We had the good fortune of connecting with Kasey Kohtala and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kasey, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
We help people feel better. It’s kind of simple really. At Massage Heights, we do our part to improve our guest’s physical needs through massage therapy while also helping to improve their mental health at the same time! Regular massage therapy doesn’t just feel good, but it is also known to have some pretty powerful neurochemical effects in the body including increased dopamine and increased serotonin levels, both known to boost mood and increase your overall sense of wellbeing. And let’s be frank, couldn’t our community and our world use a major mental health “boost” right about now? I once heard a Massage Therapist say we heal people from, “the outside – in” and I think there is some major truth to that.
Ask any Massage Therapist and they will often talk about the energy or the “mental weight” that they can sometimes feel from their guests when they are in session. Sometimes a guest comes in because they are simply in need of some muscle work but a lot of times, they bring with them some heavy mental “stuff” – whether they share their story with us or not. When I lost my mother in 2009 to cancer, I struggled with grief like anyone else would so I started seeing a psychologist. Through our work together she educated me on the physical changes that grief can cause to the body. She advised me to take care of myself as if I would do if I had a cold with plenty of fluids, rest and maybe consider some massage. What? Massage? Honestly, it was not my first go to. In fact, I chose a very unhealthy coping strategy at first but eventually gave in and started getting regular massage. And do you know, I cried during my first two treatments! I was so embarrassed and apologized to my therapist but he didn’t even react. Ten years later I now know that MT’s actually experience this a lot with their clients. Not necessarily crying, but the unpacking of “emotional baggage.” Over the three years we have been open, we have heard some amazing stories from our guests about how massage has helped them with physical as well as emotional recovery and those are stories we never forget.
Truth is, we never truly know what someone is carrying on their shoulders when they walk through our doors at Massage Heights Decatur. Today is June 3rd and as I write this, my mind is so heavy with all the struggles our world is facing right now. So, if you are feeling the same, my hope is that we can help lift that mental weight for you, if even for just 90 minutes of your day. My hope is that we can heal our community and our world from the “outside-IN!”
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Massage Heights Decatur opened in 2017 and we are located on Blackmon Drive in the Decatur Crossing plaza. We offer an Introductory Rate One Hour Massage for newcomers for $69.99 and then offer monthly membership packages starting at $59.99. Most of our members come in at least once monthly but often use their membership perks to get discounts on a second or third massage that month as well. Since you can rollover your massage credits or use your membership at any Massage Heights in the US or Canada if you are traveling, our membership packages are super flexible as well.
Also, our number one goal is pretty simple, we want to help people feel better! If we can make membership affordable and flexible and still provide an upscale elevated experience that is a win/win for everyone.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooooh that’s a tough question. When friends come to visit me in Decatur, I often get accused of “over scheduling” which is hard not to do because I want to show them everything! Same goes for when I bring Atlantans to my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby. I get way over excited, but I’m learning to strategically plan so we can hit the highlights and top restaurants I think they will like!
For a weekend with my bestie in town first I’m probably reserving us a good yoga class at Decatur Yoga and Pilates or Dance 101 North Druid Hills so we can feel less guilty about the Sarah’s donuts we just had that morning. After Yoga, we would head downstairs to Massage Heights Decatur of course for a 90-minute CBD with hot stones massage! (Then probably a little nap because well, sleep is important.) At some point we would stroll the square for some shopping and do dinner at my fave spot Parkers on Ponce! I also like to take people to the Dekalb farmers market just to see the vastness of it all and maybe grab some yumminess to cook – which my husband would end up cooking because I’m a terrible cook most days. 🙂 I also really love the beltline and Piedmont Park for good people watching and Gunshow is one my favorite restaurants …or is it Serpas? Or Lobster Bar? Or I do love Kimball House too….Hmmmmm too hard to decide but I have a list on my phone under notes to remind me of all my faves. #foodieforlife If there is an Atlanta United game, I’m definitely trying to snag some tickets because I love the energy there! If my bestie brings her kids, I want to take them to Fernbank museum for the day and maybe catch an IMAX movie. If it is spring or winter, we are for sure hitting up Botanical Gardens at Piedmont to see the tulips or lights! If it’s raining out then we are hanging out inside Krog Street Market or Ponce City Market.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yes! Absolutely, a big shoutout to every person on the front lines of this global pandemic we are facing. We know you are physically and mentally drained as you put yourself and your families last so you can put patients first. We are so very thankful for you. A big shoutout to my late mother who, when faced with big scary pit in your stomach fears (you know the kind) reminded me, “They can’t eat you Kasey!” Her way of saying, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” A motto that keeps me pushing on every day to take some chances!
Thank you to Heidi Harris at Silly Goose Photography! She is the best!