COLTS NECK – Although Heather Lawrence makes a living offering comfort through her massage business, The Detox Box in Colts Neck, her journey to where she is now was anything but relaxing.
“I grew up being sheltered from the rest of the world in a very small village in Great Britain” Lawrence said. “As children, we were all bundled together in one school that was very basic and, as we grew up in that same environment, there was little opportunity to excel and make a good life for yourself. At one point, I was given a chance to work an office job, but I felt that I had something in me that inspired me to be better than that and I chose to follow my dreams instead.”
After her parents divorced in 1970, her father moved to the United States in the early 1970s. When she turned 21, her mother told her to spend some time with her father, so Lawrence did just that and moved to the United States in 1986 as well.
“He was living on Long Island at that time,” Lawrence said. “I remember being on the plane flying over New York City and knowing that I wanted to stay there and make a life for myself. I just had this feeling that I would be successful and do good things.”
‘Something that was meant to be’
Good Life Organic Kitchen:Red Bank restaurant takes off with ‘superfoods’
Her arrival here would prove fortuitous.
“I was struggling with some mental-health issues at that time in my life,” Lawrence said. “At one point, I won a mental health scholarship to come to New York City, which paid for me to go to school and attend a vocational program for massage therapy. What I considered my greatest challenge in life, turned out to be my greatest victory in the end. It was something that was meant to be for me.”
Lawrence attended the Swedish Institute of Health Sciences for 12 months and enjoyed her time there. She realized massage therapy might be her calling.
“I took help wherever I could get it,” Lawrence said. “When I graduated from that school, I started doing massages for finance companies in the city. I would go to Lehman Brothers and Smith & Barney and I would give them chair massages to these guys while they were on the phone doing business. I felt like it was the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ for the most part.”
Feeling good: Spa Tonics in Long Branch revs up by helping customers calm down
Lawrence kept working in the city to build her clientele. “These Wall Street workers were very appreciative to have someone like me to be on call during their workday, even if it was for just a short amount of time. I took a lot of pride in that first brush of success and I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I felt like I served a purpose and did an honest day’s work for these clients that had a hectic lifestyle.”
After Lawrence graduated from her Wall Street days, she started working with pro athletes, including a handful of players for the New York Giants.
“It was amazing and it was a lot of hard work,” Lawrence said. “I remember these guys were so big and muscular that they were hanging on the massage table. I don’t know where I got the strength to get through that, but I did and I was proud of my accomplishments.”
‘I aim to heal people’
In 2000, Lawrence met her future husband, got married and moved to the suburbs in New Jersey.
“I was still working in the city,” Lawrence said. “After the September 11th attacks in 2001, I stopped commuting there. Things had changed so much that I didn’t want to spend so much time there anymore. I decided to change my work location to New Jersey and I started to work for a couple of places locally doing massages there, but the entrepreneur in me wanted to something for myself.”
Brielle:How Jersey Shore’s Bask Hot Yoga promises to cool your nerves
Lawrence started The Detox Box and worked in Matawan for a while.
“I had a lot of great experiences there and I really enjoyed working for myself for the first time, doing what I loved,” Lawrence said. “Unfortunately, the shopping center closed after a while and everyone got evicted from their storefronts. Luckily for me, I had a lot of contacts in the healing world and I found another location to keep running my business in Colts Neck since 2020.”
Lawrence performs Swedish deep tissue massages mainly, but does other related services as well.
“That’s what I’ve always been known for,” Lawrence said. “I also got in the infrared light therapy about 10 years ago and I’ve been incorporating that into my work for some time now. I know that it’s safe and effective and can help people in so many different ways. I feel that I have very strong hands and I go farther than just giving a massage. I aim to heal people.”
The Detox Box
Owner: Heather Lawrence
Location: 420 Route 34, Colts Neck
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays