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Couple Goes Massage-Only in Mission Viejo

Elements Therapeutic Massage opens in the Sprouts shopping center this week.

Johanna Rose was busy with a trial run Thursday of her new business, Elements massage spa.

Her husband Aaron was away on business. The couple's plan of eight months was finally falling into place.

"I’m pleasantly surprised," Johanna said. "Things are going remarkably well. Today’s our practice day, and tomorrow we open."

  • Where: Sprouts Center, 27695 Santa Margarita Pkwy., next to Einstein Bros Bagels

The Roses are among several entrepreneurs trying to cash in on a growing trend—making massages a regular luxury, rather than an occasional treat.

"The concept was taking what had typically been a very high-end, specialized treatment program to pamper yourself and make it a routine part of your regimen," she said.

Elements offers only massage.

"We don’t sell any other product," Rose said. "We don’t do facials or waxing. We just do therapeutic massage."

And the massages vary from the relax-after-an-agonizing-week variety, to therapy massages for post-pregnancy women and cancer patients.

The Irvine couple decided to launch a small business after their oldest daughter left for college.

It wasn't their first business together. Johanna's parents have been in business for 40 years selling sheets of facial tissue, toilet paper and paper towels. She liked the idea of working with her husband.

But 23 years ago while the couple were still dating in Boston, Aaron had no plans to share both bedroom and front office with his wife.

"I asked him when we were dating if we could ever work together. He said, 'No, you’re too bossy," Rose joked.

It was tough to find the right place, Rose said. Then finding the right employees was another challenge.

Receiving massage after massage from potential employees doesn't sound that bad. But "it’s extremely time consuming," she said.

"The fact is, you’ve got to have the right people," she said. "It’s important and frankly it was a lot more challenging than you’d think."

Rose is happy with the trial run Thursday.

"I heard comments like, 'That was awesome,' and 'That was the best massage I’ve ever had," she said. "When I hear things like that I know it’s totally worth it."

The couple plan to open two more locations in the Irvine-Tustin area.

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