Valentine’s Day is now an afterthought, but February and hearts go hand in hand even after the last petals have fallen off all those rose bouquets.

It’s Heart Month — a celebration of encouraging a wholesome lifestyle through the promotion of heart health awareness.

Leading an active life that involves regular fitness is key to keeping the blood pumping, and our February MassageBooker of the Month focuses on maintaining the body in tip-top shape so that it’s always ready to perform!

Erika Andersen owns and operates Superior Massage Therapy in Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, and her passion for sports massage has athletes all over town reaching their personal bests.

We chatted with Erika (and her dog, Delta, too!) to find out what motivates this bright, ambitious LMT to get after it each and every day.

You too can get to know Erika. Her love for sports and how the body adapts to the challenges involved has built a thriving business that’s only just getting started!

A stroke of fate landed Erika into the world of massage. After earning a Bachelor of Sports Science from Northern Michigan University, she just knew that physical therapy school was the next step in her career.

But a turn of fortunate events during the application process led her to Ann Arbor Institute for Massage Therapy instead.

Gravitating towards sports massage and neuromuscular therapy was a no brainer, and only a few years after finishing her studies, she opened Superior Massage Therapy in August 2014.

She’s already brought on two employees, and if all goes to plan, she’ll be adding more in no time!

MassageBook: Hi Erika! Thanks so much for taking time out of your only “day off” to tell us more about you and your practice. What’s the mission of Superior Massage Therapy, and why is sports massage such a focus?

Erika: Sports massage is what we’re working on being known for. There aren’t many other therapists in the area who specialize in it, so I’m really trying to fill a need for the community. I work primarily with triathletes, marathon runners and competitive weight lifters. It goes hand in hand with my degree and training in biomechanics and kinesiology, so I have a much better understanding of how people move in sports. But I also don’t limit myself to high performance athletes. I think weekend warriors are athletes just as much and need massage in the same ways.

MB: What are most of your regulars hoping to achieve in sessions with you?

Erika: We do a lot of goal based treatment. Someone might come to me looking for routine maintenance to be able to regulate their level of high intensity training. It’s designed to help them recover from their hardest workouts of the week. Sometimes it’s to prepare them for that workout. Others are prepping for a race or competition, and some are using it to wind down from one. With any given athlete, I’m working on the muscle groups that are most likely to cause them problems to try and keep them as healthy as possible. We also do a lot of stretching to increase range of motion which helps prevent injuries.

MB: Are you an athlete as well?

Erika: I am! Mountain biking, rock climbing and snowboarding are high on my list. I also do triathlons, but I’d consider myself to be more in the realm of a weekend warrior. When I am in training, I do it about 5 or 6 days a week, but I’m not in anyway looking to land on the podium. My goal is to finish and do it faster than the last time. I also spend a lot of time outdoors with my dog, Delta. We actually just got done at the dog park. You’ve probably heard her barking in the background!

MB: Hi Delta! Thanks for joining! Erika, do you have a longterm vision for your business?

Erika: I’d very much like to open a training facility where high performance athletes can go to get all their needs met. Everything from running and swimming coaches to dietitians and beyond. A one stop shop for endurance athletes!

MB: How has MassageBook impacted the success of your business?

Erika: I’m a Millennial, so I don’t believe in paper—if I can help it! Having a program like MassageBook is incredibly important because I focus on therapeutic, science based work. The very specific, detailed SOAP notes that I’m able to keep are incredible. There’s nothing out there that’s as comprehensive as MassageBook!

MB: Offer us some advice and words of encouragement for your fellow bodyworkers.

Erika: Find a support system. As a business owner, I fully intend to make a very good living one day. I absolutely love my job, and there’s a lot of potential in what I do. But the reality is that it takes time. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my husband cheering me on. Having a network of people who believe in you is so important!

You’ve got our full support, Erika!

Hold your head high. You’re standing at the top of our podium today!