116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Melissa White is on a mission to help workers prevent injuries, and heal them properly when they do happen.
She owns Balanced Fitness and Health, which she has grown into two occupational therapy clinic locations — one in southwest Cedar Rapids and one in Hiawatha — where she and her team — a group 10 other therapists — treat patients with a variety of injuries.
Their focus is on workers’ compensation injuries and prevention. She and her team also go on site to businesses to work directly with employees, sometimes starting with their days in training.
“We are partnering with local companies in the Corridor, a lot of the manufacturing companies, construction groups and schools, and we're coming in and providing a great broad injury-prevention program,” White said.
“We want to prevent injuries before they happen in the workforce.”
Part of why White is good at her work is that she builds her business from personal experience with injury. In her early 20s, White was in a car accident in which she was ejected from the vehicle and had to spend a good deal of time in critical care and therapy to recover.
“I kept fighting and I decided not to give up but to look at life differently,” she recalled.
The business is especially timely, White said, as she’s noticing a shift in working culture brought on by the pandemic that has companies more interested in investing in their employees’ health and wellness.
“The hybrid model is that you have to take care of your people, your employees that you have,” White said. "It isn’t just a 9-to-5 hustle, or first, second and third shift. Companies want to know how their employees are feeling, if they are happy and satisfied with their jobs.
“We go on site and provide triage if people are having aches and pains — if they overdid it over the weekend and they go to work on Monday and they don’t feel well,” she added. “They might not report an injury but they aren’t going to be working as best as they go and that hurts productivity.
“If they know someone from Balanced Fitness and Health is coming in that day, they can set up a time to see us for 15 minutes right there at their work. We will talk and work with them and give them some stretches they may need to do.”
White said she believes “we're coming into a new world where we are taking care of people at work and looking at prevention, not just looking at injuries that have occurred.”
Founder and CEO: Melissa White
Addresses: 855 Wright Brothers Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids, and 2200 Heritage Green Dr., Hiawatha
Phone: (319) 693-7745
White said they also offer presentations on ergonomic and do new-hire trainings so new staff know how to lift properly. They help companies create stretching programs and requirements or work on different approaches for body wellness for unique roles — say, a worker who has to operate a forklift.
She’s even developed a training that is part of the apprenticeship program for the local ironworkers union.
The Balanced Fitness staff can adjust their approaches so they could be working on site, such as at Worley Warehousing in Cedar Rapids, for example, where employees were working on the lines during the pandemic.
White noted that workers can be more likely to get injured or in pain when stressed.
White had been employed as an occupational therapist, and has a degree in psychology, before opening Balanced Fitness in 2015.
“I worked in the traditional health care setting, but I did not like the model of getting people in and out the door,” she said. “I don’t like looking at the injury without looking at the whole person.
“The problem is sometimes there's other things going on that are affecting a person’s ability to heal, including their mental health.”
White said that, “Therapy looks different for everyone, and when it comes to workers’ comp injuries, you usually need to have a little bit more privacy. We try to make it more holistic care."
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