Colton James Hughes, owner of Element Massage in downtown Lansing, used to tell his mom he wanted to be a wizard when he grew up. As it turns out, he’d already found his true calling. He just didn’t know it yet.
“I started working on my mom when I was 6 or 7. I’d rub her feet and shoulders, and she’d tell me I had strong hands. Whether that was true or not, it perpetuated the idea,” he said.
For the remainder of his youth and teenage years, his proclivity for relieving tension for his friends and family persisted as a hobby. But it wasn’t until about a decade ago that Hughes officially took up the role of a massage therapist in his professional life.
Prior to opening Element, he had been providing independent massage services in a room at 215 S. Washington Square for about seven years, but he eventually grew tired of seeing the other rooms go frequently unused.
“I had just seen so much potential with this space. I was here, and it was just me, and I kept seeing these rooms empty,” he said.
Alongside fellow massage therapist Caryn Disbrow, he took the steps to secure the whole suite, which now offers four rooms, a team of six therapists and a growing list of new and existing clients that has already surpassed 1,000 people.
On Friday (Dec. 1), Element hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony where members of the community and neighboring business owners had the chance to take part in a raffle, enjoy food and refreshments, sign up for chair-massage trials and book services at discounted rates.
“It’s mostly for people who are in pain. I hear it every week: ‘I hold all my stress in my shoulders,’ which makes sense because everything we do has us in front of a computer or driving, and our shoulders are up to our ears,” Hughes said. “People could be having the worst day, but when they get here, I always get the best of them. On the first day they walk in the door, they’re so happy to see me, but they’re even happier when they leave.”
While Hughes, a myomassologist, specializes in deep-tissue work, each of the studio’s six therapists offers something unique.
“Everybody always wants deep tissue, they want their pain taken away,” Hughes said. “But everybody here is great. We all do a different type of massage because everybody learned from different schools and has a different background, but we’re all efficient at what we do.”
Hughes, a 15-year Lansing resident, described Element as “a professional yet down-to-earth experience focused on improving body, mind and soul.”
“I want this to be accessible to anyone,” he said. “I want people, whoever they are, to feel comfortable in this space. It is an intimate experience. You have to trust somebody. It’s not like doing hair, where you can see a picture of what they do. You have to go by reviews and actually experience it.”
215 S. Washington Square, Suite A, Lansing
Hours (by appointment)
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
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