Sweet Serenity Massage: Right where she belongs
The way Shelly Connors sees it, she was born to be a massage therapist. It just took a while before she got around to doing it professionally.
Connors has loved giving massages for as long as she can remember. Even when she was a little girl, long before she knew a Swedish massage from a deep-tissue treatment, she loved giving back rubs and neck rubs. She liked helping people feel better. Relieve stress.
"I see someone sitting there and I've gotta rub their back," said Connor, who in June opened Sweet Serenity Massage in downtown's Farmington Barber and Beauty.
Connor considered studying massage when she graduated from high school, but she went with another passion instead -- hair styling. She's glad she did. She loves the work she's done for the past 26 years, and she feels like she takes her massage work more seriously now because of it. But sometime last year she started to think she needed a change. A stylist for the past four years at Farmington Barber and Beauty, she and the shop's owner, Doug Klemenhagen, agreed to make space in the back for her to work.
So, Connor enrolled in Eagan's Everest Institute. For a year, she spent 20 hours a week, including two hours of hands-on learning, perfecting massage techniques. She earned straight As, and was the ambassador for her class.
Getting clearance from the city took some work. Massage therapy has come a long way in social acceptance, but there are still concerns about what some see as a seedy past. Connor had to get licensed and go through a background check. She makes it clear she is a massage therapist.
"You don't want to be called a masseuse anymore," she said.
Connor offers a mix of Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and reflexology. She plans to get special certification to work with fibromyalgia patients. Her mother suffers from the condition, and Connor said massage is one of the only things that can help ease the pain it causes.
Three months in, Connor is happy with her business. She works in the back of the salon, in a room painted dark blue and draped with gauzy curtains, creating what Connor describes as a Roman Empire look. She has enjoyed teaching people about the benefits of massage, and helping people feel better in their bodies.
"I just love being able to help people and being able to educate the public more on the benefits of massage," Connor said. "There's just so much benefit to it. I want to do that for people. I get so much joy from it."
Now she feels like she's doing what she was meant to do all along.
Check it out
Sweet Serenity Massage
324 Third St.