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PAXTON — Massage therapist and Massage Elements owner Emily Sandholt takes the meaning of “family business” to another level.
“My parents have owned a massage therapy studio for 25 years. My six sisters are licsensed massage therapists,” said Sandholdt, who has opened Massage Elements in the State Street Mall in Paxton. “In many ways, I feel like this is what I was born to do.”
Sandholdt’s appreciation for the benefits of massage therapy began early in her life. Her parents both worked in the medical field — her mother as a registered nurse, her father as a cardiologist technologist — and decided to open a massage therapy center after they saw the positive effect it had on their patients.
“They witnessed how it improved the overall health of so many people and so many of those they knew to have a focus on wellness and preventative care included various forms of massage therapy in the good health regimine,” Sandholdt said.
Sandholdt earned her license in massage therapy while still in high school and has worked as a a licensed massage therapist for the past 11 years. She owned her own massage studio — also called Massage Elements — in Spirit Lake, Iowa, until her husband, Paul, received a job offer that prompted a move to Loda in June.
Sandholdt wasn’t sure about opening a studio in a town the size of Paxton, concerned that there might not be enough customers to support it.
“When people have not been exposed to the benefits of massage therapy, they can often view it more inline with a spa treatment, a luxury than as a something necessary to their overall heath, “ said Sandholdt. “Since Paxton had not had a massage therapist in town for many years, I wondered if they would be open to it.”
When she saw an advertisement for a local business person seeking someone interested in opening a spa, Sandholdt could not believe the coincidence.
“It was really just crazy,” Sandholdt recalled with a laugh. “I couldn’t not call.”
She responded to the ad and met with the Royce Baier, owner of the State Street Mall.
“Royce had a space available in the mall that was perfect for my business,” said Sandholdt. “From the moment I met him, I knew it was a good fit. He has been incredibly supportive.”
State Street Mall neighbors have also been very encouraging and have sent a good deal of business her way, said Sandholdt.
“Everyone has been wonderful. People are really receptive and say they are very glad to have me here, “ said Sandholdt. “I appreciate how welcoming everyone has been.”
Massage Elements specializes in therapeutic, deep tissue, relaxation and pregnancy massage, as well as reflexology, aroma therapy and cupping. But Massage Elements also offers ear candling, raindrop technique and detoxifyng — a service that uses essential oils to extract impurities from the body. Sandholt is also a Reiki practiotner.
An expert in nutritional consulting and wellness guidance, Sandholdt looks forward to growing her business and the potential to offer more services to the community, including a yoga studio and wellness center
“My husband, my children (Irey, 11, and Ivan, 7) and I are all loving it in Paxton. I appreciate so much how the people have welcomed us all,” she said. “I want to give back. I’m invested in this community.”