Next Man Up owner Marva Rodgers-Cooksey. Credit: Jamie Nesbitt Golden/Block Club Chicago

KENWOOD — Next Man Up Spa wants to give breast cancer survivors a little TLC in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The spa, 946 E. 43rd St., is opening its books every Wednesday this month to offer complimentary back massages for male and female clients.

Owner Dr. Marva Rodgers-Cooksey said she initially offered the service to her predominantly male customers in hopes of removing the stigma attached to the disease.

“When you say ‘breast cancer’ you think of women. You don’t think of a man. So to make them feel comfortable and to let them know that they’re seen, and that I am aware that this is a concern in the community,” said Rodgers-Cooksey, who opened her male-focused spa in 2021.

An estimated 2,800 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and of those diagnosed, Black men have the highest incidence rates of breast cancer, according to Black men also typically have a lower chance of recovery.

A number of factors play a role in breast cancer survival rates, including age, general health, the stage of cancer and treatment plan.

Rodgers-Cooksey believes that massages can also help those on the road to survival. What was once seen as a luxury has become an integral component of health and wellness that promotes relaxation and eases anxiety, she said.

“Massage increases your endorphin level. That’s your happiness. Your ‘happy pill’ as the saying goes,” she said. “It also relaxes you. It helps with anxiety. It helps with depression. It helps if you’re having sleep issues. It helps if you have problems with stiffness or movement of your body.”

Rodgers-Cooksey said the best way to “iron out” muscle stiffness is with steam and pressure, which is why clients will receive a hydrotherapy treatment along with the complimentary massage at Next Man Up Spa.

“A large, heavy, moist heating pad goes into steam water. It’s not electric. It goes into steam water. It is most relaxing and they love it. They go to sleep,” Rodgers-Cooksey said.

People can call the spa directly at 773-966-5268 to schedule an appointment.

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