Mary Jo Coulehan
Chamber of Commerce Director

Bob & Valerie Goodman
Proprietors of Goodman's Department Store

Jeff Greer
Proprietor of Overlook Mineral Springs & Spa

Joanne Irons
Youth Advocate & Mother

John, Ivy & Ryder King
An Extreme Family

Clifford Lucero
Archuleta Conty Commissioner

Guy & Diane Ludwick
Proprietors of Fireside Inn Cabins

Madeline Lyon
Proprietor of Wild Spirit Gallery

Maria MacNamee
Proprietor of Happy Trails Ladies Boutique

Giuseppe Margiotta
Outdoor Enthusiast

Bill McKown
Airport Manager

Diane Munson
Massage Therapist

Morgan Murri
Founder of GECKO

Edgar Ortiz
Proprietor of Chavolo's Mexican Restaurant

Udgar & Puja Parsons
Proprietors of Growing Spaces

Troy Persson
PGA Pro & Golf Club General Manager

Davey & Rosanne Pitcher
Proprietors of Wolf Creek Ski Area

Angel & Marsha Preuit
Proprietors of Healing Waters Resort & Spa

Doug Purcell
Colorado Divison of Wildlife

Bob, Lisa & the Scott Family
A Love for Community

Tony Simmons
Proprietor of Pagosa Brewing Co.

Todd & Kellie Stevens
Proprietors of Farrago Market Café & Alley House Grille

Keely Whittington
Proprietor of The Springs Resort & Spa

Matt Yoksh
Proprietor of Pagosa Ski Rentals

Diane Munson
The Lowdown on the Rubdown

While some let their fingers do the walking, massage therapist Diane Munson uses her natural talent and lets her hands do the talking.

“I always just had a healing touch in my hands,” said Munson, who left her corporate job after being miserable and, at the urging of others, earned her certification in massage therapy in 1990. “I get out of my head and into my hands.”

Munson began her career in massage therapy in the fast-paced city of Albuquerque, N.M., but was drawn to the mountains, particularly to the area near Wolf Creek, where she and her husband purchased land in Pagosa Country and found themselves not wanting to leave. It began as a parcel of land to camp on and, over time, the couple built a house and faced a decision — Albuquerque or Pagosa Springs.

“It’s a no brainer,” Munson said. The couple sold their house in Albuquerque and, with their son, moved to Pagosa full time in 2004.

With her, Munson brought her healing hands and opened SWEET (Southwest Empowerment, Education and Therapy), a therapeutic massage business that not only helps residents and visitors relax, but helps improve their overall wellness.

Similar to the way chiropractors fought for respect for their craft, Munson said massage therapy has gone from being associated with the red-light district to being a “very qualified, respected health modality,” sought out by residents as well as vacationers.

While she often sees tourists who receive massages once a year, while on vacation, Munson believes that even residents should let themselves be those on vacation from time to time (at least once a month, she recommends), treating themselves to relaxation and a chance to slow down and get away from their to-do lists.

“Massage therapy isn’t just a vacation,” she says. “It’s also a good health maintenance program — that feels really good.”

For Munson, the primary purpose of therapeutic massage is to maintain wellness, she believes she can also serve a role similar to that of a car mechanic who knows a car, where the therapist learns about a client’s body and can sometimes notice changes in health before a patient can.

“It’s one of those beautiful things like chocolate, where it not only feels good, it’s good for you,” Munson said, adding that she charges minimally more for 90-minute massages versus an hour, because she doesn’t want to support the “hurry up and relax” lifestyle.

And if you show up to SWEET and see a sign on the door that says, “It’s snowing! We’re on the mountain,” don’t be surprised — Munson has to relax, too, after all, and she sees Wolf Creek as part of her wellness program.

But don’t fret: Munson often schedules appointments for after the ski day or the next day to treat those whose wellness also includes winter recreation.