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Melissa Gunderson says her personality draws her to people along with an urge to be helpful.
“I like people and I love puzzles. Nothing is more rewarding to me than to do something for someone that makes their day better,” she said. “Massage therapy is the perfect fit for that.”
Gunderson is a licensed therapist in Los Alamos. Before she acquired office space in the Small Business Center in May, she owned FIT Massage, a local, mobile massage service offering relaxing and therapeutic massage.
“My goal is to ease acute or chronic pain and stress through a massage that is tailored to clients as individuals, featuring a combination of Swedish and medical massage techniques,” Gunderson said. She starts off with relaxing, light pressure, then to a deeper massage utilizing medical techniques, focusing on the body’s physiology and anatomy.
Initially, the field of healing was not Gunderson’s first career choice. Originally from Sturgis, S.D., her brother who works at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, inspired her to go to school to become an electrical engineer. “I decided it wasn’t for me to just sit in front of a computer without any human interaction,” Gunderson said. “I am too much of a people person.”
She found her passion through the support of her family. She and her husband have lived in Los Alamos for four years.
She received help in the Small Business Center from Kim Lazarus, a chiropractor and wellness specialist. “Kim has been a great help and keeps pushing me to ‘just do it.’” Gunderson started in Lazarus’ office by doing spot work, which is massaging the client to loosen muscles before the physical therapy begins. With Lazurus’ support and help from the Small Business Center’s resources, she started her practice. “It is amazing that I have found some great help,” Gunderson said.
Although her practice is still in its infancy, Gunderson’s future goals are to become a physical therapist and integrate all of the medical knowledge together into one studio, which she would also like to include a yoga and Pilates studio.
“It takes a lot of courage to start a business in this economy,” she said. “But it is my dream and my passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Her office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. She offers a new client discount of $10 off the first session.