"Where body and spirit meet earth and sky"
Proprietors

Barber Hill Health and Wellness Center is a natural outgrowth of the partnership between Maria Benzoni Lombardo and Louis Lombardo (he prefers to be called Lou).

We met in 1994 and married in 1998. It would be several years before we would realize that all we were creating together was leading us to the development of Barber Hill Health and Wellness Center. The center opened its doors in 2004, initially offering only massage. We have gradually grown until, in addition to massage, we now offer counseling, art classes and health-related workshops. Online counseling is available upon request.

Lou

I have taken a circuitous route to the field of health and wellness. My early educational pursuits led to Bachelors and Masters degrees in Secondary Education and an advanced degree in School Administration. After serving in various positions in teaching and administration, I decided that upon retirement I was going to do something entirely different.

Two years prior to retirement Maria gave me a gift certificate for a massage. It was very relaxing. As I began to research the topic I found that massage therapy fit in well with my overall philosophy of health & fitness. In June 2002 I graduated from the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage. I retired from the field of education in 2003 and began my full time career as a massage therapist.

One area of special interest is orthopedic massage. Orthopedic massage uses techniques that activate the body's own natural healing properties. These services are intended for individuals with specific injuries that are known to respond well to different types of specialized massage.

As I pursue a career in massage therapy, I find that I still remain involved in education. In 2004 I was fortunate enough to be offered an opportunity to write a regular column on health & wellness in the Livingston County News. I have used this opportunity to share information in a non-traditional way with readers. You can review these articles by clicking on Lou's Articles. This column, in turn, has led to several speaking engagements on various topics related to health & wellness.

Maria

My wide varieties of interests are reflected in the array of services I offer at our center. I knew as a child that I wanted to be a psychologist and an artist. Those interests remain as strong now as they have ever been. Over the years, I have continued to develop my interests in people and the arts.

In 1985, upon graduating from college having majored in special education and studio art, I embarked on a career as a special education teacher with children ages birth to five who had special needs. Loving the work that I was doing with the children and their families, I completed the coursework for a Masters in Education in 1994. This allowed me to make permanent my certifications as a Special Education Teacher, Elementary Teacher and as an Art Teacher. As a special education teacher I have devoted myself to working with young children and their families. My goal is to facilitate each child in reaching his or her own potential. I have worked with siblings and parents through the process of coming to terms with their family member's disabilities.

Most of my work has been "hands on." I go into homes and work with families to develop the skills needed to best help their child. I have specialized in working with children with a large range of disabilities including autism, severe global delays, behavior disorders, problems with sensory integration, attachment disorder, communication delays, and a variety of other disabilities. I have never lost the joy of watching children discover how to participate more fully in their world. Nor have I ever ceased to be humbled by the peace and confidence that I witness as parents and family members learn that they do have the skills to guide, support and love their children in life.

True to my earlier inclinations, I never lost interest in being able to offer counseling and therapy. And so, in 1995, I completed course work for a Masters in Social Work (MSW). (I realized that in wanting to be a "psychologist" I wanted to be a psychotherapist. To do this an MSW was for me, the ideal route.) As a social worker I have been able to witness and support families as they have learned to be the support their child needed. I have been able to work with families through the grief and confusion that can come with the discovery that a child has special needs. In addition, I have been able to specialize in play therapy as a means of helping children deal with trauma. I have had extensive experience in addressing challenging behaviors with children. Other areas of specialty include autism, adoption, attachment, and post traumatic stress disorder.

My greatest teachers have been our two young daughters. The continually teach me about my work, about life and myself. The lessons are almost always relevant to my work as a social worker and educator.

Now, for the other half of the artist/psychologist equation: you may recall that I had a major in studio art in addition to special education as an undergraduate. As a certified art teacher I view creative outlets as essential to physical and emotional health. With health as the goal, our artistic workshops can be used to increase enjoyment and appreciation in the present moment and/or as a foundation for the development of further artistic skills.

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