Movements of Qi, a wellness center that focuses on holistic medicine, further diversifies the growing Parsons Avenue commercial corridor.

Sarah Roell owns the space along with her own practice, Dynamic Flow Acupuncture, 535 E. Whittier St.

"I've always wanted to open a wellness center," Roell said. "It offers a way to live a healthy lifestyle and feel your best."

She has relocated her practice, Acupuncture & Wellness of Merion Village, from High Street to the Eisen development, a retail development on Parsons Avenue. Movements of Qi is in the Eisen building, but has a Whittier Street address.

Also part of Movements of Qi is Columbus Medical Massage, owned by Michael Martin, a licensed massage therapist; an India ayurvedic clinic, or whole-body medicine, owned by Lindsey Ugland; and a yoga studio, with classes taught by several people.

Roell said she wants to dispel myths associated with acupuncture, which uses flexible needles that are inserted into the skin.

Roell said the treatments can relieve stress, reduce inflammation and treat a whole host of ailments. There are studies and a school of thought, however, that question whether the technique works.

Roell, who's been practicing acupuncture for five years, said she understands the skepticism.

"You'll accept that it works when you see changes," she said, adding it takes about three to five visits to see major improvements. "I accept that it makes big changes. I know that it makes big changes. I've seen it done."

Martin said massage therapy also is effective in treating a number of issues, but mostly injuries. It is an alternative to pharmaceutical intervention.

"A lot of people think of it as a way to relax or pamper themselves," said Martin, who's been a massage therapist for 13 years.

Brian Higgins, a principal at Arch City Development, a private consulting firm that has helped lead redevelopment efforts along Parsons, said the retail movement on the corridor is gaining momentum.

For example, the redevelopment of the former Barrett Middle School, now the 103-unit Barrett Apartments in nearby Merion Village, shows people are being drawn back to the area, Higgins said.

"There is an adage in development that retail follows rooftops," he said.

"As we see more investment in the housing stock on both sides of Parsons Avenue, it creates a stronger neighborhood retail climate."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary