Faces of Bodywork: Heather Topoly

Woman stands with arms outstretched in front of a lake, forest, and mountains.

Heather Topoly is the owner of Restorative Massage & Wellness Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Topoly was featured in the January/February 2024 issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine in "Faces of Bodywork."

Below, learn more about Topoly's start and practice.

  • Business: Owner, Restorative Massage & Wellness Center
  • Education: Stark State College
  • Words of advice: Massage isn’t a job, it is a passion.

Massage & Bodywork: Please tell us about your background. Why Massage?

Heather Topoly: I have eight therapists who work with me as a cohesive team. I am a veteran of the US Navy and served in the reserves for nine years. I have always been interested in the medical field, and while in the military, I was trained as a combat corpsman with the Marines. After I got out, I became a nationally registered EMT. After having three children, I went back to school to pursue a career as a physical therapy assistant. During that training, I needed rotator cuff surgery from a car accident. I was receiving massage from the PTA and noticed a huge difference when the massage therapist worked on me. I literally had no interest in doing massage, but thought I would study it to help my PT patients. About halfway through the first semester of massage school, I fell in love with it. I became licensed in January 2010, and continue to love what I do. I find massage to be a puzzle, and I like it when clients leave feeling better. I never chose massage; it chose me.

M&B: You have an interesting array of modalities you offer. Can you tell us how this tapestry all wove together over the years? What is your most requested service?

HT: I really don’t have a main modality I use because I intertwine everything I have learned over the past 15 years based on what is needed at that moment. I have worked in a wide range of massage businesses, including chiropractic, PT clinics, corporate, and hospice. I have spent seven years of my career in hospice and working in well-known hospitals such as the Cleveland Clinic and Summa hospice. I have found hospice to be very rewarding and changed my perspective on life. I am trained in Reiki II, Craniosacral 3, Trigger Point, medical massage, and some myofascial work. I am currently studying myoskeletal alignment with Erik Dalton and table Thai Massage. The majority of my sessions are therapeutic and clinical, with a side of energy work. I am very passionate about massage therapy and what it can do for clients. All the modalities in massage weave together very nicely in a way that is very effective when applied properly.

M&B: What is the most rewarding part of being a massage therapist for you?

HT: The most rewarding part of massage for me is seeing clients leave feeling better than when they arrived and coming up with a continued treatment plan. What feeds me on a personal level is life and all its beauty and ugliness. It is a constant change and always a challenge to continue moving forward no matter what is thrown at me. I’m very resilient and a survivor, which has carved the path of success I have been fortunate to have. I have worked very hard and studied a lot to gain all I have today.

M&B: Words of advice for anyone just entering the profession?

HT: Massage isn’t a job, it's a passion. It is hard, it is rewarding. Don’t give up; keep plunging ahead. Success doesn’t come immediately; it takes time, it’s trial and error, and constant learning. Even after 15 years, I’m still learning new things, and it’s amazing to see how many people are passionate in this field.

M&B: Can you tell us something about what feeds you on a personal level, things you do for fun?

HT: For fun, I enjoy my adult children, listening to books on tape, traveling with my wife, spending cuddle time with our two dogs, Frank (a Shih-tzu) and Gibson (a Jack Russell mix). I enjoy my friends and connecting with people. Life is short; do what makes you happy!

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