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Moorhead business offers alternative healing in addition to massages

Matt and Crystal Franco are co-owners of the Moorhead Massage & Wellness Center offering Ayurvedic holistic healing services. Dave Wallis / The Forum1 / 2
A copper shirodhara pot is used to slowly dispense a warm oil and herb mix over a person's forehead at the Moorhead Massage & Wellness Center in Moorhead. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 2

MOORHEAD—The work comes easy to Crystal and Matt Franco, but not so much when it comes to neatly describing everything they do at their new business.

"It's hard because even though we do have traditional spa treatments here, we're much more than that," Matt Franco said.

With everything from Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative medicine based on keeping a balance of the three doshas, or energies, to yoga and emotional balancing of the body and mind, Moorhead Massage & Wellness Center is more than a place to get a massage.

It opened in February in the basement of the Boost Mobile building, 202 8th St. S.

Some of the services offered by husband-and-wife owners Crystal and Matt Franco, as well as therapist Kim Haarstick, are new to the area, even if they've been practiced for thousands of years. But the practitioners have years of experience, and they plan to grow their new business into a holistic healing space with classes and workshops.

Holistic wellness

Crystal Franco has known since childhood that she was meant for this line of work.

"I gave a friend a massage when I was 10, and they said, 'You could be a massage therapist,' " she said. "I didn't even know that was a thing. A year later, my dad went to chiropractic school, so it just evolved from that."

She started practicing after high school, finding a kindred spirit in Matt Franco, a former EMT with a grandfather physician and his father in the pharmaceutical industry. Franco wanted to find a different line of work and settled on massage therapy in 2005.

The couple met in New York and have dated for years. Crystal Franco, a native of western North Dakota, moved to Moorhead to be closer to family, and Matt Franco moved here a couple years later.

He said he focuses on "structural work," meaning he helps athletes and others deal with injuries and learn techniques and stretches to prevent future problems.

"You can absolutely come and see me just for a relaxing massage, but I like to focus on what's caused the injury and how to treat it," he said.

Health isn't a goal, he said, but rather something that needs to be worked on every day to live more comfortably.

Crystal Franco, meanwhile, handles the energetic and emotional side of things.

"I do a lot of balancing the body through really listening to it intuitively, so I'll go through and balance out your Chakra and your internal organs," she said.

Treatments range in price from $50 to $120, with "on-program" discounts available to clients who come in frequently.

The goal, according to Crystal Franco, is to offer a "holistic" take on mental, emotional and spiritual wellness, not just physical well-being.

Matt Franco said traditional massage is like jazz, with musicians following a chord structure or series of notes to sound good.

"With Ayurvedic bodywork, it's more like classical music," he said. "It's very choreographed, so we're changing tempos and it's very fluid, doing things with specific timing. We're moving blood and lymph and energy with specific timing."

Business profile

What: Moorhead Massage & Wellness Center

Where: 202 8th St. S., Moorhead

Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (by appointment)

Phone: (218) 512-0280

Online: and

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is the Features Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He previously wrote for The Forum and the Grand Forks Herald.

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