Local Love Blog Series – Back At It Sports & Wellness

Welcome back to the Local Love Blog Series!

This is a feature that I’ve been so excited to write and share with everyone! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to feature Vanessa Joosten from Back At It Sports & Wellness this week! 

Vanessa’s focus is on helping locals along their health journey, be it recovering from an injury, focusing on stress reduction, or helping an existing health issue. 

Across three different Bow Valley clinics, Back At It offers massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese medicine. But for Vanessa, it’s about so much more than just the services they provide. Her focus is on more than just growth or financial gain, but rather on creating a place where people feel like they belong and specifically for her team to feel proud of their work and where they do it. 

Vanessa’s dedication to her team is second to none! 

She’s collected some of the best talent and most amazing humans to join her team at Back At It, making it the most sought-after place to get treatment in Banff and Canmore. Vanessa also prioritizes spending time with her team outside of the clinic, finding ways to get outside together for a ski day or volunteering for the community at a trail building night.

For Vanessa, her team is really what keeps her going through thick and thin. 

Another highlight of the job for Vanessa is getting to interact with Bow Valley locals. 

Connecting face to face with so many different people and getting to know them personally as their lives evolve in and around the Bow Valley is rewarding in and of itself. She loves seeing new people arrive in town that end up at her clinic and then over the years become an integral part of the community. She loves getting to see the growth of individuals working towards their big life goals!

Vanessa first started in 2005 as a mobile massage therapist. 

She would travel to races and events with her massage table in tow, ready to help athletes perform their best. As you can imagine, travelling with her massage table and gear was exhausting so eventually, it made more sense for Vanessa to find a space where clients could come to her. 

Although Vanessa had a unique vision for what would become Back At It! 

Massage therapy has been primarily focused on sports and injury-related treatment, but Vanessa wanted to create a space that would have a calm, clean, relaxing, and inclusive vibe while focusing on sports and therapeutic treatments where everyone feels welcome. 

Vanessa is always learning and making Back At It a more inclusive and welcoming space. 

In the last year, she’s been dedicated to educating herself and her team on trauma, diversity, and inclusivity. It’s important to Vanessa that no one feels that concerns over safety, inclusivity, or accessibility act as a barrier to seeking treatment at Back At It. 

Having been in Canmore for nearly two decades and being such an integral part of this amazing community, Vanessa has lots of Local Love Shout Outs to make! 

First up is the amazing Chrissy Nickerson whose art reminds Vanessa of exploring the Canadian Shield during her childhood, followed by interior designer Aleks Zablotni-Schantz from Compass Design Co. who did a great job designing the downtown clinic for Back At It and nailed it, and lastly, tattoo artist and owner of Aurora Tattoo, Von, whose art Vanessa and her team get to see on clients every day during massages and treatments. She also wanted to shout out three amazing local businesses doing great work: Rundle Physio – specifically owner Danielle who has been a great friend and supporter of Back At It from the beginning; Stonewaters – owner Mike Gordon has been a huge supporter of community and small business in the Bow Valley; and Frankie D’s Donuts – Frankie D and her moms, Makaylah and Fia-Lynn inspire Vanessa to be a better person, to put mental health at the forefront of her own business, and share what inclusivity means for others and within her business! Finally, Vanessa had to mention the YWCA Banff and the amazing people running it. Her team even took a course that specifically catered to the Back At It team to learn about pronouns, trauma care, and consent so they can better care for clients! 

In the past 17 years of business, Vanessa has learned many valuable lessons! 

The most important, in her opinion, is not to sweat the small stuff and to constantly keep learning and adapting. As long as you stay focused on your mission, the distractions that are bound to pop up along the way will only be minor in the pursuit of your end goal. 

Operating a small business in the Bow Valley doesn’t come without its own challenges, however. 

There are lots of obstacles to living in the Bow Valley, affordability being one that directly affects Vanessa when she sees her team members being forced to move away due to the incredibly high cost of living in the Bow Valley. She’s dedicated to investing in the success of her team and eager to find a way to work with the town so that she and other small business owners don’t have to struggle with this issue every year. 

Ultimately, Vanessa is endlessly grateful for the amazing support and loyalty of her local clients. 

She loves being a part of the Bow Valley community and seeing clients leave the clinic feeling better than when they came in. Vanessa is keen to continue being an active part of our community by volunteering with different organizations and encouraging her team to help others in the community whenever they can. She’d also love to see people take the time to say thank you and express gratitude for work well done more often, as it seems that we’re in a pattern of being quick to voice our dissatisfaction instead of our appreciation. 

So whether you catch Vanessa and the Back At It team around time, or you’re ready for your next massage, make sure to check out Back At It Sports & Wellness with two locations in Canmore and one in Banff. And don’t forget to stay up to date with them on Instagram and Facebook

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