Cascades Coaching & Bodywork eases anxiety and stress in Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 15, 2017

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY – Heath Bost, a U.S. Army veteran, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder when he returned home from the Iraq War.

Bost tried different doctors and medications, but it seemed like nothing could stop his daily panic attacks.

With a healthy dose of skepticism, Bost finally tried massage therapy and stress and anxiety coaching.

“That, by far, helped me heal a lot more than medicine,” he said.

To help others heal the same way he did, Bost decided to open his own massage and stress coaching business called Cascades Coaching & Bodywork. It opened at 121 W. Council St., Suite 201, on Oct. 1.

The business offers full body Swedish massage, clinical neuromuscular and structural bodywork, breath work, and custom stress and anxiety coaching.

Bost said his services can benefit those looking for an alternative way to deal with trauma and stress. He has nothing against traditional medical treatments and acknowledges they have their benefits, but he said they do not always work for everyone.

The coaching and massages helped him with his PTSD, but it also can help with general anxiety and daily stress. His business is not just for military veterans but is open to anyone who suffers PTSD from all kinds of trauma.

“Who doesn’t like a massage?” he asked.

Bost grew up in Faith and was a database developer for seven years. He said information technology was “always his field,” but he felt unfulfilled professionally.

After realizing that massage therapy was something he wanted to do, Bost went to school and earned his North Carolina license for massage. He also apprenticed under a breathing coach in Charlotte.

The breath-work part of the business may be the most unfamiliar to people. Bost said it is similar to the breathing techniques used in yoga.

In Breakthrough Breathing, the client lies on a heated table under a blanket while music plays overhead. Bost encourages the client to focus on taking deep breaths. The effort is placed on the inhale – the more audible, the better. The exhale is supposed to “fall like a feather,” Bost said.

Bost said the first part of the experience, during which the client focuses on deep breathing, is comparable to a light jog. He called it the ride up the mountain. Bost returns the client to his regular breathing pattern during the second part of the session, and that is usually when an emotional release occurs.

Some laugh, some sob and others just feel relaxed. Bost said it is a personal journey for each person.

The whole session usually lasts about 90 minutes to two hours. Programs can last from six weeks to three months.

Bost is largely hands-off during the session. He stays in the room and makes sure the client is comfortable while giving verbal encouragement. If he sees the client having an especially hard time, he may lay a hand on his shoulder or chest to reassure him that he is in a safe space.

Bost said for first-timers, the experience can be surprising.

When he first went through Breakthrough Breathing, Bost wanted to stop and leave because the heavy breathing reminded him of his panic attacks. But his coach helped him get through the session.

Now, he can use it and other breathing techniques to calm himself down, center himself and stop a panic attack from happening.

“I went from everyday panic attack to barely any at all,” he said.

Word of Bost’s services is already spreading throughout the area. A few months ago, Henderson High School invited him to lead a breath-work workshop, and the students seemed to enjoy it, he said. Henderson and Knox Middle School are interested in Bost developing videos for iPads that will guide students through breath-work on their own.

Bost said his ultimate goal would be to open a holistic health center. For now, he is happy bringing awareness to issues of anxiety, PTSD and trauma and giving people an alternative way to deal with those problems.

“This has changed my life, so I’m going to see if I can change anybody else’s life,” he said.

For more information or to book an appointment with Cascades Coaching & Bodywork, visit or call 704-701-8495.

Veterans and military, police, EMS and fire personnel can receive a discount on all massage therapies.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.