PEQUOT LAKES - A health and wellness business trio in Pequot Lakes provides crossover between a fitness center, a workout studio and chiropractic clinic.
Chiropractic Doctor Michelle Lelwica said it's not a typical combination. When Lelwica moved to the lakes area with her family she was commuting once a month to the Hopkins Health & Wellness Center in Hopkins, which opened in 1993.
Lelwica grew up in Morris. Her husband, Jim, grew up in Staples. They wanted to raise their three sons in a small community and simplify their lives. So they moved to the lakes area in 2006.
But Lelwica learned she needed more to keep her busy. So she opened a 24-hour Snap Fitness center in the renovated Fire Hall Center in Pequot Lakes in March 2007. As people went to the fitness center and learned Lelwica was a chiropractic doctor they sought out her services.
Personal trainer Kirsten Gangl, who manages Snap Fitness in Pequot Lakes, led a cardio pump class at the Hopkins Health & Wellness Center Lakes Area. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson
She created a small clinic and workout studio about five months after opening the fitness center. Word of mouth expanded the client list. By 2009, Lelwica was working in the small clinic two-and-a-half days a week. Work began to expand the clinic last summer. A larger satellite clinic named the Hopkins Health & Wellness Center Lakes Area opened next to Snap Fitness in November.
Lelwica, a Gustavus Adolphus College graduate, gained her doctorate of chiropractic at Northwestern College of Chiropractic. She has 18 years of experience. She served as associate faculty at NWCC, practicing at the teaching university clinic and instructing interns in the care of women and children. Lelwica owned a private practice in Eden Prairie before joining Hopkins Health & Wellness. Her work in Pequot Lakes started the first multidisciplinary satellite clinic to HHWC.
The practice has grown so much Lelwica no longer commutes to the Twin Cities. Last Monday, clients were coming through the door in a steady stream for chiropractic care while a full cardio lift class was in session in the studio and people were working out on the Cybex equipment in the fitness center.
Diane Erlandson of Nisswa was one of Lelwica's first chiropractic clients at the clinic here. It was her first time at a chiropractic office. Erlandson said Lelwica was instrumental in taking care of her as a whole patient. She took classes in yoga and pilates and used the Snap Fitness center and with treatment through the chiropractic care and physical therapy she experienced improvement.
Chiropractic doctor Michelle Lelwica worked with a patient at the Hopkins Health & Wellness Center Lakes Area in Pequot Lakes. Lelwica opened Snap Fitness in 2007 and later expanded into a workout studio and small chiropractic clinic. The clinic was expanded again in 2009. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson
"It worked out fantastic for me," Erlandson said. "It's just great to have everything under one roof."
Erlandson said the studio classes were well attended and in both the studio and the gym there was a social element.
"You get to know the people in your class," Erlandson said.
The trio of businesses is designed to complement a healthy lifestyle goal with elements in exercise, nutrition and treatment.
Hopkins Health and Wellness Center developed a non-surgical treatment called the DMR method - for Decompress, Mobilize and Rehabilitate. The DMR method was developed for herniated intervertebral discs, chronic back and neck pain, sciatica and facet syndrome. Lelwica said imaging before and after treatment has shown a remarkable success in reduction of herniated discs. The wellness center also incorporates FirstLine Therapy, a specialized therapeutic lifestyle change program, that works with a sensible eating plan, exercise, nutritional supplements and stress management.
Beyond the chiropractic care, the clinic offers physical therapy that incorporates yoga and pilates classes in the studio and clients may work to strengthen their bodies through use of the fitness center.
The 24-hour Snap Fitness center opened in the renovated Pequot Lakes Fire Hall in 2007. Five months later, an expansion added a small chiropractic clinic and a studio with workout classes such as yoga, pilates and cardio pump. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson
Certified instructors work with the studio classes, which include a cardio pump class where participants workout to music with weights, kickboxing and dance classes. Lelwica said there are people who lost their jobs who have come to get back in shape and reduce stress by utilizing the fitness center.
"Even through the recession people are realizing they want to take care of themselves," she said. "Keeping healthy is a lot cheaper than getting sick."
The wellness center employs Holly Kline as a physical therapist, Heidi Olson as a licensed physical therapy assistant and Karen Kullgren and Cheryl Clark as certified personal trainers along with additional fitness instructors. The wellness center employs about 10. Kline has 23 years experience as a physical therapist. She attended the University of Minnesota. Olson graduated from the College of St. Catherine in 1992. Kullgren graduated from the University of Minnesota and is a certified lifestyle educator through FirstLine Therapy.
Lelwica specializes in the natural balance of hormones, teaching seminars in the Twin Cities and she developed a specialty in the care of women and children. Lelwica said the goal is help people reduce their health care costs by teaching them how to stay healthy and the wellness center provides a team approach.
"This was always the vision," Lelwica said. "But I never thought it would go this far."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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