Finding Your Balance
By Samantha Leader | Photography by Alexis Emm
Margo Burgmeier is one of those few lucky people who discovered her calling, and is now living it.
When Margo opened Essential Balance Massage Therapy & Wellness in East Syracuse, her lifelong dream was realized. Even during the 25 years she worked in the finance industry, Margo had aspirations of opening her own massage therapy practice.
“I did a lot of research, including the growth, salaries [and] job duties, and called around to other massage therapists to ask questions,” Margo recalled.
Once she made the decision, she enrolled in the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, while continuing to work part time in finance. In March 2011, she rented out space in Manlius, which eventually grew into Essential Balance Massage Therapy & Wellness. When she began, she had no regular clients, and was one of many people renting the space.
“When starting out, I did on-call [work] in spas and volunteer work to network and get clients,” she said.
A few years passed, and in June 2015, she began to practice massage therapy full time. It took a lot of time, experience and connections to build up a large client base, Margo said. Now, she typically books clients three to six weeks out.
Caregivers are some of her favorite people to work with. Having children herself helped Margo appreciate the sacrifice parents make by putting themselves on the back burner and concentrating on their children’s needs, she explained.
“My main focus is on caregivers,” she said, “because raising a child on the autism spectrum has given me a first-hand understanding of the challenges that caregivers face, greatly influencing my work.”
A wide variety of clients seek out Margo, depending on their medical and surgical history. Two of the most common reasons people connect with her is the search for pain relief and stress management.
“Often, people wait until they are in urgent need before contacting me,” Margo said, explaining that sometimes people tend to not acknowledge the impact pain and stress may have on their life and everyday duties. “There are many benefits to massages, such as reducing [and] managing chronic pain, anxiety, rehabilitation ability [and] reducing painful scar tissue.”
Margo offers a variety of different services. Integrated therapeutic massage is one of the most common, in which the therapist consults and crafts treatment based on the client’s needs. This type of therapy includes different approaches, such as bodywork techniques, somatic therapy, movement re-patterning and touch therapy. Hot stone massage is also common, as it is post-surgical and releases scar tissue, Margo said.
“Massage therapy is one of the highest regulated professions in the state,” she said, “because you have to make sure you are providing appropriate therapy, not causing damage.”
When Margo meets a client for the first time, she determines their needs and what sections of their body need attention. Then, she usually tells people to come back a couple of times, even if they feel relief after one session, to make sure the chosen approach actually works, Margo said.
Looking to the future, Margo explained she hopes to expand her skills and knowledge through more schooling.
“I will stay a solo practitioner while doing this and [keep] taking care of clients, not expand,” she said. “I am very client-centered and I do not want to lose that.”
The journey from finance to massage therapy taught Margo the importance of having a mentor. Life gets busy and finding the best path takes time, Margo said, and having a good support system can help you find your way. Once you do, don’t hold back, she said.
“Proceed as if success is inevitable,” Margo said. SWM
Essential Balance Massage Therapy & Wellness is open Monday through Saturday by appointment only. Daytime and evening times are available. Call Margo at 315-727-3279 to book a session. For more information, visit myessentialbalance.com.