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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Sollievo Massage and Bodywork: Relief and Relaxation, One Body at a Time

Aug 01, 2011 08:42AM ● By Casey McAnn


When Laura Barricelli and Rose Centola, co-owners of Sollievo Massage and Bodywork, opened their doors in 2007, they wanted to do more than simply offer massage therapy in North Cambridge. Sollievo, which means “relief” in Italian, was created to offer healing and comfort to both customers and therapists. As licensed massage therapists (LMTs) themselves, Barricelli and Centola were intentional when designing the facilities. Sollievo’s lobby is decorated in earthy tones, reminiscent of an Italian farmhouse, and the feeling of home and comfort carries into the specially designed treatment rooms.
All massage therapists at Sollievo are LMTs, specifically chosen for their experience and attention to detail. Many of them followed Barricelli from the Muscular Therapy and Cortiva institutes when she transitioned from teaching to private practice. Seeking to take good care of her therapists, Barricelli created spacious treatment rooms. “This is physical work; we really need space to move our bodies so that we have longevity as therapists,” she says.

“That was part of our plan, as well as subdued lights, and cork floors, which are easier on the therapists’ joints.”

Sollievo clients pay according to the time spent on the treatment table and are given additional time for consultation with the therapist. Clients are not charged extra for more intensive treatments such as deep tissue or pre-natal massage. “The therapist will do what is needed for the best treatment,” Centola notes. “Maybe incorporate some craniosacral work, for example, [but] you’ll still pay the basic massage rate.”
Clients come to Sollievo with a wide variety of needs, and many have been referred by friends who have found relief and relaxation there. In addition to working with injuries and providing stress and tension relief, Sollievo therapists treat chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, post-partum depression, insomnia, migraines, tinnitus and plantar fasciitis. Sometimes Sollievo therapists will refer clients to the staff acupuncturist to complement their work with an eastern modality. They may also recommend, between treatments, self-care for clients that may include exercises, stretches and simple breathing techniques.
Barricelli, Centola and their staff are currently treating a client living with cerebral palsy. The client is documenting her treatment results for doctors and others living with the condition and hopes the results will allow her to avoid spinal surgery. “It’s been fascinating to work with her and see the powerful effects of hands-on work,” Barricelli remarks. “At the end of the treatment, she comes out sitting visibly taller in her wheelchair, with less spasticity in her arms. If, in the end, she doesn’t have to go through surgery, that will be enormous.”
Sollievo will be closed the last week of August through Labor Day in order to give staff members time for self-care and relaxation.
Sollievo Massage and Bodywork is located at 2285 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. For more information, call 617-354-3082 or visit


“We wanted to create a space that was rooted and earthy and calming, with therapists who are grounded and well-trained, and who really get the notion of doing good work, which requires a real relationship with the client,” says Barricelli.