| Ryan Feyre
NORTHAMPTON – A turn down Center Street is like a cool down after a long-winded race through the bustling milieu of Main Street and all its amenities.
It only makes sense, then, that a pink and white Victorian-style building on 53 Center St. houses CLINIC, a multidisciplinary healing center for people looking to participate in different methods of alternative and holistic wellness modalities – whether it be acupuncture, massage therapy, energy therapy, reiki and more.
“When I was in acupuncture school, I always imagined having my own wellness center,” said Jennifer Nery, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of CLINIC. “I envisioned not on Main Street, but close to town in Northampton … Victorian-style house.”
Although CLINIC has been around since 2011, Nery officially opened the new location at Center Street on Nov. 1 with a ribbon cutting.
In an interview with Reminder Publishing, Nery said that she started her acupuncture practice on State Street in 2010 as a shared office. “It was lovely, but I found the location kind of isolating,” said Nery, of the initial spot.
As a result, Nery wanted to find a spot that felt more integrated for the practitioners and patients. After only sharing an office with a massage therapist for a year-and-a-half, Nery decided to open a larger space on Main Street in 2011. “It was a really beautiful space,” said Nery, of the Main Street location. “There’s a ton we loved about it. “
Despite the positives, Nery said the location also featured a flight of stairs, which kind of became a hinderance for practitioners and patients. “It really inhibited the business, being up a flight of stairs,” said Nery.
The Center Street location
After years at Main Street, Nery wanted to find a location that was more Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible and less laborious to enter. During the coronavirus pandemic, she considered either the Center Street building or another location up on Pleasant Street.
“The style of [the Center Street] building was a dream come true,” said Nery. “It’s a really beautiful and charming building. The location is also fantastic.”
Nery said she really enjoyed the bustling scene on Main Street, but the quietness and parking accessibility really stood out for her on Center Street. “The potential for wheelchair accessibility was really the driving force,” said Nery.
The building features a myriad of amenities on two floors including massage and therapy rooms and a flex room for future yoga classes and other uses. Nery said they are also working on creating an ADA-accessible bathroom, as well as a kitchenette in another room.
To expand the accessibility, Nery said she also hopes to install a wheelchair ramp that will wrap around the building to create full wheelchair accessibility for the first floor.
The structure of CLINIC
According to Nery, all of the practitioners essentially pay rent and operate their own business inside the CLINIC location.
“I provide the space and also some promotion,” said Nery, who described herself as a fancy landlord. “We keep a website for everybody, and we do a newsletter that goes out to all of our clients.”
“All of the nuts and bolts of getting scheduled and getting paid is handled for them,” continued Nery. “It’s basically their own practice with support.”
Generally-speaking, CLINIC houses whoever is interested in offering their practice and profession to clients in the community. Right now, they feature four acupuncturists, five massage therapists, several energy workers, several talk therapists, as well as a life coach.
“I’m hoping to evolve to an even broader selection,” said Nery. “I’m hoping to get some more western practitioners … I think that could be a real asset for us and our patients.”
Originally a philosophy student, Nery found a passion in acupuncture after the modality treated her during her tenure playing rugby at Smith College.
“When I quit philosophy, the first thing I thought about was acupuncture as a career,” said Nery. “It was absolutely perfect because it weaved together by theoretical background.”
The benefits of these modalities
“A lot of what we do is weird,” said Nery, with a laugh. “People might not be fully comfortable coming in to get acupuncture … there are a lot of people who have not received a massage and may feel weird about it.”
To alleviate the awkwardness, Nery said the practitioners always aim to make people feel comfortable as possible. “I really try to make the space feel warm, welcoming, clean and safe,” said Nery. “That stuff is absolutely critical.”
Beyond just the atmosphere, Nery said the modalities themselves are beneficial in many ways. For example, unlike a typical primary care doctor, Nery said the practitioners tend to the entire body.
“For the most part, western or biomedical practitioners are hemmed into this situation where they only have a few minutes to spend with you and can only focus on the top list of complaints,” said Nery. “By the nature of our practices, we’re spending time with people, hearing their whole story, and we’re attempting to treat the whole person and weave together that history and story that we’re hearing.”
Because of this, Nery said she has been able to accumulate lifetime clients who trust CLINIC’s methodologies of wellness.
“For all of our practices, we’re doing a much more comprehensive process,” said Nery. “We’re really sinking into people.”
Practitioners offer their services through shifts, according to Nery. In a typical day, there could be two to three different shifts practicing in a different room.
If people want to make appointments for a certain wellness method, they can book a time online on CLINIC’s website: https://www.clinic-northampton.com/.
A grand opening party for the new location is happening on Dec. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m.
“I really want to build community among the clients and practitioners,” said Nery, on the future of the business. “This space really gives us room to have the kind of run-ins you need to have to build that.”