A Healing Haven In Chinatown

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - May 16, 2007
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The Orchid Room Spa and Wellness Center’s Guenevere Johnson recommends getting a massage at least once a month
The Orchid Room Spa and Wellness Center’s
Guenevere Johnson recommends getting a
massage at least once a month

Guenevere Johnson says people should get a massage at least once a month as a preventative health measure, as it can stimulate the body’s organs from operating at a normal 80 percent to a full 100 percent.

“It encourages a positive attitude, more energy and good decision-making,” explains Johnson, who owns The Orchid Room Spa and Wellness Center.

Johnson sees acupuncture and massage treatments not as luxuries, but part of health care. She says acupuncture can relieve nausea that comes with radiation treatments for cancer patients, and that it can be an alternate to anti-depressants for post-traumatic stress.

The center offers nutritional and herbal consultations along with moxibustion, a form of heat therapy.

She encourages Eastern medicine by referring her clients to the herbalist located near her Chinatown spa. She also works with Western medicine by collaborating with island hospitals.

Johnson says one of her challenges is to educate people about the benefits of acupuncture and massage.

As an outreach program, she sends her professionals to service elderly and blind clients referred by a social service agency. In addition, The Orchid Room brings its massage chairs to employers who offer a massage day at the office.

Johnson says massage increases the blood flow to the arms and lowers stress before high blood pressure sets in.

“Nobody is absent on massage day,” says Johnson with a big smile. “After the massage they feel a bit relaxed, but then they report being so much more productive.”

She’s also offered her 1,300-square-foot space as a clinic with an acupuncturist and a therapeutic

masseuse available Sundays and Mondays from noon to 5 p.m. so people can walk in to receive services on a sliding scale basis. For all the health professionals who work at the Orchid Room, Johnson hosts a monthly forum where they can share information, suggest solutions to problems and continue to learn.

Johnson also is passionate about revitalizing the downtown Chinatown neighborhood. She serves as vice president of the Merchants Association of the Cultural Arts District. She’s encouraging building owners to keep their buildings up to code so that they can continue to own them. She’d also like to see more trolley stops in the area.

Born in Connecticut and raised in New York, Johnson has been a shiatsu practitioner for 12 years. She opened her first wellness center in New York City eight years ago. She had a wellness center in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina hit, which relocated Johnson and husband Paul, a tattoo artist, to California. The couple moved to Hawaii last year.

“This is what I love to do,” she says. “I love to see people heal emotionally and physically without the toxins of pharmaceuticals.”

The Orchid Room is located at 941 River St., # 230. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 566-8008 or log onto www.theorchidroomhawaii.com

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