By Rod Lee
Courtesy of the Yankee XPress
The space that the Detox Shop and Spa occupies in Suite 202 at 319A Southbridge St. in Auburn is meant to evoke a sense of serenity and indeed it does.
Softly lit rooms dedicated to “detoxifying your body”—purging the bloodstream of toxins absorbed through the skin from “the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the medications we take or the products we use”—fulfill the mission Ken and Michele Miller intended for them when they set about launching their business in the commercial hotbed that is Auburn several months ago.
The premises carry much more import for Ms. Miller, however, than providing customers with “a unique spa experience.”
“I lost my mom to late-stage Lyme disease, which was misdiagnosed for many years,” Ms. Miller said while giving a visitor a tour of the Detox Shop and Spa on October 23rd. “It’s not just a rash and you get your diagnosis and you’re fine. It can mirror other diseases.”
In Jeanne Cloutier’s case, as Ms. Cloutier noted in journals she kept, it even resulted in a diagnosis of ALS, which, she wrote, “I didn’t believe.”
“We found a Lyme-literate physician after that,” Ms. Miller said. “We had her properly tested.” Most tests for Lyme disease including the Elisa test that a physician will employ “are only 49% accurate. A lot of people fall through the cracks. They get tested and tested.”
How Jeanne Cloutier contracted Lyme disease remains a mystery. She died in 2013. “My parents camped for many years,” Ms. Miller said. “They lived in Florida six months of the year. So she was exposed.”
Ticks, “the tiny size of a poppy seed,” can be hard to detect (Ms. Miller brings dead deer ticks to schools, as part of educating the public about the menace, and there is a tick testing lab in Amherst). Ms. Cloutier did have symptoms. “My mom had heart palpitations, a rash on her shoulder, headaches every day.” She catalogued these in her journals. “Nineteen prescriptions later, not one doctor was peeling the skin off the onion,” Ms. Miller said. Finally, “a holistic doctor knew. It was a three-hour appointment. He tested her properly.”
Undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, Lyme disease can “get to the point where your brain is affected. We call it ʽLyme rage,’” Ms. Miller said.
As one might imagine, Lyme disease is “very prevalent in New England.” Part of the problem in identifying it is “ticks do not fly, they crawl, but they can pick up your scent. They are not just borne by deer, either, but can be transported by birds, lice, mosquitoes, fleas. When they attack they secrete a substance like Novocain. You can’t feel it. You can only feel it when they are crawling on you.”
The Millers cast their spa as innovative in the services it offers. These include detox foot baths, Biocharger NG (a hybrid subtle energy revitalization platform that has been proven to restore strength, stamina, coordination and mental clarity), HydroMassage (water based), sauna with A.R.T. (utilizing perspiration combined with Acoustic Resonance Therapy as a natural way to eliminate toxins), X’Tract Lymphatic Bodywork (a transforming detoxification modality that delivers wellness through the lymphatic system on a cellular level using essential oils) and Raindrop Technique (a combination of several holistic techniques to create a synergistic effect for your body using aromatherapy, vitaflex and featherstroking).
Suzanne Lynch of Essentially You (essential oil therapies) and Debra Jodoin of Oils of Eden (wellness techniques) are integral to the assistance provided to patrons of Detox Shop and Spa. They are on-site at Detox on Thursdays.
Customers who have benefited from the services available to them at the Millers’ facility include a nurse who was bitten by a tick and developed “vertigo-like symptoms.” After undergoing treatment at Detox, Ms. Miller said, the nurse told her “ʽMichele, if not for you I would be sent down the wrong path.’ This is coming from a nurse.”
Michelle Curran, a realtor, as is Ms. Miller, was the victim of a tick bite several years ago. She was initially misdiagnosed and more recently informed that she had chronic Lyme disease. “I reached out to Michele Miller before I got my diagnosis and she put me on the right track with the right doctor. I have done all sections of the experience at the Detox spa: foot baths, X’Tract, I am a frequent user of HydroMassage and the Biocharger,” Ms. Curran said. “I am doing much better now. It’s been a long haul. I love the help I’m getting from the Detox spa.”
Fostering wellness and combating Lyme disease are a personal crusade for Ms. Miller, who is co-founder of the nonprofit Central Mass. Lyme Foundation Inc. (“prevention, education, awareness and support”). She was to give a presentation—“Lyme Disease 101”—the weekend of November 10th at the 12th annual Natural Living Expo, New England’s largest holistic health event, at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough.
Ms. Miller derives enormous satisfaction in passing along to others what she has learned about Lyme disease.
“I saw my mom go through a lot,” she said. “I needed a counselor after that first Mother’s Day” without her.
Contact Rod Lee at email@example.com or 774-232-2999.