For Mary Bowden, it’s not just a spa. It’s a calling

By RICK CURL
Record senior staff writer
Posted 10/16/20

From the outside, Serenity Spa & Wellness Center looks inviting enough. Inside, you will meet a lady who has turned her experience with adversity into something special.

“I’ve seen …

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For Mary Bowden, it’s not just a spa. It’s a calling

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From the outside, Serenity Spa & Wellness Center looks inviting enough. Inside, you will meet a lady who has turned her experience with adversity into something special.

“I’ve seen so many people that just can’t function normally in life, and it’s sad,” said Mary Bowden, owner of the new spa. “So I do my best to try to help them out of that rut that they’re in.”

She uses her spa to do that, but the road she took to get to it has been long.

It began when her son, Thomas Jr., was born with what she describes as a lack of blood in his body. Thomas Jr. arrived one month early, through an emergency cesarean section.

He spent the first eight weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit where his struggles intensified. He had high blood pressure, issues with his liver and many other ailments. His drastic situation called for drastic measures to keep him alive.

“None of his organs were working,” Bowden said. “After all of that he also suffered a stroke in critical care. So, he needed a lot of physical therapy and occupational therapy.”

Watching her son go through the physical pain he suffered as a result of what doctors would later determine was a traumatic brain injury, led her to the next step in her life.

“Just with the physical therapy he was in so much pain,” she said. “I was like, well how can I help this. I can’t really work because he has to go back and forth to Chapel Hill three to four days a week for specialist’s appointments, so how can I help him with the pain.”

It was then, in 2007, Bowden decided she would attend the Medical Arts School in Raleigh. She became a licensed medical massage therapist. Her new skills helped her help her son.

“He’s great now, I’m so happy we had so many specialists to help him out early on,” she said. “It made the world of a difference.”

Not only did it help heal her son, it motivated her to pay it forward. Bowden opened her own spa in Angier.

“My goal and gift that has been given to me is the need to help others,” she said. “When my spa family and I can make a difference in people’s lives, we are confident that this is the field we are meant to be in. I am happy that I can bring these services to Angier to help our local community.”

In addition to the physical aspect, she also tries to work with patients on the mental side of dealing with pain.

“There’s a lot of mental connected with the physical pain in the body,” she said. “So when they understand those points, I can help them out better. Not only physically, but a lot of emotional issues as well as the spa with the wellness part.”

Thomas is now a seventh grader at Southern Wake Academy in Holly Springs and is doing well, according to his mother.

“Even now, we’re doing a little adjustments with schooling, but, physically, he’s great,” she said. “Just, mentally, he’s still delayed. So I have to actually spend a lot of time being patient with him and helping him understand mentally, but, physically, he’s perfect.”

Rick Curl can be reached at rcurl@mydailyrecord.com or 910-230-2037.

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