Kim Johnson has always had a passion and curiosity for the body and how it moves, connects to the mind, expresses, and heals.
Originally, she planned to attend college for nursing because of her desire to help others and be involved in the healthcare field. She chose to study dance after her health occupations teacher encouraged her to try “the dance thing” first, since one could always go back for nursing. Kim graduated with high honors with a BFA in dance from UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts in 2000.
Since graduating from college, she has been a dance performer, choreographer, instructor, and administrator in the Milwaukee area at organizations including Danceworks, UW-Milwaukee Dance Department, and Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy.
She loves to teach all ages and makes sure to look at each student’s anatomy and capabilities to provide instruction, imagery, and corrections individual to the person. She understands the power of movement, touch, and community and uses it to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for her students to thrive. She is also Pilates Mat Certified.
Kim’s love of anatomy, movement, and helping people along their wellness journey led her to massage therapy in 2019. Her desire to work in the healthcare field had found its path back into her career life. The way that massage has connected to her years of dance experience has been a beautiful marriage that she truly can’t wait to share with her clients.
Kim specializes in Swedish Relaxation Massage and loves to combine the different styles she’s been trained in to customize a unique session for each client striving to meet their therapeutic goals.
Q&A with Kim Johnson
Q. How long have you been a massage therapist?
A. I graduated from the Blue Sky School of Professional Massage and Therapeutic Bodywork’s 850-hour Medical Intensive Track Program in 2020.
Q. What areas do you specialize in?
A. Although I was trained in various massage therapy modalities, currently, I specialize in Swedish Relaxation massage.
If there is a specific pain or area that needs to be addressed, I like to add Neuromuscular Therapy into the session.
I enjoy borrowing from different styles and combining them together to best serve the client. I look forward to continuing my education to increase my repertoire.
Q. What brought you to your current style of practice?
A. After 20 years on stage and living out the moto, “The show must go on!,” I know all too well the toll that physical exertion has on a person’s body and mind. I decided to attend school for massage therapy not only to satisfy my curiosity and passion about anatomy and kinesiology, but also to be an advocate for self care in the dance community, and community at large.
In my first month of school, I realized that a rhythmic and soothing modality, such as Swedish Relaxation Massage, uses the same concepts of flow, intention, weight share, listening, and intuition as dance does.
My massage style uses soothing and flowing relaxation strokes to increase circulation, physical vitality, and initiate the parasympathetic system so that even if specific areas are needing held compression to address pain, the nervous system is in a state to relax and repair both body and mind.
Massage has truly allowed me to find a new way to move, in addition to serving another in hopes of helping them live a better life. These two aspects have always been what I’m most passionate about and called to do in my career. It’s my true hope that one will be able to feel this during their session.
Q. What can a new client expect?
A. A new client can expect an environment that is welcoming, professional, tranquil, caring, and client based.
Our bodies feel different every day and what we need does as well. The goals for the massage session will be established by truly listening to the client, making every massage customized to suit where they are that day. Detailed notes and follow up will be recorded after each session, allowing for consistent restricted muscular patterns to be learned in order to treat efficiently and effectively.
Q.What recent industry trends have you found most noteworthy?
A. Anxiety is said to be the health epidemic of the 21st century. Studies show that it is up 1200% in the last 3 decades. Unfortunately, this number is only rising. People are in pain, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mayo Clinic studies show that a single massage session can lower the stress hormone, cortisol, by 30%. After 12 weeks of regular massage sessions, anxiety symptoms can be reduced by 50%.
Q. What are your current personal wellness goals and how are you addressing them?
A. I currently have two wellness goals. The first goal is to be more mindful throughout the day in order to be present for others and myself. Secondly, I’m committed to addressing physical needs as they present themselves instead of waiting until they become problematic and restrictive. I’ve started to balance physical activities, such as dance and cross-training with regular massages and meditation.
Q. What is your favorite beautiful spot in Milwaukee?
A. There are so many, but if I had to choose one, I’d say Seminary Woods. Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a walk in the forest was a weekly thing I didn’t think was very unique. Although I now live in the city, I love that I can drive just a few miles from my house and be surrounded by trees and nature.
Q. What is your favorite place to eat in Milwaukee?
A. My brain hurts a little right now trying to narrow it down to one….I’m going with Beans and Barley. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1995 and it was one of the first restaurants I ever went to when I first moved to Milwaukee. I couldn’t believe there was a place where I had more than a house salad or grilled cheese to pick from!
Q. What are your top three favorite things to do/hobbies?
A. 1.)Spending time with my best friend and husband, Jon. It doesn’t matter if we are grocery shopping, or out for a fancy date, it’s always a good time. 2) I love to move, so dance or somatics practices are my go to.
3) Being outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees, or below 0, I enjoy moving through whatever outdoor environment I’m in. I guess this comes from having dogs that need to be walked every day. It’s become just as much a part of my daily ritual as it is theirs.
Q. What do you do to de-stress?
A. It depends on what kind of stress it is, but my go-to practices are – take a dance or Pilates class, guided breathing meditations, cleaning and organizing my house, or walking outside, especially in a forested area.