Sioux Center gains in-home massage business

Jori Gulker of Sioux Center is a licensed massage therapist who opened Still Water out of her home about a year ago. Her focus is massage therapy for women.

SIOUX CENTER—A Sioux Center resident is excited to reach the one-year mark of using her skills to support women.

Jori Gulker, 41, owner of Still Water, offers massage therapy for women through Swedish and pregnancy massages.

“I believe in the holistic healing properties of healthy touch that massage therapy provides,” she said. “I believe in a client-centered practice in which every client is unique and of value. I believe in doing my very best to relieve your tension, stress and pain by providing professional massage therapy, a space to relax and professional referrals for when client needs are beyond my scope of practice.”

Gulker looks forward to seeing every client that comes through Still Water’s door based in her home at 240 E. Meadow Drive, Sioux Center.

“I pray they leave with the restoration they were hoping for to help them keep living their best life,” she said.

Her business name is even based off the Bible passage Psalm 23.

“Jesus is everything to me,” she said. “The experiences in my past where I’ve needed peace or a place of safety or calm, I can’t think of or imagine a better place than Psalm 23 where the Lord leads makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.

“My prayer through this whole journey has been that if I can honor the Lord and glorify Him in this work and offer a place that can be just a sliver of that Psalm for every lady who walks into the door, that would be amazing. That’s my goal.”

The mother of three started her own journey toward becoming a licensed massage therapist after receiving a massage herself.

“I’ve always enjoyed massages,” Gulker said, noting she and a group of friends started celebrating 40th birthdays by visiting a spa. “I came out of this one massage and met the girls and said every woman deserves to feel like that. They joked I should consider going into massage if that’s how I felt.”

“What’s interesting is that I remember the massage therapist never said a word to me so it wasn’t what she said but the way she handled me — that I was valuable and offered safe touch. That one massage led me to think about the possibilities of what I could do for other women. There never was a doubt that women’s massage would be my focus.”

Gulker graduated from the South Dakota School of Massage Therapy in Sioux Falls, SD, in December 2019.

She setup a space at Hair on Hickory south of Hull in March 2020, had one night of appointments and then the coronavirus pandemic locked down salons and massage therapy studios.

She restarted her once-a-week night of appointments on Hair on Hickory May 2020, which she continues today. However, by having moved to Sioux Center that same spring, she also gained a space by midsummer that allowed her to do at-home appointments as well.

“That, too, is where we feel God’s hand,” Gulker said, noting that went she went to school, her family was living on an acreage by Inwood. “My husband and I both had the feeling it was time to move on. We sold our acreage within three days but worked out that we could stay until the spring to allow our kids to stay in school. Some friends of ours noticed the home we have now was undergoing a renovation. And looking into it, it felt like the perfect home for us. It even had this front room with a separate entrance off the side that I could potentially have a space to do massage out of the home.”

Gulker valued having an in-home location for appointments to allow her the flexibility of being near her children, if needed. She and her husband, Brad, have three children: Zoe, 17; Jacob, 15; and Mylie, 13.

“I valued massage before I became a therapist but after going through school and learning about all the health benefits like decreasing stress, depression, anxiety and increasing healthy circulation and helping the immune system, I value it so much more and hope to share with my clients,” she said. “We all have a story. I might not know everyone’s story coming in but I know they have one. If they can walk in and immediately feel calm, welcomed and have a load of their shoulder for however long they’re here, if they can feel relaxed and taken care of, then I’ve done my job.”

When not attending kids activities, the family enjoys outside activities such as walking, fishing and bike riding.

“Anything we can do to be outside,” she said. “It’s funny, we joke that being located next to the bike trail and the prairie in town has helped us be outside more than when we were on the acreage and given me a space to utilize this skill God has called me to do. Our move and living in Sioux Center this past year has really shown us just how God works in mysterious ways”