Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Fraelick.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Heather. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I didn’t start my career thinking that I was going into the world of the healing arts. I actually started out as a dancer, dance instructor, and choreographer. In 2000 I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in dance. Thereafter, I spent six years performing, then teaching and choreographing a dance for 17 years throughout Chicago and the Northwest suburbs. I performed with companies such as Thodos Dance Chicago, Estradanza, and I had the privilege of working with independent artists, David Dorfman, Colleen Halloran, Jon Leher, Altin Naska and Amy Wilkinson. I also spent time teaching and choreographing for several District 214 high schools, New Trier High School, and at the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters conventions.
What brought me to a career in the healing arts is throughout my career in dance, I experienced several dance-related injuries that left me unable to perform. I became disheartened and depressed from the unexpected twists and turns in my career that I begrudgingly decided that I needed a plan B. My sad outlook turned around when I reconnected with a passion I felt in college for the subjects of anatomy and kinesiology and as a result, I decided to learn about healing by expanding my knowledge in these two subjects and attended the New School for Massage; Bodywork and Healing in Chicago, IL in 2004. My experience in massage therapy school changed my life, and as a result, I chose to dedicate my career to the service of helping others heal.
Upon my graduation from massage therapy school, I worked in chiropractic offices, wellness centers and high-end spas such as Allyu Spa, The Four Seasons Hotel Spa, and Urban Oasis. While the experiences working at such fine establishments were positive, something was missing for me. It wasn’t until 2011, where I had an opportunity to step out on my own and create a pain management practice that focuses on myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, massage therapy, reflexology, and Reiki, did I realize how important it was for me to own and operate a practice that focuses on the client as an individual with a unique set of pain management needs and conduct sessions accordingly from there. This experience as an entrepreneur also gave me the opportunity to combine my passion for creativity and teaching, and in turn, create several self-care workshops offered through my practice.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Logically and on paper, it was a smooth transition going from one body-centered career to another, however, there were bumps in the road. The main bumps were dealing with the challenge of the emotional highs and lows that arose during the transition.
In my experience, working towards the professional level in dance I “married” the art, if you will, and found that not only did I connect with dance as a career, but dance also provided a sense of connection to my spirit and community. When I achieved my goal as a dancer, I was elated as I lived a dream realized. When I decided to retire, especially from the performing aspect of my career (as that took up the majority of my time and energy) I felt lost and depressed.
To my knowledge, at the time, there weren’t many resources that guided dancers towards a new career, and I knew that I didn’t want to teach dance my whole life. At the same time, I did know that I needed to connect with a career where I felt a sense of passion, as it’s in my personality to deep dive into everything I set out to do. This all said, I had to rely on my gut instincts and intuition, as I searched for other subject matters that captured my heart.
Once I connected with the desire to study massage therapy and the healing arts, did I start to see a light at the end of a dark tunnel? The more I learned about healing, the more I was able to utilize these tools in my own healing to help me crawl out of the darkness and return to the light by connecting with something I loved, and at the same time learning how to connect with my spirit and community in a different way, yet none the less fulfilling.
Heather Fraelick, LMT / Bodywork & Massage – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My practice is one that offers not only one on one sessions but also group workshops. In my one on one sessions, I specialize in Myofascial Release, craniosacral therapy, therapeutic massage, reflexology, and Reiki. These modalities can be intertwined within a session or utilized individually. It all depends on where the client is at on the day they come in for their session. No two sessions are the same and they are highly based on intuition and what the client’s body is telling me in the moment. My group workshops focus on self-care. Whether it’s myofascial release techniques that focus on self-care or creating community in women’s circles (am I also trained in women’s circle facilitation) where the goal is to help enhance the life of the participant and the connection with themselves and the community around them.
What I’m most proud of and what I believe sets my work apart from others is the myofascial release component of the work I do. This form of treatment offers an opportunity for me, the therapist, to meet the clients half way. This is due to the fact that the myofascial techniques reach a barrier in the client’s body and then the releasing of the constricted tissue starts to occur only when their body is ready to release. So it’s allowing the tissue to release rather than forcing. When the body is forced to let go, it actually does the opposite by subconsciously bracing against the force. It’s through this work where I can truly practice the respect I have for the body’s inherent ability to heal, and clients have expressed that they walk away from a session feeling a deeper connection with their body, as a result of being able to naturally let go rather than being forced to let go.
I am also equally proud of the fact that I bring my background as a dance educator into the world of the healing arts. Educating clients on how to take care of themselves is one of the cornerstones of my work and I love it when a client feels a sense of empowerment as a result of learning self-care tools that can help heal themselves whenever they need it.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
These two are tied, first, the ability to rise up against adversity and transform my career from one aspect of body-centered work to another. Through this process, I have found that there is always a light at the end of a tunnel if we’re willing to see it. Secondly, I’m proud to create a successful hub for people to learn more about their bodies and how to take better care of themselves.
- Address: 2225 W North Avenue Chicago, IL 60647
- Website: http://www.heatherfraelick.com
- Phone: 312.344.3780
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hlfraelick/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherfraelicklmt
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/heather-fraelick-lmt-chicago
- Other: https://plus.google.com/+HeatherFraelickLMTChicago
Rose Yuen Photography