Story and photo by Kerry Phelps Dale

For someone so obviously suited for her vocation, Sherri Tweed quite serendipitously ended up becoming a massage therapist. On the massage table in the care of a student at the Florida School of Massage, the apprentice suggested to Sherri, “Maybe you should go to massage school.”

“The light bulb went off,” said Sherri, and she enrolled in what she remembered as “a well-rounded school, less technical than some, with an emphasis on empathetic listening,” a skill she has honed to perfection after 23 years of practice.

“Sherri makes me feel really comfortable, asks me a few questions, talks if you want to, but not if you don’t. That’s important to me,” said a Middleburg client of 15 years. For this client, relaxation includes being able to laugh together, and Sherri’s laugh is light and infectious. “That’s part of the therapy for me.”

“My clients are great and I love that Middleburg is such a close-knit, small town,”

Her gifts of intuitiveness, listening to clients and making lasting connections are part of the package that makes Sherri beloved by her clients, but it’s also her genuine appreciation for their continued business, not taking them for granted and treating them as though each visit is their first.

The logistics and time it took to raise a family caused Sherri to move her business out of Middleburg for eight years to Chestnut Forks Athletic Club, closer to her Warrenton, Virginia, home and her children’s schools. Many of her devoted clients followed her or have returned now that she is back in Middleburg at 103B W. Federal St.

“My clients are great and I love that Middleburg is such a close-knit, small town,” said Sherri. “I still have many of the clients from when I started my practice here in 1994. It’s a word-of-mouth kind of town.”

Sherri Tweed

Sherri Tweed

One of those longtime clients, a 93-year-old Middleburg woman, continued to drive to her twice-weekly session until recently. Through the winter, Sherri traveled to her house so that the woman wouldn’t have to miss a session. “She’s an amazing woman — she’s writing a book about her experience as one of the first women on Antarctica.”

Life is full and eventful for this mother of five children aged 11 to 26, but down the road, when her youngest is securely in college, Sherri hopes to travel with her husband, Bill, and maybe live somewhere near the beach. She also would like to start a nonprofit health and wellness network, so people can find massage therapists and other health services easily. “I’d also like to be a part of some service organization and give massages to the disabled and elderly.” With each massage, Sherri imparts her calm and caring. It takes more than technical skills to be a great massage therapist and she has those in spades. The rewards come to Sherri in the form of the connections she makes. “It’s a special rapport you develop. I get gratification from knowing that I am doing something that’s helping someone with their physical and mental well-being.” ML