Erin Heinrichs didn't intend to open her own massage business, but as she went through training at Northwestern Health Sciences University she decided opening her own place was the best way to ensure she provided the services as she wanted.
Heinrichs clinical massage work goes a step beyond relaxation massage to address the root of symptoms of pain and focus on functionality of the body.
"I needed to be able to focus on people's symptoms, and not be a spa service," Heinrichs said.
Her business Advanced Therapeutic Massage has opened in a building she knows well. The 112 E. Walnut St. location, once home to the River Falls Journal, was owned by her grandfather, and her mom and dad, and many aunts and uncles, worked there years before.
"So many links to this building," Heinrichs said, calling her move into it a "full circle."
She's looking forward to spending as much time there as her family did, though in a very different way.
Therapeutic massage, also known as rehabilitative massage, is a treatment the lies between spa massages and physical therapy to address tension or pain.
The treatment is an option for people experiencing a variety of symptoms including symptomatic pain, limited range of motion, limited mobility or after effects of a car accident, Heinrichs said.
"When somebody has one thing going wrong with them, even if it's just tension in the neck, in the shoulders, what I tend to do is find ways to prevent their body from continually, gradually getting worse due to compensating adaptation," Heinrichs said.
Her focus is on the soft tissue to address the cause of pain.
"I will often spend 90 minutes on a shoulder, a neck, one body part so that they can come out feeling like there's been an actual change," Heinrichs said.
Even for clients who don't have regular pain or symptoms, therapeutic massage can be a benefit, Heinrichs said.
"I haven't had a client come in where they said, 'Eh, I didn't really need that,'" she said.
Heinrichs said massage treatment is her passion, and she is eager to give people relief from their symptoms.
"Being a part of their awe, their wow, their journey," Heinrichs said. "It's a health and wellness journey and I'm just a tool to help their body heal."
Different types of interventions work for different people, Heinrichs said, and unless they try them, they'll never know what works best.
Massage therapy is an underutilized outlet in healthcare, Heinrichs said, and she wants the community to know that it is a tool, one that they now have at their disposal.
"My hope for the community is to open their eyes to an opportunity of body awareness, of putting yourself, taking care of your own needs so you can take care of the needs of your family, job," she said.