Patti Gilliano has seen the traditional side of healthcare through nearly three decades as a nurse. In all those years, she has also maintained a keen appreciation for the holistic approach to wellness.
Today, she puts both into practice as owner of LaVida Massage, where the focus is on wellness, as well as healing. The philosophy of preventive care and wellness is something she has incorporated in her own life, even while attending nursing school.
“I’ve always believed that a healthy lifestyle can prevent serious health complications, and a focus on wellness is better than relying on medicines and surgeries,” she said.
Gilliano began her work in this area by teaching aerobics and doing personal training.
“At some of the hospitals where I worked, I started wellness programs so the hospitals could take care of their employees. I started an aerobics program at North Penn Hospital in Landsdale, Penn,” she recalled. “At the time, I had gotten massages, using them more for healing. But massage is not just a treat. It can be very therapeutic, especially when you incorporate it into your regular routine.”
Gilliano, a Wellington resident, always has practiced preventive care as a part of her personal lifestyle.
“At one point, I had a herniated disc in my back. Because of all my years working in the operating room, I knew I didn’t want to have back surgery if I could avoid it. I found holistic methods of healing, including chiropractic care and massage,” she said.
Gilliano saw another benefit of natural methods of healing after her third son developed allergies as a toddler. While doctors prescribed medicine to stop his vomiting, getting him healthy was accomplished only through a diet of natural meats and vegetables.
Gilliano believes in starting a healthy lifestyle from childhood, including good nutrition, exercise and stress relief.
“I worked extensively with children at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Kids don’t get unhealthy as adults. It starts early on,” she said. “Taking care of yourself also works to prevent injuries, especially if you have a child who plays sports.”
While massage plays a part in injury prevention for the young athlete, Gilliano also has seen its benefits for special-needs children.
“For some kids with autism or Tourette’s, when you incorporate these practices, it helps them to feel calm,” she said. “Massage does have its place as part of an overall care plan.”
Upon moving to Florida, Gilliano worked at Palms West Hospital for three years, followed by five years at St. Mary’s Medical Center as administrative director of surgical services.
Opening LaVida Massage in 2013 fulfills her lifelong dream of helping people focus on wellness.
This year, Gilliano plans to begin offering regular seminars on other aspects of wellness. Topics will include nutritional counseling, pain management and stress relief. The first seminar will take place Thursday, Jan. 30 and will cover massage’s role in digestion and weight loss. For more information about the wellness seminars or LaVida Massage, call Gilliano at (561) 790-7755.
ABOVE: Patti Gilliano of LaVida Massage in Royal Palm Beach.