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Christy Claybaker, licensed massage therapist, practices her holistic healing on Grace Rybarczyk. Claybaker started a Web directory in early February to provide a more seamless referral process.
Christy Claybaker, licensed massage therapist, practices her holistic healing on Grace Rybarczyk. Claybaker started a Web directory in early February to provide a more seamless referral process.

Online directory connects wellness community

Posted online
As a licensed massage therapist, Christy Claybaker often fields client requests for referrals to
providers of other holistic therapies, such as acupuncture, naturopathy or nutrition counseling.

Her inability to give those referrals quickly was often frustrating, because in many cases, if she didn’t have a business card for a colleague, she was out of luck.

Just before the holidays, however, she was hit by the idea for a holistic wellness directory.

“There’s pet directories, kid directories, all kinds of stuff in town,” Claybaker said. “Why not have a holistic wellness directory?”

She began compiling information and making contacts to gauge provider response.

“It was basically 100 percent. Everyone said, ‘Yes, we need that,’” she said.

Claybaker launched the directory, Feb. 7, and her business plans call for a printed companion piece to be available for distribution by June.

The directory features holistic health businesses and professionals in categories that include alternative medicine, business resources, bodywork, Chinese medicine, fitness, health and wellness, local food and prenatal care.

“My idea of holistic wellness is looking at the body as a whole, looking at the whole person and not just trying to treat a symptom,” Claybaker said. “There’s definitely a need for medical doctors, and it’s my goal to find holistic doctors that would be a part of this. I target the businesses that take more of that alternative-medicine approach. Instead of tossing out painkillers, muscle relaxants, I want the type of business that says, ‘Here’s what’s going on, here’s how we’re going to treat it.’”

Among the entities already listed on the site are MaMa Jean’s Natural Foods Market LLC, Doula Foundation of the Ozarks and Professional Massage Training Center.

Claybaker used WordPress tools to design the site. Simple listings on the site cost $15 a year, while advertisements in a rotating carousel on the main page are $56 a month, Claybaker said. Rates for inclusion in the printed directory will depend on size, with a $650 maximum for a full page.

“My goal isn’t to take away from any of the other publications out there,” Claybaker said. “My goal is to complement them.”

Carmen Turner-Schott, co-publisher of The Rising Magazine – which launched Feb. 14 – has signed a yearlong advertising commitment with the directory, and she said she sees it as a perfect fit for her business, even though both pursue advertising dollars.

“It’s similar to what we’re doing, but different. My goal is really to write and have educational articles about new-age spirituality and wellness,” Turner-Schott said, adding that she and Claybaker have been exploring the idea of co-sponsoring a holistic expo.

Turner-Schott, who has 17 years of experience as a social worker, Reiki master and astrological counselor, says she’s seen a shift in people’s attitudes toward alternative therapies, which are now drawing more interest.

“Even in social work, more people are turning away from traditional therapies and modalities. The mind-body connection is so important,” she said.

Melissa Miller Young, a life coach, and her husband, Gary, a certified nutritional counselor, listed their company, Zen Life Solutions, with the online directory so that they would be able to give referrals to other providers, but that wasn’t their only reason.

“I think that it’s a really good solution for the sole practitioner or small group to network with a larger community,” Young said, noting that she and her husband are excited to be part of the printed directory, too.

“What a resource that will be, just to be able to hand it to somebody,” she said.[[In-content Ad]]


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