By Kevin Collison
Heath Wessling didn’t exactly take the path you’d predict for someone who considers his Kansas City Wellness Club the center for New Age healing in downtown.
A native of rural Iowa, Wessling was all business when Cerner, the giant healthcare tech firm, hired him in 2001 to work in management information systems after graduating from the University of Iowa.
But when Cerner sent him to London in 2003 to help grow its business in the United Kingdom, Wessling had his mind and body opened in that global city.
“You meet people from all over the world on a daily basis and understand, not matter what your background is, how many similarities we share,” he said. “I really saw the beauty of the world.”
But he was concerned about his bad posture, so he went to a London health club for treatment.
The staff there opened him up to alternative healing and wellness methods and one book in particular seized his imagination, “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” by Paul Chek.
“It looked at all aspects of your lifestyle and spoke about today’s environment,” Wessling said.
When Cerner brought him back to Kansas City in 2007, Wessling had the opportunity to become the project manager for a new employee wellness program.
It proved to be the runway leading to his decision to leave the firm in 2019 and establish what he calls a “network of New Age sustainability.”
He opened the Kansas City Wellness Club last January on the ground level of the historic building at 918 Baltimore Ave. now known as the Kansas City Club.
In fact, Wessling took over space vacated by a previous health club tenant that include both a dry and steam sauna.
The 3,000 square-foot space offers a suite of services from a natural hair salon to life coaching, massages, virtual meditation and Reiki.
Entering off Baltimore, the KC Wellness Club lounge is a peaceful retreat of natural light, house plants, a gently running fountain and a wellness bar where you can grab a smoothie or fruit drink, although its temporarily closed because of Covid.
As you move down the hallway, there are series of eight rooms, each of which offers a unique wellness service including the salon, chiropractic and naturopath healing, life coaching, virtual meditation, the energy healing Reiki space, facials and massages.
There’s also separate men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers, the saunas and a 1,000 square-foot fitness studio with more traditional exercise equipment. Larger fitness classes can use ballroom space upstairs in the KC Club.
The Wellness Club employs 15 employees.
“We have incredible synergy and chemistry between the folks working in this space,” Wessling said. “They all believe in the mission and want to serve the community in authentic ways.”
Most of the club’s clientele are people who live or work downtown although there are many who come from around the metro and region, he said.
“We attract a lot of people at a crossroads in their life,” Wessling said.
“They’ve gone through a divorce, had a child, lost a parent, and they feel they’re not being treated fairly or respected. They’re seeking out a place that’s authentic.”
The reception after its first year, even with much of it consumed by the pandemic, has been heartening. The KC Wellness Club was chosen as best day spa this year in The Pitch annual Best of Kansas City readers survey, he said.
“For us to to that our first full year and during a pandemic year means we’re on to something,” Wessling said.
The Wellness Club offers discounts and other perks to members, but also accepts walk-ins. Hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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