4 massage therapists open new business

October 10, 2018

Four massage therapists found themselves in a rough situation Sept. 5, when they arrived at work and learned that Elements Wellness Center had closed its doors.

So, the four massage therapists bought a quarter each of a new business, signed a new lease on Sept. 10 and opened new doors Sept. 24.

Andrea Foster, Melanie Cornelius, Kandace Phillips and Rachelle Richter now own Repose Massage Therapy at 419 East B St. The women say they’re focusing on the positivity of improving lives and building a network, both among local massage therapists and among clients.

When it comes to massage therapy, many people think “all we do is pamper,” Foster said. But the women also focus on massage therapy for medical reasons — including pain management, fertility massages and loosening joints.

For example, a client who has had shoulder surgery works to increase range of motion while he or she endures keeping the arm in a sling.

“We actually work in unison with physical therapy, and chiropractics too,” Foster said.

Some clients have been able to have such massages covered by medical insurance or health savings accounts.

Foster said that the last year has been an ordeal for Phillips in particular: She became licensed in massage therapy, found a job, bought a house, got married, lost her job and bought a business, “all in the same year.”

“It’s been a really good learning process,” Phillips said.

While the last month has brought on the stress of starting anew, contacting clients and keeping relationships, Cornelius said she looks forward to going to work and helping people each day.

“We have a relaxing profession, that’s for sure,” Foster said.

The women said they first thought their clients would be upset at them for the sudden closure.

“But it’s been nice, because they’ve been outraged on our behalf,” Foster said.

The women are excited to own and regulate their own business, and continue what’s always made them love coming to work: running down the hall cheering when a client becomes pregnant after maternity massage, or the joy when a client can stop taking medication after using massage for pain management.

“We find that if we give to our clients,” Cornelius said, “they give back to us tenfold.”

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