St Josephs Institute – Port Matilda PA- Med Spa Opening

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Institute opens medical spa

Instead of relying on aspirin to combat your next migraine headache, you may want to consider a day at the spa.

The St. Joseph Institute, located nearby in Port Matilda, recently expanded its services to include a medical spa, which offers a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Instead of manicures and pedicures, the institute says they will work to maximize an individual’s health and wellness.

“Our approach to healing cares for the whole person, identifying treatment options that address the many facets that contribute to health problems,” said Jenny Sheetz, president of the institute.

Each person who visits the new medical spa will have a personal program designed specifically for him or her.

An interdisciplinary team of medical doctors, physical therapists, bodywork specialists, counselors and nutritionists work together to address the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social needs of every guest, according to a press release.

“The coolest aspect is that it’s personal,” Mollie Woehling (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said.

Located close to State College on 207 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, the new medical spa can accommodate only about 50 guests, which adds to its personalized approach.

Treatments are offered for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from eating disorders to depression and stress to migraine headaches, chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

“We offer more than 60 different services and treatments,” Michael Campbell, chief operating officer for the institute, said, who emphasized that “each treatment is specifically designed for the individual.”

The idea of treating health issues based on the relationship between the body, mind, emotions and spirit is the reason why, Campbell said, the institute approaches health problems “much more broadly.”

“Many people come to us because they haven’t found relief from the standard medical practices,” she said.

Many students said they felt the medical spa was a good alternative option for treating a health issue, but that it would only be beneficial if it were covered by their insurance.

“I feel like this is taking into consideration other aspects, like what’s causing it, and not just giving them medicine,” Michelle Lytle (freshman-biobehavioral health) said.

Liz Decina (junior-therapeutic recreation) agreed that the institute’s approach to healing health problems based on different facets was a good idea, though she felt that whether or not it would work for an individual would probably depend on how much patients believed in its effectiveness.

“The reasons why you have that [health problem] are a big factor,” Decina said.

Other students were not as convinced.

“I think, overall, it sounds like a beneficial idea, but I don’t think it sounds practical,” Sarah Burton (sophomore-journalism) said.

Campbell said one of the reasons for opening the spa was that he thinks a growing amount of people are looking for alternative approaches to health, as opposed to just medicine.

According to a Penn State Pulse survey on University Health Services in November 2007, many students have similar attitudes.

When asked about additional services they would like to see offered at UHS, 86 percent of students who replied were interested in stress management, while 80 percent were interested in psychiatry and 73.1 percent were interested in massage therapy.

Beth Collitt, marketing manager of UHS, noted that there is a growing interest in alternative health options.

“In general, the attitude here seems to be that the staff is in favor of other alternative strategies of staying well and getting well,” Collitt said.

“We’re a general clinic, too, so obviously we can’t do everything, but I would say that the philosophy here is supportive of alternative therapies as a way to reduce stress and stay healthy.”

Campbell said the institute’s broad approach to healing has brought people from all across the country to the medical spa, but the trend in alternative health options may be growing.

“We do have physical therapy here; we do have a nutritionist as part of our staff; and we do have counselors through CAPS [Center for Counseling and Psychological Services], so we are doing some of that here already,” Collitt said.

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