Nurture Healing Center offers calm within the chaos of the world — and the immediate neighborhood

Photo by Chona Kasinger

It’s a Thursday evening, the sunset turning the jack-hammered sidewalk of St. Helens Avenue between 7th and 8th streets the color of a penny. Four boys smoke and strut in front of Club Silverstone, while two doors up at Guitar Maniac, someone is working out a heavy bass line.

Nurture Healing Center sits like a whisper between the two noise emporiums. “How perfect, right?” says owner Nichole Connelly, a former gymnast and licensed massage practitioner. All light wood and Japanese reeds, yoga mats and herb teas, Connelly’s month-old massage studio and gathering space is a calming anomaly, the newest business on a strip known for seeing its businesses go out of business.

“I did look to open at the Rocky and Coco’s,” says Connelly, referring to the defunct clothing store down the block. “But the layout here was exactly what I wanted. And do you know what it used to be? The [Pierce County] Republican Headquarters! And I thought, interesting.”

Interesting because Connelly wants to heal the wounds of the past eight years with a workshop called “Cure Your Economic Crisis.” One economic cure: you can sip tea for free at the Center. Or take Tuesday and Thursday Serenity Yoga classes, or attend the winter craft fair Tacoma Is For Lovers, in the large, light-filled back studio (November 22, 12:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m.).

“I really think it’s important to offer people third spaces,” says Connelly, referring to a place that is away from the stresses of home and work. “People are struggling and it’s important to offer a human connection. I want this to be a place you can just sit in your body, regenerate and restore.” Massage is at the core of the Center’s mission. “My specialty is neck and lower back, probably because my own neck is pretty jacked up.” The reason? She had eleven car accidents before she was out of high school.

“I was only driving twice!” she insists, adding that she doesn’t really drive anymore since she and her husband live three blocks away on St. Helens Avenue. Connelly wants to be both beneficiary and provider of the renaissance of the neighborhood she loves.

The owners of the Silverstone have offered her any help she needs. “We’re kind of the yin and yang of Tacoma,” she says. “On top of the craziness and fun and chaos [of Silverstone], you have an opportunity to just be.”


Nurture Healing Center

739 St. Helens Ave., 253.314.4656
Mon. – Fri.: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sat.: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.