It all started when Eileen Bristol saw a "for sale" sign on the corner building at Huron and 1st that had housed Fine Flowers. Eileen had always admired the building (originally The Hunter Brothers Gas Station, built in 1926), and recognized it isn't often that you have an opportunity to give such an historic structure new life.


A massage therapist herself, Eileen was familiar with New York City's "walk-in" massage centers and felt that such a concept was perfect for Ann Arbor. Having experienced neck and back problems over the years, she loved the idea that if you wake up with a stiff neck, you can get help that morning instead of leaving a phone message with your therapist and waiting for a call back to book an appointment, perhaps two days later. Massage when you need it, affordable, convenient and effective - that is the mission of RelaxStation.

With the help and advice of friends, a name was chosen, a logo designed, the flower garden planted and a team of qualified therapists hired. The interior walls and ceiling were painted using a technique called lazure, with layered washes of color, and furnishings were chosen that reflected the values of the business.

On May 5, 2002 RelaxStation opened its doors. Initially, the "drive through" portico was used for massage during the warmer months. During the winter, up to five clients were massaged indoors on massage chairs or in recliners for foot massage. A musician in addition to therapist (electric bass), Eileen was committed to avoiding the stereotyped "new age massage music." Instead, an eclectic mix of traditional music from around the world, reggae, jazz and classical was provided.

Care was given to create a relaxed atmosphere that welcomed everyone, from all walks of life. As a result, over the years many "first-timers" have walked through the door and made massage therapy a regular and important part of their lives. People have expressed, over and over, how surprised they were that here they were on a busy corner and yet it all "melted away" once the massage started!

Soon after opening, clients began to request traditional "full-body" massages on tables, and they were booked after hours. As this developed, a second space was rented to accommodate the growing number of requests for full-body massage. Onsite visits to businesses and university groups took chair massage where it was requested. RelaxStation quickly became synonymous with massage in Ann Arbor.


The colorful flower garden, cared for organically and with bio-dynamic principles (as developed by Rudolf Steiner), is an Ann Arbor landmark, bringing joy to people driving or walking by, and clients have the option of choosing an outdoor massage during warm months. Every summer, a gathering with music and food is held in the parking lot, open to the public. In 2008, with attention to maintaining the historic design, the building was expanded. The portico was enclosed so that the entire roofed area could be used year-round.

In 2011, Eileen (a native of Texas) moved back to Austin, where she opened a live music venue, Sahara Lounge ( with her husband and son. She remains involved on a daily basis with RelaxStation's general manager Allen Holsey and makes regular trips up to Ann Arbor.

Open 7 days a week, RelaxStation continues to serve its mission of providing excellent massage therapy that is affordable and convenient. We have no minimum - you can do a 10-minute de-stresser or a 2-hour massage. While the "walk-in" concept remains popular, more and more clients call ahead and reserve a time for a 30- or 45-minute massage.

We honor the needs and wishes of each individual. We see massage as an integral part of healthy living, and keep it affordable and convenient so that you can take care of yourself and live your life more fully. Come by and try us out!