Art therapy business marks first year – The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Former teacher continues her passions


Published 1:52 pm, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Art Healing Life Wellness Center is celebrating one year in Glen Carbon. Ann Michalski is one of the three main practitioners at the business. 

Michalski was an art teacher in O’Fallon before opening the center. “Because of Illinois budget cuts, jobs were being eliminated, and other art jobs are hard to find,” she said. Michalski also did massage. “I thought, ‘how can I incorporate both things I do?’” 

Michalski decided to open a wellness center that would offer massage as well as offer art classes. Since she lives in Glen Carbon, she looked for a place there. She found one on Main Street, where she rents the front of the building. 

Two other practitioners also work at the center. “Molly Green is an art therapist. Kayci Lueker is a massage therapist. I do massage, reiki, and chakra cleaning, and we all also teach art classes,” she said. “These are our three core team members. We run on a cooperative business type model. We combine group efforts.” 

The center also brings in other people for different classes. For example, they sometimes have someone in to offer nutrition classes. “They may have their own business, but not a brick and mortar place,” she said. 

The core group usually works individually, but they refer clients to each other, and sometimes work together. She said she has referred clients to art therapy, and Green, the counselor and art therapist, has referred clients for massage.

The center offers several types of massage, including stone massage and deep tissue massage. Michalski also offers reiki and chakra cleansing. “Chakras can hold emotional memories or hurt feelings,” she said.

“Reiki is a non-invasive therapeutic touching,” she said. “It decreases anxiety and stress levels. Massage is more hands-on. Reiki is more emotional. Kayci and I are reiki masters with extensive training.” 

Green offers art therapy. “She works with kids to adults. She is a licensed counselor.” 

The center also offers art classes. “People can have parties. They come up with what they want to paint.” The classes are not designed to be therapeutic, just as a fun way to learn about art with friends. The center also displays and sells art from local artists.

Michalski said she faced some challenges along the way. “We used to have more product than we have now,” she said. “Now, we’re committed to people that are active in this area. We have fewer artists, but they’re local.” 

Michalski is working to get Complementary Alternative Modalities (CAM) more accepted. “We want to get reiki into hospitals,” she said. “It’s common in some other states.” She recently gave a seminar on reiki to employees in the pediatric unit of DePaul Hospital.

“People say they feel lighter after reiki,” she said. “They’re not weighted down and they’re very relaxed.” 

The center also volunteers in various ways in the community. “Right now, we’re doing journey bags,” Michalski said. “We’re collecting items for kids going into foster care.” Michalski is part of the G.LE.N. Committee and helps with landscaping. 

The center is holding a blood drive with the American Red Cross on Friday, June 2, from 2 to 6 p.m. 

Michalski said her clients are usually “people who want to work on themselves, people who know the benefits of alternative therapies. Some people come for the art first, then go to massage. We deal with the inside and outside.”

Michalski hopes to continue to grow. “We’d like more people to come in to take advantage of all we offer.” 

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