Doing my job

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October 10, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

Kay Troan

Neuro-muscular therapist

Bennessere Body in Balance

125 SE Main St., Suite 237

Kay Troan has been keeping bodies in balance for 10 years — six of them at St. Anthony Main. “I just love this area, with the river,” Troan said. “There’s a lot of energy here.”

Troan is in the midst of a year-long transformation of her business, Bennessere Body in Balance. (Bennessere means “well-being” in Italian.) In March, Troan expanded her offices, on the second floor of 125 SE Main St., above the Aster Caf/. She’s added staff to perform reiki, ceragem, Swedish and shiatsu massage and complement her own neuro-muscular therapy (NMT) work. You might have seen Bennessere’s chair masseuse on the Main Street sidewalk this summer.

Troan trained — and later taught — at the St. John’s Institute of Neuro-muscular Therapy in Florida. She has worked on local athletes and was on staff when the Chicago Bulls won their sixth NBA championship in 1998. You don’t need to be rich or famous to see Troan, but visits aren’t cheap — $85 and up for NMT and $70 for the other full-hour massages.

(She accepts some insurance, mostly for auto accident cases or worker’s compensation.)

Her workspace looks much like the massage rooms one might find in a salon, with a massage table centered in a small, pleasant room. Calming, wave-like music plays, with no lyrics. “It distracts the conscious mind, so I can make changes without you fighting,” Troan said. “I need you to float.”

Despite that, NMT is not just about pampering. “Neuro-muscular therapy is about the muscles and the nervous system,” Troan said. “It’s about balancing the body.”

A patient’s visit starts with a postular analysis, “to identify issues in the body,” Troan said. “We can get very twisted,” she noted.

She gave a familier example: someone who sits in front of a computer all day. “You might have pain between your shoulder blades,” Troan said. “Because the muscles in front are contracted or tightened, it stretches the back muscles.” Troan said that nerves fire pain after stretching 15 percent. “If I continue to elongate it, it will feel really nice at that moment, but it won’t fix the problem,” she said. “I want to work on the cause of the pain, not the effect.”

Troan said doctors often refer patients to her. Other clients have come to her after trying everything else — other types of therapy, even surgery.

Bennessere’s recent expansion offers more options and alternatives to complement Troan’s NMT.

“A lot of people in Minnesota don’t like to be touched,” Troan said. “They don’t like to take their clothes off.” For the shy, Midwestern type, there’s ceragem massage — light and heat therapy on a table with special rollers — or reiki, which is totally touchless.”

Reiki works with energy fields to help balance the body’s electricity, Troan said.

Troan might refer people to a different practitioner. She hopes to add a nutritionist next year to her “one-stop shop” of wellness.

The added hands might cut Troan some slack, too. She works many 12-14 hour days, either in the office or on “out-calls” to clients in homes, condos and hotels.

“There aren’t enough hours in the day,” she said of her job. “That’s why I started the clinic. I’ve been turning away business for years.”

Luckily, Troan enjoys her work. “It’s the people,” she said. “Even if they’re in pain when they come in, there’s hope in their eyes. And when they leave my office, they’re smiling.”