Updated: Mar 31, 2022
Nicole Dickenson-Smith moved to Groveland a decade ago to do social work in a wilderness setting and stayed because of the people. She went to school for Wilderness Therapy, but discovered her passion in being more hands-on in helping others. She founded BrightFire Wellness, working for herself, always learning, and bringing more to the table. The massage table, that is.
Nicole specializes in therapeutic work through massage. Her focus is on helping those with chronic pain, injuries, needing skilled relaxation, or all of the above. She recently added Ashiatsu to her tool belt, able to give heavy luxurious pressure through her hands and feet. (Ashiatsu is a massage technique that involves the application of the practitioner’s feet to a patient’s body. In Japanese, ashi means foot, and atsu means pressure; so it literally translates to foot pressure.)
BrightFire Wellness also offers yoga for private or semi-private sessions. “Feeling good in your body requires the knowledge to maintain it,” says Nicole. “As a massage therapist I take a beating on my body so I have to practice what I preach.” Yoga is a proven practice for people who are tight or stiff and Nicole loves seeing her regular bodywork clients reap additional rewards by sustaining the benefits through yoga.
Nicole received her 200hr yoga instructor training in the Sacred Valley of Peru. She teaches yoga at a level that anyone can walk in to. Her style focuses on mindful relaxation, deeply stretching the body, and building community, which she believes is an undervalued form of wellness. “Group yoga is an amazing way to bring people of all ages together to meet others in our town and it helps us all to be healthier together.”
You can find Nicole teaching group yoga at Around The Horn Brewing Company every other Wednesday evening, and she plans to add a Zumba class, bringing more “fun therapy” to BrightFire’s wellness repertoire.
“The small size of our community gives us all a chance to help shape it into the kind of town we want to live in,” claims Nicole. For her, it’s all about caring for our locals, who make up 90% of BrightFire’s clientele. It’s about living well, and because that translates differently for each of her clients, she strives to be well-rounded, offering informed, skilled therapeutic work or more esoteric energy-shifting relaxation sessions.
BrightFire now has two additional specialists who provide a wider array of services: Trinity Fields, a bodyworker “who gives outrageously relaxing massages” and Christi Kirk, a Craniosacral practitioner "who takes subtle work to a whole new level." Plans are to continue to expand BrightFire's portfolio of services.
Working with clients over time allows Nicole and her practitioners to build relationships, understand each client’s special needs, and better support their individual well-being. Though BrightFire is grateful for the extra business that comes from visitors to our Yosemite gateway town, their focus is on serving the members of our community.
BrightFire Wellness is located in the Leisure Center at 18687 Main Street, Unit B3. Don’t let the small storefront fool you. Inside, there are two treatment rooms and an infrared sauna, and the lobby is used for private and semi-private yoga sessions as well as housing a boutique stocked with yoga accessories, skin care products, hand crafted jewelry and art and more. Nicole believes that retail is her chance to vote with her dollars, so she carries products that are made in the US by female-owned companies that prioritize environmentally-friendly practices.
With Easter and Mother’s Day on the horizon, you can get the best gift of all – a massage gift certificate – online at www.brightfirewellness.com and you don’t even have to get out of your pjs. Everyone likes that. For more information and to book an appointment, call or text 563-508-8006.