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White Birch Massage Therapy Joins the Leech Lake Chamber

Emily Neely has always been driven to help people. Growing up in central Iowa, that drive was focused on helping others to understand the impact they could have on nature and the importance of conservation. This led to an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and a few years working as a Park Ranger. Following a desire to travel and live outside of the Midwest, Emily moved to the San Francisco Bay area with her future husband, Ryan. Failing to find a job within her science field, she ended up working for a real estate developer where she worked through the ranks to the position of Manager of Sales and Acquisitions.

Shortly after, Emily’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. At the same time she was helping Ryan through treatment, the real estate market was crashing. Within months of her husband defeating his cancer, Emily was laid off from her job at the same time she learned that her sister was beginning her own battle with cancer back in Iowa. This series of life-changing events led Emily to the decision of moving back to the Midwest to be closer to her family.

In the end, Emily and her husband moved to northern Minnesota to work at Crow Wing Crest Lodge in Akeley, which is owned and operated by Emily’s father and step-mother. It was at the bi-annual relaxation retreats held at Crow Wing Crest Lodge that Emily was able to experience first-hand the way in which massage therapy could benefit a variety of people in various ways. Becoming a massage therapist seemed like the perfect way for Emily to follow her values of helping people while also adding a benefit to guests at the resort.

After completing the Massage Therapy program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Emily opened her own massage practice from her home while also working as a massage therapist at the spa in Walker. Recently, Emily was given the opportunity to share office space with Bay Beauty Company right in downtown Walker, and it was the perfect opportunity to switch to working full-time through her own massage practice. Emily is greatly looking forward to working with more of the people from the local communities. After eight years of massage experience, Emily still loves being a massage therapist and helping people feel better.

Pictured are Peg Berg – Chamber Board, Emily Neely, and Cindy Wannarka – Chamber executive



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