New Healing Balm Developed by Two Area Businesswomen

HADLEY—A local massage therapist and an herbalist have collaborated to develop an easy-to-use balm that helps ease sore muscles and other ailments.

Lydia Irons, owner of The Flexible Farmer in Hadley, and Brittany Wood Nickerson, owner of Thyme Herbal in Amherst, created the Flexible Farmer Arnica Balm, an analgesic aid. The product is made of arnica oil and bees wax and is packaged in a 5 oz. container (similar to that of an oversized lip balm) that can be applied directly to the body. Arnica is an herb that can be used to ease sore muscles, bruises, sprains and strains.

“I researched arnica gels but didn’t find the herb in an easy-to-apply format. I figured the best way to offer such a product for my clients was to find someone in the Pioneer Valley to help make it,” Irons said.

Lydia Irons and Brittany Wood Nickerson

Lydia Irons and Brittany Wood Nickerson

Irons said she was familiar with Nickerson’s work with herbs and approached her about developing a convenient product that her clients or others could use on their own. Irons often uses arnica oil on her clients during treatment sessions at her office and would encourage them to use the oil at home. But she heard from some clients that the oil was inconvenient, and they worried about the liquid staining materials, such as clothing.

Nickerson said arnica has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is good for soothing tense, tight and inflamed muscles.

“Developing this product was wonderful on so many levels,” Nickerson said. “I like the potential for bridging the gap between all these separate healing systems and bringing them together under the same umbrella of general wellness.”

The balm is available for $8 at Irons’ office at the Hadley Park Plaza, 245 Russell St., Unit 12C, Hadley, and at her office at CLINIC Alternative Medicines, 98 Main St., Northampton. It is also available for $9 from her website at

The Flexible Farmer offers massage for laborers in western Massachusetts and professional body work with a foundation in therapeutic and sports massage. Thyme Herbal operates a clinical herbal practice at The Atkinson Family Practice in Amherst. Nickerson also teaches herbal classes at the University of Massachusetts and at Thyme Herbal’s primary location in North Amherst.

For more information, contact Irons at (603) 883-1809 or; or contact Nickerson at (413) 549-1415 or through