mind and social connections. Dancing is a great social activity, and it has been proving that socializing regularly can have vast health benefits on self-esteem, stress, and even your BMI.

Uplifting and Fun
Not many activities are as joyful as artistic dance moves. Concentrating on moving your body to the beat of the music instantaneously puts you in a positive head space. After you get the moves down, it’s pure fun and laughs.

Muscle Toning
Ballroom dancing contributes to muscle toning by forcing dancers to resist their partner’s body strength. Fast turns, spinning and two-stepping all contribute to muscle building.

Bones and Joints
Since dancing is a weight-resisting activity, it can help protect bone density and prevent osteoporosis. It can also help speed up knee recovery after surgery since it’s a lower impact exercise than jogging or biking. If you have weak knees or are gradually introducing your body to exercise, ballroom dancing is a great low-impact activity that can promote a fit lifestyle while also decreasing your chances of exercise-related injury.

Flexibility
Flexibility is a major benefit of ballroom dancing. Ballroom dancing itself contains plenty of stretching and bending. Therefore the more you dance, the more flexible you will become.

Brain Food
In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, it was concluded that ballroom dancing, as well as other forms of social dancing, can help prevent the onset of dementia in elderly patients. It was revealed that “dance improved one of the cognitive domains (spatial memory),” which is vital for learning dance (Dafna Merom, et al., 2016).

Burns Fat
Dancing is a low-impact aerobic activity that can boost your metabolism. In just thirty minutes of dancing, you can burn anywhere between 200-400 calories. That’s roughly the same amount burned by running or cycling.

Creative Outlet
Ballroom dancing is an amazing creative outlet! Not only does it allow you to move your hips at ease to the beat of the music, it also allows you to release your emotions and thoughts through artistic movements.

Conditioning
Engaging in just about any cardiovascular or aerobic activity can help improve your heart health, lower obesity and type 2 diabetes risk, and also promote lung capacity.

Endurance
Dancing an effective way to improve general endurance. As the dance sessions get longer and longer, your muscles will be working harder and for a longer period of time. In turn, you will find yourself being able to go on with little to no fatigue.

Social Connectivity

Joining a ballroom dance class will expose you to a sea of new people who may potentially share common interests with you. Instead of spending your evenings glued to your television screen, you can engage in uplifting conversations and strengthen your social connections by trying this partnered activity. It’s been proven that being more social can help improve self-esteem, lower stress levels, increase sense of purpose, and promote a positive outlook on life.

More about Ballroom Dancing at Cornerstone . . .

Our Ballroom Dance classes are taught by the fabulous instructors of Dancers Extraordinaire which was established in 1995. Classes were opened to the general public in the ballroom, Latin, and swing styles of dance. Their classes and experienced staff have expanded to include most forms of dance and exercise for all ages and experience levels.  In 2006, Dancers Extraordinaire had the opportunity to join the Cornerstone Clubs to provide instruction for their members as well as the general public. In addition to teaching classes at Cornerstone, every third Friday (check web site for specific dates: www.dancingdancing.com) there is a dance practice/party for the students to practice what they have learned in class.  With wedding season soon upon us, please keep in mind that Dancers Extraordinaire also provides private dancing lessons to individuals and couples.  For more information, contact Jeff Falabala.

Our studio’s philosophy…
Although imitation is a primary learning method, we encourage our dancers to create as well as absorb. Often the simplest activities have the greatest learning possibilities. Many of the exercises act as introductions and preparations for more complex dance movements. Our students are encouraged to use their imaginations during class. Our mission is to ensure that our students have an enjoyable experience.

Check out the next session of DANCE AT CORNERSTONE which starts in early January, 2019.

Instructor Spotlight: How I’m Overcoming My Fear of Swimming

Eva and Instructor Emily Norek_RT

I’ve been itching to interview Mariela Doyle for some time.  Her journey at Cornerstone – from member to Group Fight instructor – is both interesting and inspiring.  So, when we last crossed paths and she mentioned that she recently started taking private swimming lessons at our Warrington club, I was intrigued by her latest fitness choice. A few weeks later, as we sat chatting in the Doylestown Café, she graciously agreed to share her story. Continue reading Instructor Spotlight: How I’m Overcoming My Fear of Swimming

How Yoga Practice Affects Everyday Life – My Journey From Student to Teacher

Yoga Tree Image_Lauren Otto, Cornerstone Yoga InstructorLauren Otto, Cornerstone Yoga Instructor

Yoga has evolved and intertwined in my life over the years so that it is truly a part of my every day.  When I was first introduced to yoga, I was more interested in the physical aspect of the yoga practice and how to get that “yoga body.” As the years have gone by, the practice has really turned inward and become more about the inner stillness. It has become more about being where I am…in the moment and how to find ease. Continue reading How Yoga Practice Affects Everyday Life – My Journey From Student to Teacher

Member Story: Brittany Brown’s Journey to Better Health & Wellness

Brittanys Wedding

Last week, I had a wonderful conversation with a member. Her name is Brittany Brown, and she joined our Warrington location in early 2017. Brittany is fun, smart and peppy. She’s also completely committed to health and wellness, and she loves Cornerstone. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her story, and when I asked her if I could share it, she graciously agreed. Continue reading Member Story: Brittany Brown’s Journey to Better Health & Wellness

Yoga Class in the Grass in Doylestown Supports Pine2Pink & Breast Cancer Patients

Yoga class outside Pine to Pink

I am sure you heard this story a hundred times . . .
A guy grows up in New Hope, PA, moves to California for 16 years to work in the entertainment industry, moves back to the East coast to work for The Howard Stern Show, ends up settling in Doylestown and launches a non-profit to benefit local breast cancer patients in treatment and recovery. 

Continue reading Yoga Class in the Grass in Doylestown Supports Pine2Pink & Breast Cancer Patients

Introducing Our New Guide to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT Jumping up on wood boxes

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – is big news in the fitness industry and has been for some time because it really works. If you want to get fitter faster, burn calories and see real results (and who doesn’t?), HIIT training is the answer for you. 

But…if we are really being honest, it also sounds a little scary too, doesn’t it? Unless you are a seasoned athlete or a veteran of gym-based interval training classes, you probably see those four words and think “definitely NOT for me.”  But, the truth is, HIIT fitness workouts are for you (and everyone else too!). This is why the Cornerstone Team has created a new guide to HIIT, complete with sample workout to get you started. Continue reading Introducing Our New Guide to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Best Moves for Senior Fitness!

Senior yoga class

Whether you are new to Cornerstone Clubs or a seasoned veteran, our general expectations for an exercise program are virtually the same. We want a program and/or class to provide an opportunity for movement that will be safe, effective, purposeful, and enhance the quality of life. Think about it. This statement is true from the elite athlete training for their next Spartan race with a goal of cutting their time to the 78 year old looking to maintain independence. Continue reading Best Moves for Senior Fitness!

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