MT. PLEASANT — What began as a way for Jeff Shelledy to help his son has now grown into a thriving business.
The massage therapist opened his first independent storefront, KS Massage Therapy, in Mt. Pleasant’s main square this September. But Shelledy may be a familiar face to many after having worked in town for three years.
Before getting his own space, Shelledy operated out of other local businesses including a salon and weight loss center. The massage therapist also has a practice in Burlington.
“No one really knew unless it was word-of-mouth,” Shelledy said.
Shelledy, who went back to school in 2017 to become a certified massage therapist, said he was inspired to leave his job as a district manager for O’Reilly Auto Parts after his older son Bailey, was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which affects the connective tissues in the body.
When his son’s doctors suggested massage therapy as a means to help manage the joint pain and inflammation that comes as a result of EDS, Shelledy said he was motivated to learn about what he could do to help.
“It was a way for me to help him while helping others too,” he said.
The massage therapist said he and his wife, Tina, who works as a nurse, were originally sceptical about the effectiveness of massage therapy but seeing how it benefited their son, who now plays on the golf team at Marian University in Wisconsin, they have since changed their tune.
“I had never gotten a massage until I went to school for this,” Shelledy said.
“I think people view massage as a luxury0, but it really is self-care and medical, maintenance,” Tina added.
While opening the storefront in the midst of a pandemic was a scary move, Shelledy said business has stayed steady.
“I was a little scared but [Tina] knew what we were capable of,” he said.
In addition to massage therapy, Shelledy’s practice offers yoga, a sauna space, an infrared mat and sound and vibration therapy.
Shelledy said that his therapies will hopefully provide some relief to those who may be struggling with their mental health through this time.
“Even with Bailey, people look at him and they don’t think anything is wrong because they can’t see it. Same with anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, stuff like that. If people don’t see that stuff, to most people, it’s not a condition,” Shelledy said.
As a nurse and through helping out with Shelledy’s practices, Tina said she’s noticed a “huge increase” in anxiety and depression in clients.
“So whether it’s coming in to sit in the sauna or on the acoustic mat or getting a massage, that can help some of the people who aren’t doing so well having to stay cooped up because of the virus,” she said.
As Shelledy continues to expand his business, he continues to look for new treatments and therapies that will be beneficial to his clients, including adding a Himalayan salt room.
“I’m always looking for the next thing to help clients … My motto is changing lives, one client at a time,” he said.