The Balance Institute staff enjoying new home, planning to expand services

New faces are always welcomed by (from left) Liana Marconyak, Debra Gallup and Jan Shaw at The Balance Institute. (photo by Rachel Ham)

New faces are always welcomed by Liana Marconyak (from left), Debra Gallup and Jan Shaw at The Balance Institute. (photo by Rachel Ham)

More than a decade after first opening the doors of The Balance Institute, founder Jan Shaw and her team still are helping residents feel their best. More services and benefits for clients are on the horizon for the local business thanks to a brand-new location.

Purposefully avoiding the commercial, cookie-cutter approach to health and fitness, Shaw established The Balance Institute in 2001 as a massage therapy and personal training center that would be known for a one-on-one approach.

Many people come to The Balance Institute after suffering an injury or seeking relief from chronic pain. Others simply want get fit but didn’t enjoy going to a large gym. At The Balance Institute, they are given tools to boost their health from the feet up, not just to bulk up.

“We are more about function and health,” Shaw said. “We want to get people to buy into taking care of themselves. We give them things that can last and skills they can learn.”

Shaw, an exercise physiologist, is joined at The Balance Institute by massage therapist and personal trainer Liana Marconyak and massage and bodywork therapist Debra Gallup. Among the three of them, The Balance Institute offers prenatal and postnatal massage, deep tissue massage, personal training for all fitness levels, exercise coaching after physical therapy to name just some services.

“We want your whole health to benefit,” Gallup said.

Gallup and Marconyak agreed that the typical client — whether they come for a massage, personal training or both — doesn’t just experience weight loss or pain relief but multiple benefits. They listed stress relief, cardiovascular health improvement and improved immune health as the most common side effects.

Since its inception, The Balance Institute served Midlands residents from its location on August Road. In late 2013, however, Shaw found the opportunity to move a few miles into a more customer-friendly space. The Balance Institute reopened at 1905 Sunset Blvd. in November just two miles from the Gervais Street bridge.

“I always wanted to be near downtown Columbia,” Shaw said.

“But we wanted to stay in the West Columbia-Cayce community,” Gallup added.

The larger location was able to meet those needs in addition to featuring more parking and a multipurpose room. Currently, Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina holds martial arts classes there, and more community offerings are coming soon. With additional rooms, The Balance Institute will feature an occupational therapist, and Shaw also has plans to organize educational health classes.

As the staff recalled, it’s been the remarks from clients that have made the transition and reopening a success.

“They’ve said not a single negative thing,” Shaw said.

“It has a homey feel,” Gallup added.

The ladies point to the relationships built with those clients, both new and longtime, as to why they do what they do each day.

“It doesn’t feel like a job,” Marconyak said.

“Seeing people become more functional and have relief from pain is what I enjoy,” Shaw added.

The Balance Institute also does its part to support other local businesses such as the Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, Rob and Jon Photography whose artwork is on display for sale at the new location and The Soap Works by Mande Phillips Works who has a table with handmade items in the lobby.

More information on The Balance Institute can be found here or by calling 796-4807.

Categories: Business