Since Jessica Cooney became a licensed massage therapist two decades ago, she has worked with chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and other holistic healthcare providers. While she was living in Chicago about 10 years ago, she worked at an all-natural healthcare facility that housed a variety of different practitioners.
“It opened my eyes to what a facility like that can do for people,” Cooney said. “When I moved back here, I really wanted to open up something like that here.”
This summer, Cooney launched Vibe Wellness Lounge on Central Avenue in downtown Whitefish, which provides services including massage therapy, acupuncture, fire cupping, Reiki and beauty treatments like facials and waxing from licensed estheticians.
Dr. Amy Rupprecht provides acupuncture at the facility, where she practices a style of massage called tui na, which combines acupuncture, cupping and martial arts.
“It’s an energetic yet relaxing massage,” Rupprecht said. “People walk out thinking they’re not going to be relaxed and then they end up saying they are super zenned out.”
Cooney included “vibe” in the branding as an ode to vibrational medicine, which she says focuses on energy work and touch as a form of healing.
“That vibration can be anything from massage to acupuncture to Reiki and plant essentials,” Cooney said.
Cooney became interested in vibrational healing after she was introduced to Traditional Chinese Medicine when she was in her early 20s. She originally sought help from a psychiatrist to treat depression, but she soon realized she wanted to try a holistic approach instead of taking medication.
After her visit to the psychiatrist, Cooney went to a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who treated her with acupuncture and nutrition. Soon afterward, she enrolled in massage school and quit her job at the Chicago Board of Trade. Within a year, she left the city and moved to the Flathead Valley.
In the years since she switched careers and moved to Montana, she has worked to build a community in the Flathead Valley and has continued building her clientele working as a massage therapist.
“Every job prepares you for the next job and that’s how I feel like in the last 20 years,” Cooney said. “I’ve put a lot of time into this community, which has supported me for many years now.”
Before Cooney launched Vibe Wellness, she was working in a space upstairs with local chiropractor Tim Dudley. When the 1,700-square-foot basement space became available, she jumped at the opportunity and completely remodeled the facility. The space was most recently Stumptown Vintage Photo, an old-time photo studio.
The open design was transformed when Cooney built three private massage rooms, two esthetician rooms and acupuncture room. Insulation was added to the ceiling to block out the heavy foot traffic from The Toggery directly upstairs.
Vibe Wellness also has a retail section, where a variety of female-owned natural products are available for sale, including Naamoo, a Blackfeet company.
Other products include organic body products from JAMUspa, which was founded by local Flathead Valley resident and massage therapist Kim Collier, Chinese herbs and more.
In the future, Cooney hopes to host wellness gatherings at Vibe Wellness Lounge to educate the community about holistic approaches to healing.
“Our goal is to get out into the community more and to do more continuing education,” Collier said. “We want to bring in other practitioners that are at the top in their field and to help educate.”
For more information, visit www.vibewhitefish.com.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.