PRO­FILE

Re­lax The Back

Times of the Islands - - Departments - BY KLAU­DIA BALOGH Klau­dia Balogh is an Ed­i­to­rial As­sis­tant for TOTI Me­dia.

Ever grab your lower back while stand­ing up? You’re not alone. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Na­tional Li­brary of Medicine, 80 per­cent of us at some point suffer back pain. Although it may be chronic, last­ing for more than three months, there are ways to live pain-free with proper ther­apy and sup­port. Julie Nodland at Re­lax The Back says her busi­ness in Es­tero of­fers se­ri­ous so­lu­tions to help re­lieve back and neck pain. She co-owns the spe­cialty busi­ness with her hus­band, David, which is at the Co­conut Point Mall. Ev­ery day, they greet cus­tomers look­ing for ways to re­lieve back pain, she says. Nodland says vis­i­tors have been re­ferred by a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional or would like ed­u­ca­tion on eas­ing suf­fer­ing. Em­ploy­ees at Re­lax The Back don’t only sell prod­ucts, Nodland says. “A big part of our role in the store is ed­u­ca­tion,” she says. “Help­ing peo­ple un­der­stand er­gonomics and ask them what they do dur­ing the day is im­por­tant for us be­fore we sell them any­thing.”

Stephen Black, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the De­part­ment of Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast Univer­sity in Fort My­ers, says the main rea­son for neck and pain is­sues is a seden­tary life­style― no reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, poor diet and high stress. “Hav­ing ap­pro­pri­ate mat­tress and pil­low can be tremen­dous help,” Black says.

Black says he’s fa­mil­iar with Re­lax The Back and knows that it of­fers high qual­ity. “I would rec­om­mend them be­cause it’s a place for some­body to try ap­pro­pri­ate prod­ucts,” he says.

Re­lax The Back be­gan with one Cal­i­for­nia out­let in 1985. It has grown into more than 90 stores in the U.S. and Canada, to­day

of­fer­ing med­i­cally driven pos­ture- and back-sup­port prod­ucts to use in the bed­room, liv­ing room and even in the of­fice. Some of the health ben­e­fits in­clude stretch­ing, pro­vid­ing lum­bar and cer­vi­cal sup­port, as well as sup­port­ing the nat­u­ral cur­va­ture of the spine, Nodland says, adding that the key to de­creas­ing back and neck pain is stretch­ing, strength­en­ing and sta­bi­liz­ing.

The Nod­lands opened their store in 2007 when they moved to South­west Florida from Iowa, where they were in­volved in a fam­ily re­sort. How­ever, they wanted change. “We reached a point in our late 50s when we weren’t ready to re­tire but wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent from the fam­ily busi­ness,” Nodland says.

Start­ing a busi­ness when the econ­omy was hit­ting rock bot­tom was chal­leng­ing to the hus­band-and-wife team; how­ever, they didn’t give up. “Fail­ure was not an op­tion for us,” Nodland says. They didn’t even have em­ploy­ees for the first five years.

Al­most 10 years later, Nodland says that all the hard work has been worth it. “The abil­ity to help peo­ple get back to life with­out pain makes our job very re­ward­ing,” she says, not­ing that the

HELP­ING PEO­PLE UN­DER­STAND ER­GONOMICS AND ASK THEM WHAT THEY DO DUR­ING THE DAY IS IM­POR­TANT FOR US BE­FORE WE SELL THEM ANY­THING.”

—JULIE NODLAND, CO-OWNER RE­LAX THE BACK, ES­TERO

cor­po­rate of­fice for Re­lax The Back even rec­og­nized their store as the best fran­chise in the sys­tem.

The Master­care In­ver­sion Ta­ble (above) and a DreamWave Mas­sage Chair (be­low) help ease aches and pains.

Re­lax The Back is at the Co­conut Point Mall in Es­tero. The firm started in Cal­i­for­nia and has grown to 90 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

David and Julie Nodland have earned cor­po­rate awards for their Es­tero fran­chise.

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