Pain relief is her business
Alexa McKenzie is the youngest business owner she knows.
"I'm 21," she said smiling warmly.
The Detroit Lakes native graduated from high school in 2008, and is now back in town working as an independent contractor in massage therapy.
Along with her brand new business, she's got brand new overhead, brand new tax questions and a brand new office (located in the Weum Chiropractic office).
"At first it was overwhelming," said McKenzie, "but then I just jumped into things and learned about what I needed to do to own my own business.
McKenzie says it helps to have a large family in town.
"I'm hoping to use them as my marketing team," she laughed.
McKenzie didn't always know she wanted to do this, though.
She started out going to nursing school.
"But I just found that it wasn't a good fit for me," said McKenzie, "I found myself being drawn to more natural therapies and more of the holistic routes."
Inspired by her mother, who she says taught her about living in a more natural way, McKenzie attended and graduated from Northwest Health Sciences University in Bloomington.
The hometown girl moved back to Detroit Lakes last month, and is already up and running with her own massage therapy business.
And although she does relaxation techniques, she also focuses a lot on clinical procedures.
"I feel like it's really a way to treat the whole being," said McKenzie, "the mind, the body and the soul."
McKenzie says her first sessions with people will include a pretty intense interview so that she can get to know her clients' health history in order to better focus on individual goals.
Her specialty is trigger point therapy.
"It's a type of massage where you pin-point where those knots and things are that often cause a lot of pain, and by applying pressure and doing other techniques you can alleviate that, and it has amazing results," said McKenzie.
She also does Myofascial Massage to treat injuries and discomfort, a Geriatric Massage designed to address typical problems in elderly clients and an Oncology Massage for cancer patients.
McKenzie says massage therapy is often misunderstood by people who still think of it a luxury -- a way to spoil yourself.
"A lot of people don't know about the physiological benefits that it can help alleviate -- symptoms of cancer, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines ... just a wide variety of ailments it can help."
McKenzie says she tends to squeeze in a few relaxation techniques even throughout the more clinical sessions, "so that it's not just the tough stuff," and this includes turning the lights down low and the radio on.
"The client is always in charge," said McKenzie, "If I'm applying too much pressure or not enough, I like to keep the communication open."
McKenzie says she truly loves what she is doing and the fact that she gets to now do it in the town she loves.
And having a skill like massage therapy doesn't hurt her popularity.
"I think I've made so many more friends now," she laughs, "When friends or family ask for a massage, I don't charge them, but I do barter for things!"
McKenzie says she is available Monday through Friday, and by appointment every other Saturday.
The cost of her 30, 60 or 90 minutes sessions are listed on her website at www.amtamembers.com/alexa. She generally charges $50 per hour.
You can contact her at 218-847-9235.