When Denise Crowell became a licensed massage therapist in 1997, the last thing she wanted to do was own her own business.
“This was not even in my plan,” Crowell said. “This was not even a thought of my dreams. When I moved here in 2005 and started my own practice in 2006, it was me working for myself. I did not want a brick-and-mortar. I did not want employees.”
Working for herself allowed Crowell the freedom to be present and spend time with her own family, and for 11 years, Crowell practiced massage therapy in Gulf Breeze.
“I didn’t ‘just open’ Revive Wellness, if you know what I mean,” Crowell said. “I’ve been blessed to build a strong clientele having been known in the community, as well as raising my daughter, who played volleyball for Gulf Breeze and ended up playing D1 volleyball.”
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But in 2017, Crowell thought she was done with massage therapy for good.
“I walked away from my massage practice, and had no intentions of ever coming back,” Crowell said. “In October 2019, being retired for three and a half years, God nudged me and said, ‘You’re going back into practice.’ I was arguing with myself, ‘I don’t want a brick and mortar, I don’t want employees.’ Next thing I know, it’s a strong nudge to where it was like, ‘Here’s your building, here’s the name, Revive.'”
Revive Wellness at 2709 Gulf Breeze Parkway in Gulf Breeze recently celebrated 1,000 followers on social media, along with its opening, with the Gulf Breeze Chamber of Commerce hosting a ribbon cutting to make it official.
“Now that we’re open, it’s been such a blessing,” Crowell said.
With the renovations complete and personnel in place, returning to massage therapy has been a revival for Crowell. Literally.
“My first week I was open here, I ended up doing 28 massages,” Crowell said. “The clients came back. It was like I didn’t even skip a beat.”
For Crowell, her practice couldn’t have been revived without putting her own faith first.
“It all fell into place,” Crowell said. “It all came together. That’s kinda why I have the ‘R.’ The ‘R’ is for Revive. But the circle is that everything has come full circle for me. Because I did massage, I was very successful. And then I walked away from my career. People thought I was crazy. For three and a half years, I was retired from massage.”
Crowell can admit, it took her a minute to accept the call to return to massage.
“When I did, and I saw the building came, and the finances came, and here I am sitting here, looking at the big ‘R’ with the circle around it that sits behind my desk, it’s like, ‘OK God, I see you. It’s all important,'” Crowell said.
It also came full circle for her daughter as well — in more ways than one.
“I actually employ my daughter, who is one of my estheticians. She is now also the Gulf Breeze High School volleyball coach,” Crowell said. “I had no idea when I bought the building that she was going to go to esthetician school.”
Revive Wellness offers a wide variety of massage and facial services and is one of the few practices that offer Cranial Release Therapy.
“What sets me apart from a lot of the other massage therapists is the technique that I do,” Crowell said. “I am a cranial release technician. I started that in 2009, and when I got licensed, I was one of 300. I really work with realigning with people’s structure. The majority of people are coming in, and they’re hurting, and I want to fix them.”
The Cranial Release Technique, also known as CRT, is described on its website as a “hands-on process that facilitates a release of long-standing fixation and strain within the cranial-dural system.” Once this method is applied, the nervous system relaxes, restoring cerebrospinal fluid flow and improving how the brain and central nervous system operates.
“I do the cranial release before the massage because it takes your central nervous system out of fight or flight mode,” Crowell said. “Unrelieved stress, physically, emotionally, mentally, will cause pain or disease in someone’s body. So it’s like rebooting your phone. You’re on your phone all the time, you’re overworking it, and you have to turn it off and reboot it for it to work faster.”
Revive Wellness also offers eyelash services, including application of extensions, removals and additions of filters. As for what’s next on the horizon for Revive Wellness, according to Crowell, she’s already purchased three additional lots inside the plaza association where Revive Wellness is located — with expansion plans in mind.
“I think a lot of people don’t start businesses because they’re afraid of failure,” Crowell said. “Of course, I have fears, but I’ve always been optimistic and I feel like it’s the holy spirit and God just leading me the way and he’s got huge plans for me. Plans that I didn’t know I had.”
Revive Wellness is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.revivewellnessgb.com or call 850-565-5203.
Kalyn Wolfe is a freelance columnist for the News Journal. Send new business tips to [email protected]