By: Jodi La Marco
Alice Velky is a certified massage therapist, yoga instructor, reiki master and craftsperson of home-grown herbal products. See what she has to say about her business, Madhuri Therapeutics, and why she chose to use the Hudson Valley Current.
You practice a number of different disciplines. How did you get started and how long have you been practicing?
I’ve been interested in and attracted to alternative forms of healing since the 1970s. In the early 1990s, I started taking some workshops in craniosacral therapy. I had been doing computer work at the time. Craniosacral gave me energy and charged me up, as opposed to computer work which drains you out. A few years later, I got fed up with the business world and the computer world. I went to massage school and got a license, and I’ve been doing that ever since. That was in 1997. Around the same time, I also learned Reiki. Reiki is a form of energy healing that incorporates really well with bodywork.
You’re unique in that you provide services for people with a variety of needs, including palliative care. Can you tell us about that?
I got started by doing HIV care in a community health center. Patients began asking me to show them yoga moves, breathing, and meditation techniques. Then they asked if I could do a class. My supervisor agreed, but I didn’t have any credentials. At that point, I went and got a yoga teacher certification through Integral Yoga Institute. From there, I just kept adding to my toolkit. Eventually I ended up working in a hospital setting with pediatric cancer patients in the Bronx. I used every possible technique that I knew of to help these little kids get through things like chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants.
Palliative care is actually my true love. People think of palliative care as only being hospice, but it’s really comfort care. It’s not necessarily just for someone with a life-limiting condition. It’s symptom management. You can help with side effects of medication, pain management, stress management, and overall quality of life. You don’t have to be suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.
You also make your own homegrown herbal products, correct?
I grow and forage different medicinal herbs and I make things out of them. It’s a parallel path to healing. I make some healing salves and balms, herb-infused vinegars and tinctures, bug repellent, body butters, scrubs, and lip balms. I sell my products at the Rosendale Farmers Market and in my web store.
How does your business fit into the larger movement to revitalize the Hudson Valley?
We need our healers. Self-care is important, and that’s what I provide. Healers have always been a part of communities in traditional cultures, and we’ve kind of gotten away from that.
I also do volunteer work. Once a month, I do a holistic clinic at Darmstadt Shelter. It’s part of Family of Woodstock, and we offer massages for the residents of the shelter and the staff. This is through Healthcare is a Human Right.
Why did you decide to start using Currents?
The minute I heard about the Current, I said, “That’s brilliant, I want to be a part of it.” Then I got a massage client who gave me a regular influx of currents. Now, I get to go out and spend. I’ve really had fun connecting with other members who are active. I look for other integrative health practitioners so that I can take care of my own health. I found other massage therapists, bodyworkers, and chiropractors. That’s the bulk of what I do with Currents. I also like getting coffee at Carthaigh Coffee in Stone Ridge. It’s great. You can go in and just pay with the app. I’ve also been to Peace Nation in Kingston.
I very much see this as community—a community of caring. Liz Harrington called me because there was a member who was having a health issue, and with just a few phone calls and texts, hooked her up with people who would accept Currents to get herbs, to get acupuncture, and to get a massage, just to keep her healthy. I thought that was so cool. It’s such a great pool of resources. If I were looking to get some design work done or photography, I would definitely look there first. I would look within that community because I know they are like-minded people. To me it’s like conscious consumerism. It’s really being thoughtful and mindful about your choices.