Rubbing you the right way at the airport

By Ed Brock

Erica Black is providing a little candle-lit pool of calm in the jarring, fast-paced world of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Black is the new massage therapist at the R.L. Brown Jr. Grady Medical Center in the airport's atrium.

“You come into the airport and it's one of the most stressful places,” Black said. “You've got time line crunches, you've got hundreds of people waiting in line with you to get through security.”

Now stressed-out passengers and airport employees can spend 10 to 30 minutes in Black's massage chair in the atrium or come up to the clinic for a full massage, complete with candlelight and soothing oils.

Many of her clients find themselves relaxing as soon as they walk into the massage room.

“It's definitely about the atmosphere,” Black said.

Black, 26, graduated from the Atlanta School of Massage in 2004 and has been working at Perimeter Summit Health Club. On Oct. 14 she began offering her service at the airport.

Currently Black comes to the Grady Medical Center all day on Mondays and Wednesdays and by appointment on Friday. The center is working on hiring another masseuse to provide service five days a week.

Along with Asian massage techniques like Chinese tuina, Japanese shiatsu and Thai massage, Black specializes in sports massage and Swedish massage.

April Bivens, an administrative analyst with the Atlanta Department of Aviation that manages Hartsfield-Jackson, is four months pregnant and has been coming to see Black since October.

“She specializes in pregnancy massages and not everybody does that,” Bivens said.

Bivens said she tries to go to Black every three weeks.

“Since the first time I went I was having some back issues, but afterward I was feeling 100 percent better,” Bivens said.

Black said the most common complaints she gets from the air travelers she's treated are neck, shoulder blade and lower back pain.

“I had one lady who flew in from Denver and her back had gone out in the morning,” Black said. “She was on her way to a vacation in the Caribbean. It worked out perfectly for her.”

Each new client completes an information sheet detailing their problems and what kind of massage they need.

“You don't want to just put them on the table,” Black said. “You want to know what their issues are.”

Black offers table massages at $35 for 30 minutes, $65 for an hour and $90 for 90 minutes. Her chair massages are $1 a minute for 10, 20 and 30 minute sessions.

She's available at the Grady Medical Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Call (404) 616-6000 to make an appointment for Fridays.

Also, she offers at-home massages for people in the Atlanta area.

For more information on that service call Black at (404) 271-1008.