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In the early 2000's, Michelle's interest in canine bodywork came easily when one of her dogs starting refusing jumps and was less excited about running. Over the next several months, massage was provided on a regular basis for her dog and Michelle learned how to be more proactive with bodywork and conditioning to avoid similar injuries in the future. Canine Sports Massage certification was 300 hours. The curriculum included anatomy, physiology, nutrition, gait analysis, conformation evaluation, massage techniques, biomechanics of performance dogs and post injury healing. Michelle is also a 2013 graduate of the Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute of Colorado as a Small Animal Acupressure Practitioner, completing a 330 learning unit program. By 2014 she was Minnesota's first nationally certified practitioner in both canine massage and acupressure!
Currently, her clients include canine athletes, post-surgical dogs, arthritic dogs and a few couch potatoes. Michelle's main office is in the Minneapolis west metro area where she offers initial consultations and whole body massages full time.
Optimal Animals is a holistic resource for animals and their people in western WI and the Twin Cities area of MN. Sarah N. Bertsch is certified in Small Animal Acupressure through the Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and through the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage with further study through the Animal Acupressure Training Academy. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, having studied with Chikara Reiki Do, The Meta Institute, The International Center for Reiki Training and The Animal Reiki Source. She is a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.
Sarah enjoys making house calls to meet and share acupressure & Reiki with animals large & small (and Reiki for people, too).
In addition to her work with Optimal Animals, Sarah transports injured raptors for The University of MN Raptor Center, maintains a music contracting business, performs as a professional violinist and teaches private music lessons.