Amethyst Star Healing is a bit tricky to find. That’s partly because it’s been too cold to attach a directional sign to the glass door on the backside of the Blakely Rd. Citgo gas station and partly because, well, you don’t expect to find a holistic healing studio inside a Citgo gas station.
Still, wafts of essential oils (mixed with the thick scent of bread baking in the Subway shop below) suggest a path up a set of stairs and down a carpeted hallway. Behind an unassuming office door is owner Stephanie Davis, grinning widely on a cozy gray couch framed by twinkling Christmas lights.
“My clients come in, and they feel a different part of their soul that’s been remembered,” Davis said. “They don’t know what they need … [but] something’s got to give.”
Davis was scared as she readied to move her studio to Colchester this December after 14 years in Burlington. The longtime resident wondered how the more traditional community would view her work and if current clients would be willing to trek up north.
In fact, she’s gained clients since making the move. Many come in for a traditional massage but trust Davis when she recommends something else — aromatherapy, crystal therapy, flower essence therapy or healing touch.
“The people who walk in my door you would know in the community and you would not say, ‘Oh, well they’re a little bit alternative,’” Davis said. “They’re very normal, normal people that are curious about how they can be a better version of themselves.”
Every element of Davis’ new place exudes relaxation. A meditative soundtrack plays softly as a water feature babbles nearby. Shiny crystals and dark vials of essential oil populate little shelves around the room. When she asked to demonstrate a few healing elements in her arsenal of services, I happily obliged.
The appointment started with some expected questions. Davis asked if I’d had a massage before and where I typically hold tension. Then the queries pivoted: “Are you a type A personality?” “How do you relax?” “How is your world working?”
It’s no wonder appointments with Davis have a tendency to become therapy sessions. About one in 10 end up crying during their treatment, and Davis swears she can tell if someone will be overcome by emotion as soon as they walk in her door.
“That is my biggest challenge,” Davis said. “People start talking, and I want them to talk, except that they’ve come in for a 90-minute massage and they’ve talked for 20 minutes.”
During the first half of my treatment, I was hyperaware as Davis moved around in silence and seriously conscious of my own breathing. She recommended frankincense, an earthy scent, for grounding. Later, she added peppermint — simply because the oil called out, “Pick me!”
I felt giddy with relaxation — and a bit like I was sleepwalking — as I put on my jacket to leave an hour later. Davis had warned me to clear my schedule that afternoon and to be careful driving home.
She said she revels in the post-treatment daze her clients don and especially loves when they press her to explain what exactly just happened to them. One person once asked incredulously, “Are you a good witch?”
“It’s energy work,” Davis explained. “I’ve done nothing except be with them.”
The unusual nature of this profession is not lost on Davis. She grew up in a conventional family and said her interest in tarot cards and astrology was frowned upon in her youth. Her decision to get a massage license after completing her bachelor’s degree was not enthusiastically supported, she said.
But Davis said that helps her serve as a bridge for folks who may be a bit shy about stepping into the alternative medicine realm for the first time.
“I’m kind of a chameleon,” Davis said. “I’ll meet you wherever you are, and chances are you’re in a much more conservative place than I am.”
Davis teaches yoga exclusively through the Colchester Parks and Recreation Department and usually attracts enough interest to merit a waiting list. The yoga isn’t particularly intense or disciplined, she said, but provides a space to laugh, bang on the floor and make primal sounds.
“They know that it’s safe to be silly and not be an adult,” she said. “These are very normal citizens in this community that would be mortified if they were named.”
Earlier this month, Davis stepped out of her own comfort zone and hosted her first “red tent” at the studio. The all-female gatherings take place during the new moon and allow attendees to “share their womanly experiences” in whatever capacity they feel comfortable.
“I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to show up,” Davis admitted. “I was terrified they were going to cancel the day of because our energy is lower on a new moon.”
Seven people did come — though none had any idea what they were in for. The result, Davis said, was the most sacred two hours. She plans to host another next month.
“We just share,” she said. “We don’t fix.”