Massage on the Move

Hands in the Sands debuts new mobile studio

Julieromero010JULIE ROMERO, owner of Hands in the Sands Massage Therapy, is taking mobile massage to a whole new level. Instead of simply going to a customer’s home, Romero takes her entire massage studio, housed in a 26-foot bus, to her clients – whether that be to their home, a business, or a special site for a celebratory event.

“I am redefining what mobile massage means,” says Romero. “I bring all my equipment – hot towels and stones, a cupping machine – to my clients. Every tool I use to provide a unique experience is with me at all times, so they don’t miss anything.”

Romero, who has been a licensed massage therapist since 2016, provides manual and hot stone massage, cupping therapy (a therapy that uses suction to increase blood flow to the affected area), lymphatic drainage, and aromatherapy.

This past spring, Romero decided to take advantage of today’s lifestyle changes and take her practice on the road.  By doing so, she hopes to make her services more convenient for her clients and expand her client roster.

“The world is changing,” says Romero. “People are working at home. More businesses are going mobile. More employers are providing employee wellness and appreciation programs. Girls’ nights out and bridal events are also new markets to tap. Being mobile opens up all types of possibilities for massage therapy.”

Once Romero had the idea, she lost no time making it a reality. After an extensive search, she found the perfect bus: a mid-body entry vehicle that is large enough for her table and equipment and is safe for her clients.

Then Romero worked closely with a contractor to outfit the bus. The result is a fully air-conditioned and insulated massage therapy studio on wheels that includes a private restroom and its own generator-provided electricity. Just as importantly, Romero’s mobile studio resembles her previous space, including her personal vibe.

“I wanted it to be familiar to my clients, for them to know that the bus is their studio,” says Romero, adding that so far, clients have been pleasantly surprised when they enter the bus. “People are excited about it. “Some folks say it’s like being on a boat. There’s some comfortable movement to it.”

Though Romero had to take a few practice runs to get the hang of driving the bus, she now handles it like a pro –although backing into tight parking spaces can be tricky – and takes it just about anywhere. Romero even found a workaround for homeowner association restrictions against large vehicles parking on the street: when available, she parks at the community pool or fitness center. In these cases, her clients often get their friends to sign up for a massage, too, and they split Romero’s $25 travel fee.

Romero and her bus also make appearances at other venues, like the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she treats the men’s basketball team, and Live Oak Bank Pavilion, where she gives massages to the talent.

Though Romero is bringing a brand new concept in mobile massage to the area, she is confident of its success.

“I am creating a win-win for clients and massage therapy practitioners,” says Romero. “I am redefining local massage.”

To view more of photographer Daria Amato’s work, go to

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Categories: Health