Jean Loose, a certified massage therapist who has served the community for over a decade, is beginning to transition from full- to part-time to spend more time with family. Jean owns Cedaredge's "Journey into Health and Healing," a therapeutic massage center which has been operating at the same location since 2006.
One significant move in her transitional plan has been her decision to add the names of two therapists to her business sign. The business' distinctive building lies in the 600 block of South Grand Mesa Drive (Highway 65) in Cedaredge. The iconic sign has always included the business name, her name, and a graphic butterfly. Now she has added two additional names: those of licensed massage therapists Katherine Key and Megan Vertrees who have their own businesses. Both are helping Jean continue to serve clients as she steadily reduces her workload.
"They want more business and I am wanting less," she said, "The transition is going well. We make a great team and I love having the ladies here. We're very compatible and get along well."
Jean wants to spend more time with her family. And it's only fitting that Katherine and Megan are in a position to help with her transition because both women were encouraged by Jean to enter the massage therapy profession. After completing their training, Megan has been part of 'Journey' for two years and Katherine joined the business a year and a half ago.
"They've been a great help already," said Jean, "The revised sign just makes it official."
Jean has already notified her loyal clients and those who have been seeing her for years have reduced their sessions with her while keeping the frequency of their visits the same by seeing Katherine and Megan if they choose. Many clients have already become familiar with all three therapists.
Going forward Journey will remain open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m on Monday through Saturday with urgent hours arranged as needed. For her part, Jean is no longer working on Monday or Friday with Katherine and Megan taking clients on those days as well as working in rotation throughout the workweek. The two-room facility allows the trio of professionals to efficiently manage client schedules.
"I think I speak for all three of us," said Jean, "when I stress that everyone's primary goal is to be here to serve our clients; to help people with their needs for relief and rehabilitation. For all of us the client comes first."
Journey builds its business through referrals and many of their clients are referred by chiropractors, physical therapists and primary care providers.
"We are not only partners in serving clients who are referred to us but we are also often the first line of information in referring clients, in turn, to other health care services. Part of our strength lies in the amount of time we spend totally focused on the client. Our sessions generally last at least an hour -- much longer than a typical doctor visit -- and during that time we can learn about the client's needs and share information with them to enhance their health and well-being."
Katherine Key began seeing Jean in 2007 when her mother won an hour-long massage at a charity auction. Katherine's mother shared the prize and each received a half-hour with Jean. After additional visits, Jean learned of Katherine's interests and encouraged her to go to massage school. After training as a certified nurse assistant, Katherine took Jean's advice. She graduated from massage school in Pennsylvania and returned to practice in Colorado.
Megan Vertrees had a similar experience. Her mother was a client of Jean's and, after graduating from Vision Charter Academy in Cedaredge, she also took Jean's advice and enrolled in the massage therapy program at the Delta-Montrose Vocational College (now Technical College of the Rockies).
Katherine said, "I think this arrangement is really wonderful. I love to work here and I love the ladies I work with. It's great to have Jean close to share things and compare notes on clients' likes and dislikes."
Megan added, "This is a wonderful opportunity for me. Jean encourages me and shares her experience. Without her guidance and support I would never have gone into massage. Working with her has meant everything to me."
"Times have changed since I started out," said Jean. She was born and raised in Gunnison then she went to nursing school in Dayton, Ohio. "I graduated in 1970 having learned massage as part of my nursing curriculum. I loved those classes and loved the skills."
After she and her husband relocated to Grand Junction in 1982, Jean took advantage of a Colorado program to become a certified massage therapist. In 1985, she went to Denver to present evidence of her nursing training and her massage experience. She passed a hands-on test and a written examination to gain her certification. "That's why my credentials read 'CMT,' " she explained, "I'm a certified massage therapist." Later, in 2014, Colorado began licensing massage practitioners, so both Katherine and Megan have been granted credentials as "LMT's" or licensed massage therapists.
Whatever their credentials, their working relationship has been good for all concerned, including Journey's clients.