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Turning Point Integrative Therapies

Helping hurt people reach their Turning Point

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Kate Shanaman Bender starts her day by going downstairs for coffee with her neighbor.

“What’s the good news?” she asks Chiara Wood.

She calls Wood by many names: Chiara, Kiki, my mother.

“We have a unique situation,” Bender admits.

Together they’ll begin their commute down one flight of stairs into the offices of the Turning Point Integrative Therapies on Sixth Avenue, which they operate together.

The business was given its name through the “I Ching.” Wood flipped through the book for guidance, and the symbol for Turning Point and the following verse popped out at her:

“After a time of Decay comes

The Turning Point.

The powerful Light that has been banished


There is movement,

But it is not brought about by force … ”

The sentiments fit, and the name stuck; Bender joined as a massage therapist 14 years ago, and mother and daughter have worked together since.

While both are massage therapists, Wood operates the esoteric end of things, and Bender considers and operates business matters.

An example of this was the purchase of the building they live and work in. Wood heard about the prospective sale of the building, looked at it and said, “We need to buy this!”

To this Bender replied, “Don’t we need to check the plumbing?”

But Wood had a good feeling about the building. Everything seemed to fit from a numerology perspective as well as a common sense perspective. 

Turns out, Wood’s instincts were on, as the business, in its 10th year at the Sixth Avenue location is a bustling center for healing.

There are six practitioners in the space with plans in the works for a seventh.

Massage therapy and energy work are strongly represented with Jenna Manzanares and Andrea McClelland, who taught massage at Ashmead College and also offers salt scrubs and mud wraps, joining Bender and Wood as massage therapists on staff.  Sandra Strong, “Life Coach” who also offers counseling for couples and families, also has her practice there as does Hui Chong Chang, aka Johnathan, a licensed acupuncturist.

“Johnathan came with the building,” says Bender, who describes the pony-tailed former military medical doctor as peaceful and precious.

Esthetician Kindra Nelson will be on board soon to offer oxygen facials and glycolic peels. Future plans may see another esthetician on board as well as Bender shares plans to return to school to gain training in medical esthetics; she muses that while she’s doing that she may just go on to get a Licensed Practical Nurse degree.

Wood, after nearly 20 years in her current career, shares plans to wind down her practice in order to focus on healing the community on a larger scale, sharing a desire to go into the schools to teach how touch can be used in a positive way.

Bender and Wood are also involved in the Sixth Avenue Business District and gearing up for Art on the Ave.

Wood, describing herself as a “celebrationist,” talks mysteriously about the project she’s captaining for Art on the Ave. “It’s going to be a huge performing arts thing,” she says.  Probably it won’t involve mimes or clowns, but there could be an integration of some sort of marriage. 

Officiating weddings is Wood’s other gig after all.

“Chiara performs weddings with completely authentic and creative ceremonies,” explains Bender.

But Wood tries not to promote this service too widely; she seems to be an individual who likes to live without being completely consumed by any single thing. 

The shirt that Wood wears with cords and a long sweater says, “Expect Miracles.”  She smiles as she says, “Accept them.”  And then she explains more the work that she does within her office at Turning Point: “We’re in the healing arts business.”  Part of her art is pastoral counseling and communication with her clients, and while this seems like a given within the realm of massage therapy, since Wood utilizes energy work like Reiki in her healing, the art of communication is even more refined.

Often, it’s for the massage therapist to try to guess at the real issue, enabling the client control of the healing process.

“You’re just facilitating the healing arts process,” explains Wood.

[Turning Point Integrative Therapies, 2211 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.7876,]

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