New Spa Specializes in Ancient Healing Arts

Photo | Submitted Fan Jacobs, Amanda Chang, Jing Liu and Lucy Liang offer massage therapy, acupuncture treatment and other traditional Chinese medicine services at the new Acu Massage & Spa in the Urbana Village Center.

Photo | Submitted
Fan Jacobs, Amanda Chang, Jing Liu and Lucy Liang offer massage therapy, acupuncture treatment and other traditional Chinese medicine services at the new Acu Massage & Spa in the Urbana Village Center.

A new spa in Urbana offers something unique. Co-owned by three Chinese women—two masseuses and an acupuncturist—Acu Massage & Spa specializes in traditional Chinese medicine and focuses on massage and acupuncture.

Acu Massage & Spa opened in the Urbana Village Center, next door to Pho-Yo-Bubble on June 12. They offer both spa and clinical services. Fan Jacobs, co-owner of the clinical spa, explained that for clinical services such as acupuncture, they  accept health insurance. Currently they participate with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna, and they are working to accept other insurance carriers in the future.

Jacobs is hoping that more clients will come in and try acupuncture. “I really think it can help people, if they give it a chance.” Jacobs appreciates receiving acupuncture treatment for her own body. “I love when she turns the needle. Every time she turns it, I feel the muscle open up. She puts the needle on just the right spot,” she said.

Co-owner Jing Liu is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. She graduated from the Henan Medical University in China and Virginia University of Integrative Medicine.

Jacobs is very particular about the masseuses that she hires, and their level of expertise. “I only hire the ones who massage better than I do,” she said.

The spa offers various massage techniques, including familiar techniques such as deep tissue and hot stone. They also offer less-common techniques such as walk-on-the-back massage, which involves the masseuse holding onto parallel bars that are suspended above the massage table and walking slowly and deliberately up and down the client’s back and legs, massaging
and stretching the muscles. “This can be even deeper than deep tissue,” said Jacobs.

“You have pain because a channel is blocked,” Jacobs explained. “When you relieve tension, the blood and energy begin flowing. Often, when a masseuse works on a spot that hurts, (but later returns to the spot), it no longer hurts (to massage it).”

Jacobs stressed the importance of communicating with your therapist. “Some people don’t say anything (when the massage pressure is too deep for them). We want people to tell us. Everyone is an individual.”

The masseuses customize their clients’ treatment as they feel what the body needs, perhaps adding stretching or heat. The lobby of Acu Massage & Spa is minimalist and dimly lit, with low music playing in the background. Jacobs consulted remotely with a feng shui master located in China, when deciding how to set up the entrance. There are no shelves of products surrounding the room.

“We don’t want people to feel like we’re trying to sell things. We’re here for massages,” she explained. After a CBD oil  massage, clients sometimes ask if they can buy CBD oil from the spa. Although Jacobs and her partners are considering selling the oil someday, they are focusing on their services for now. “We want people to know us for our massages,” she stressed.

Co-owner Lucy Liang learned massage therapy in China 15 years ago. “She hopes that people will come in and learn more about Chinese traditional medicine,” translated Jacobs. “This week, (Liang) used Gua Sha (which sometimes is called spooning) to treat her own sinus problems.” Jacobs demonstrated how the massage scraper worked against her skin. “Gua Sha can be used for sinuses, detox (and inflammation),” explained Jacobs. “Chinese medicine is ancient, and it works for many things.”

Massage is for everyone, Jacobs added. “We offer massages to even kids. Kids are always hunching over on their devices. Their rhomboids are tight. We massage, and we educate them on posture.” The youngest client the spa has treated is eight
years old. “Children who play sports, such as dancing or tennis, come in with tight muscles. We have rooms with two tables so
that the child and parent can be in the same room together,” she said.

Jacobs became interested in massage when she was a stay-at-home mom. “I had three kids and a home daycare. I went for massages as a treat to myself. It was peaceful.”

She decided to become a therapist herself. “People should look at (massage) as regular maintenance,” she said. Acu Massage & Spa offers both package deals and membership programs to encourage clients to schedule regular massages. Learn more at


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