Bergamot Massage Therapy & Bodywork: Self-care Supported by Nature

Photo by Beyond Infinity Photography

Finding a tranquil atmosphere in a massage therapy practice is a given; however, Bergamot Massage Therapy & Bodywork have made it their focus to not only serve their clients’ needs, but also serve as a role model for how to integrate business with environmental consciousness. Their mission is to provide opportunities for stress and pain relief and a sense of well-being while acting as a steward of the environment.

“The more people benefit from nature, they develop a love of nature, and they will want to protect it. And it’s good therapy for people of all ages,” says Deanna Wise, co-owner with Seth Knutson of Bergamot Massage. For example, Hike & Heal Wellness is a program Bergamot Massage promotes, and their goal is to have fun and relax through nature-based programming and wellness practices.

Bergamot Massage has been in business for nine years, and Deanna and Seth have honed a practice that centers on natural, safe methods to help people while providing ecofriendly, healthy products. Deanna says, “We try to minimize our carbon footprint, figure out ways to go paperless, and are always looking to be efficient with our energy use. Also, the products we carry are not harmful to the environment.”

Deanna and Seth are both massage therapists and graduated together at East-West Healing Arts Institute in December 2009. Deanna says, “I didn’t go to massage school thinking I was going to open a business. It evolved after learning the massage trade, doing some investigation into what other massage establishments were doing, and we wanted to do something different.”

Photograph by Beyond Infinity Photography

One idea Deanna and Seth implemented is memberships. “We’re not interested in being a massage factory, but have gained some insight on offering memberships like at some franchises. Memberships can be more accessible for people to get massages.”

After operating across the street since May 2010, they moved into their current space in November 2018. In the beginning, it was just Deanna and Seth—no other therapists. They were running the desk, business, and treating clients. They outgrew the old space and wanted to give a fuller client experience by adding showers, locker rooms, and a lounge room removed from the distractions of retail and reception areas.

“We didn’t want any dead ends,” says Deanna. “Everything is circular. A lot of energies come through this space, and the light carries through as much as possible. We wanted to create spaces that people would want to linger in.”

As you enter, you’re greeted by an attentive staff as well as the soothing, beautiful décor. Grey tones and earth elements grace the hallways and seating areas, and each of the massage rooms can be tailored to your specific mood by way of colored lights illuminating from one of the large walls. In the couples massage therapy room, a rock wall carries the natural world inside. The benefits and importance of nature on one’s health is consistently advocated.

Photograph by Beyond Infinity Photography

Clients are encouraged to enter into the spa by removing their outside shoes and either bringing their own inside shoes or using ones supplied. This is a nice touch to allow people to physically disconnect from the outside and start to connect to their relaxation, renewal experience.

They offer either quick or long luxurious pampering services. “We’re kind of straddling a line between spa and not spa because a lot of our clients want to get in and out, but some that come here want to put a robe and slippers on and enjoy a longer experience,” says Deanna. “Clients come here needing to destress, relax, and have an hour for themselves. Then there are people who are making regular appointments because they have rotator cuff or low-back issues—it could be anything. Massage is a good adjunct to other therapies they have going on.”

Bergamot Massage values their clients’ experiences, and Deanna notes, “Our clientele is very motivated, and we have a pretty solid fan base. I think it says a lot about how our clients feel about their therapists and experiences.” From being greeted at reception and waiting in one of the lounge areas with beverages and sweets, it all adds up to feeling assured you will be taken care of throughout the process.

Deanna recommends a sauna session to complement a massage treatment. It’s good before for relaxing or afterward for soothing. “[Clients have an] easier time letting go on the massage table after a sauna, and there are numerous benefits to the immune system, as well as other health benefits, which are more than we probably know.” The sauna is a private space filled with soft lighting and wood. It can be experienced either dry or with steam heat depending on your preference and includes access to a private cold shower to use throughout the session.

Photograph by Beyond Infinity Photography

There are a variety of products for self-care at home. Topical products, pain-relief products containing CBD, aromatherapies, and accessories to help get your desired result. One of Deanna’s recommended products is Naturopathica out of New York, which features skin and body care. “They provide professional-sized products that we use for our massage services, they are really clean, and they use essential oils.” Clients come for the massages, but can take care of themselves afterward. “That’s the idea—giving people tools they can use outside. We don’t want people shackled to their massage as much as possible, if they can help themselves, and not only coming in during a crisis situation.”

Another product is Wei of Chocolate, an organic dark chocolate containing flower elixirs and flower remedies that support meditation and more health benefits. According to Deanna, you don’t just bite into these chocolates—you let them melt in your mouth to be savored through a meditative, flavorful way.

How does Deanna relax? “I focus on self-care. … I try to do yoga, mediate, read, take time for myself, try to get outside. I do what I can to focus on my diet, and sleep is hugely important.” Coming up with a ritual at home for relaxation is important and should be a more frequent addition to everyone’s life.

“There’s a certain pride in being busy and saying how busy you are, but I don’t know if that really serves us too well,” says Deanna. “To me, it’s evidence of misplaced priorities. … Ask yourself what you can cut out, and you probably have more time than you think. And not every moment has to be filled with something. That’s the problem, a lot of people have difficulty sitting alone with their thoughts.”

Take time for yourself with self-care. The benefits are evident and long lasting. Be kind to yourself, and you will spread that kindness to others.

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Krystle Engh Naab is a freelance writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials.