Everyone has had those days when they have felt beat up by the world -- one of those days when a comforting touch would lift the burden of weariness.
If you are having one of those days anytime soon, look up Frances Fork at the Payson Day Spa.
Fork is a licensed massage therapist and a licensed aesthetician. She has been with the Payson Day Spa for two years and also works for herself. Fork said Payson Day Spa is an asset to the community and enjoys working in their relaxing treatment rooms.
"I've been a massage therapist since 1984," Fork said. "I became one because of my own health. I had problems with back and neck pain, so I took a massage class to help myself. At the time I was working in a bank, where I'd been for 10 years."
She said she enjoyed the training so much, she changed careers.
Fork offers a unique style of massage, Medistone Massage, which uses heated stones. She said incorporating heated stones creates a deeper level of relaxation and aids in relieving muscle tension and sore joints. They also increase circulation.
She learned the technique a number of years ago, but only recently began incorporating it into all the massage therapy she provides.
"I've really been enjoying offering the Medistone therapy," Fork said. "It uses highly polished agate gemstones, shaped to provide a full body massage."
Using the stones also makes giving massage therapy less intense for Fork, a small, soft-spoken woman.
To help clients with inflammation, Fork also uses cool stones in some of her massage work. She said she loves working with the stones and has a habit of picking up rocks when she is out roaming around.
"It's ironic really," she said. "Growing up on a farm in eastern Washington, we had to pick up loads of rocks before my father could plant an orchard. Sometimes we even had to pick up rocks before we could go and play. And now I work with stones.
"In the 1990s I became interested in facial care. I was growing older and wanted to age gracefully," she said.
That led her to look into the field of aesthetics.
"With a tip from a European aesthetician I found the Euro Skin Care Institute in Seattle," Fork said. "It incorporated holistic training in its techniques. It gives an added bonus to my (massage) work to understand skin."
"In Arizona, skin care is a must, not an option, " she said. "Simple techniques, not products, is what can make a difference in your skin. Techniques like changing how you wash your face -- less is better -- and when. You should wash your face only in the evening, so when you wake up, your natural oils are in place and they're more compatible to skin health than creams. In the morning, just cleanse with water."
If a client has a need for products to improve the health of their skin, Fork has found lines she has available for purchase.
"I have been fortunate to find exceptionally wonderful products for skin care and nutritional needs."
Her basic formula for aging gracefully: "Eat good food for good nutrition, drink plenty of water, get plenty of good movement through exercise, take care of your skin and always remember to use sun protection."
In addition to the work with Medistone Massage, Fork does basic therapeutic massage, body polish treatments, rejuvenating facial massage, lymphatic facial massage, makes house calls and can even do T Touch for animals and equine massage. She is also trained in neuromuscular therapy, reflexology and Reiki.
She learned the equine massage because her great mid-life passion is her horse, and a mule.
"I had ponies when I was a child and always wanted to have horses. Now I do."
Name: Frances Fork
Occupation: Licensed massage therapist and licensed aesthetician
Employer: Payson Day Spa and self
Birthplace: Yakima, Wash.
Family: Husband, Bill; two dogs, a cat, a horse and a mule.
Personal motto: Age gracefully and enjoy life.
Inspiration: Continued support of friends giving tips and encouraging me to follow my desires and leap out into a challenge.
Greatest feat: Switching from banking to holistic health and career at 30 and turning health around.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Hanging out with my horses and pets.
Three (more or less) words that describe me best are ... I love to be inspired.
I don't want to brag but ... I walked on hot coals.
The person(s) in history I'd most like to meet is: Master Gardeners from around the world.
Luxury defined: An adobe home with a greenhouse and garden on many acres of grassy meadows and trees.
Dream vacation spot: A week at an ocean beach spa.
Why Payson? It's a nice, homey town with clean air and friendly people and it's close enough to Phoenix, but not too close.