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Following three decades in security, Reuben Peck changed careers and is now a certified massage therapist with a new practice in Los Alamos.
“I got my first massage 15 months ago and it felt so good and I was just at peace with everything in the world. I thought if I could pass that on to others it would be wonderful,” Peck said. “I checked on schools and found one of the best in the country was in Santa Fe.”
Peck, 51, interviewed last year with the Scherer Institute of Natural Healing and was accepted.
“They were just named one of the top 10 schools in the country. What sets them apart from other schools is their focus on the quality of touch and how to work with the body to accept the therapist’s touch and to allow the therapist to get into the body deeper,” he said.
Peck completed the 11-month program and opened Phoenix Bodyworks this summer. The name stems signifies a rejuvenation and resurrection from his former career as well as his mission to free his patients from that which bothers them physically.
“What gives me the most satisfaction is helping people to get in better tune with their body and get relief from that pain that they’ve been living with for awhile,” Peck said. “I think the biggest difference for me now is that I spent 30 years in some form of government security or law enforcement where when I put my hands on people in the past it was with little compassion. Now when I put my hands on people it’s all about compassion.”
Peck worked in security for a nuclear site, in law enforcement for the prison system and trained the Bernalillo County SWAT Team. He worked for the National Nuclear Security Administration in Albuquerque for some five years before moving into security management at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 13 years.
He left LANL in 2005 and moved for a time to Colorado where he volunteered for Outward Bound and did some work as a personal trainer. Following that life-changing massage, Peck retuned to Los Alamos, graduated massage school and opened his practice. He is in a building that includes a number of alternative health practices including Kim Lazarus, a doctor of chiropractic and certified Graston Technique practitioner and acupuncture practitioners Inez Jones and Erica Hunt.
“We all complement each other,” Lazarus said. “Rueben hones in on problem areas as opposed to just giving a relaxing massage. He really listens to what people say and works out the problems and gives the patient long-lasting affects.”
Peck’s techniques target pain and stress reduction. He has discovered that while a patient may talk about the bulk of pain being on their right side, there is a balance to the body, so he works on both sides and perhaps even finds his way to the patient’s feet in the process of relieving the pain.
“Massage therapy is much more than a luxury – it should be part of an overall healthcare regimen. Massage relieves everything from chronic pain to stress and stress is 90 percent of the cause of illness today,” Peck said. “As a message therapist I find the human body to be so beautiful. Everybody is so different and either you find the beauty in all of them or you don’t and if you don’t then you’ll drop out of message school and won’t be a good therapist.”
Born in South Pasadena, he is a graduate of the NNSA Academy and holds a bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from South Carolina University.
Peck, now single, is the father of four daughters including Nicole, 25, Simone, 21, Monique, 19, and Cosette, 16.
Phoenix Bodyworks at 3250 Trinity Dr., Suite B. Business hours at his practice go beyond typical hours of operation into the early evenings and Saturdays. Call 662-1905 for appointments.