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Published June 13, 2011, 12:00 AM

It's My Job: Massage therapist offers relaxation to weary travelers

FARGO - Valerie Hanson happened to stop at the Petro Travel Center. As she watched the weary truckers, she noticed a similarity: They were all rubbing sore muscles, in their necks, their backs, all over.

By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

Business profile

Body & Sole Massage & Reflexology

  • Ownership: Valerie Hanson
  • Location: Petro Travel Center, 4510 19th Ave. SW, Fargo
  • Hours: 2 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings
  • Info: Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments can be made by calling (701) 306-5071.

FARGO - Valerie Hanson happened to stop at the Petro Travel Center. As she watched the weary truckers, she noticed a similarity: They were all rubbing sore muscles, in their necks, their backs, all over.

It was then that the licensed massage therapist got the idea for the location of her shop, Body & Sole Massage & Reflexology.

“I thought, ‘Hmm, there’s work to be done,’ ” Hanson said.

She spoke with the owners of the Petro Travel Center on 45th Street and found they had been considering moving a massage therapist in. Shortly after, in 2004, Hanson opened the door to her salon and set up a chair in the lobby of Petro.

Hanson now has a clientele that varies from passers-by to truckers from across the nation. Even a few locals call for an appointment with Hanson when they’re in need of some relaxation.

Hanson sat down with The Forum to talk more about why she loves her massage therapist job with a twist.

Q: Where did you receive your training?

A: Here in Fargo, at Sister Rosalind Gefre Schools of Massage.

Did you plan on being someplace like the Petro Travel Center?

No. It was all happenstance. I left a low-paying, high-stress job for Sister Rosalyn. Then I thought I better take a class so I know what the students are talking about, and I just fell in love with massage.

How did you build your client base?

Some of the local people make appointments a month or so ahead of time. Some of the truckers just come in, and if I’m open, they stop and get a massage. So it’s a little bit of everything.

Is there a difference between what you do in the chair in the lobby versus here in your office (also located inside Petro Travel Center)?

Usually in the office, I do an hour or two-hour sessions. I’m able to do more with the legs and feet in the office. Truckers often have trouble with the legs because they are sitting all the time, not very much circulation, so it really helps to get their legs worked on.

In the chair, I do a lot of neck and lower-back work. That’s kind of what I specialize in, neck and lower back. Office workers get a lot of neck pain.

Do you offer an express massage?

That would be a chair massage. It’s by the minute, so you can do five minutes or 50 minutes, whatever you feel like.

I mostly do branches of Swedish massage and reflexology. Most of the people coming in here just want to relax. I really tailor it to the client as to what is going to work best for them.

Who is your clientele?

Whoever sits under my hands.

I work a lot with the truckers because of where I’m at, but a lot of the local people are stopping in as well. People with neck and shoulder pain, or people with fibromyalgia. I see different types of stress-related problems. In our world, nearly everything is stress-related, so massage works very well for people.

Was it hard to convince the trucking industry of the benefits of massage?

I was a little nervous, because I thought, oh, these rough truck drivers. But these people are teddy bears. They’re so cute. They’ve been really the most helpful in getting my business started. They get on the CB and talk about “the lady in Fargo.”

What do you love most about your job?

When they get up smiling, and they say how good they feel. That just makes anyone feel good, when they say, “Good job.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530


To submit an idea for “It’s My Job,” e-mail businessnews@forumcomm.com.

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