Sat, Jul 04, 2015



The Balance Institute


WE MOVED!!!!!!!

In order to better serve our fabulous clients, and our community, we grew into a new space and expanding our services!

Since Monday, November 25, 2013, we have been located at 1905 Sunset Blvd. (Hwy 378) in West Columbia.

The new location is 2 miles from the Gervais Street Bridge and 1 mile from I-26/Lexington Medical Center. It is near the entrance to the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens and next door to The State Farm Insurance Agency of Liz Portee. The building is formerly the home of the South Carolina Massage and Esthetics Institute. Our new building neighbors are Merry Maids and the Law Offices of R. F. Johnson Jr.

We look forward to seeing you there!


FrontBldg 4


Who We Are

The Balance Institute is a massage therapy and personal training center that has been helping to restore health since 2001. While not a traditional gym or spa, clients are attracted to The Balance Institute for the one-on-one approach and friendly atmosphere they enjoy while heightening their level of health through our Personal Training and Massage/Bodywork Therapies. Our uniquely designed Center allows us to work with many clients each day without loosing that individual approach. 

From the Founder

"FaciltyPhoto-v02-WebIn my 25 year career in healthcare, 90% of the people I've treated with exercise and/or massage therapy didn't care about running a marathon or having a sculpted body. They didn't want sore muscles and didn't want to be yelled at. They were just regular people who simply allowed busy years to pass without much body maintenence. 

 Once they felt the need to change they found themselves uncomfortable in traditional gym or spa settings. Medical conditions also caused many to seek trainers and therapists with advanced education and experience. It is our pleasure to offer to the greater Columbia, SC public,  The Balance Institute."  founder & co-owner, Jan Shaw, M.S., L.M.T.

It's Easy to Get Started

Give us a call to talk about how we can help you. Caruse through our web site to learn more about us.

You can schedule appointments, yourself, with our on-line booking system from several of our web pages. Just look for the "Book Now" button, click, and schedule.

Or, click this link to go directly to our scheduling system.

Let Us Hear From You

If ever you have suggestions as to how we can better serve you, we welcome your ideas and feedback. Call, write, or come by for an appointment and a talk.

And, as always, we thank you, with all that we are, for our first ten years in business. We look forward to the next ten as we grow to serve you even better!


Together we can change your life...
One massage, one exercise at a time!

Some Things We're Good At:

Plantar Fasciitis - using Myofascial Release Therapy, we've seen significant improvements in symptoms from Plantar Fasciitis within 2-4 treatments.

"Knots" in the shoulders - using Neuromuscular Therapy, we've relieved painful shoulder/neck "knots", and resulting headaches, within 1-5 treatments in acute cases.

Give us a call to see how we can help you.


The Balance Institute Pledge

To assist you in maintaining or restoring your optimal state of physiological functioning and to improve your overall quality of life.

Quips & Quotes

My goals were to get motivated

My goals were to get motivated to start running again and work on my shoulder that was dislocated a few years ago. I've only been training with Jan a month but am already running several times a week on my own, and we're working on the shoulder with exercises I never thought of. Thank goodness she did the testing at the start of my program. It proved how high my blood pressure can get when I don't take my medicine regularly!


Impressive Knowledge

"I was truly impressed with how knowledgeable my massage therapist, Liana, was. She provided answers to an ongoing issue that my doctors have not been able to explain. I look forward to my next visit!"


Liana Helps with Pregnancy

“I signed up with Liana because I wanted to build muscle and stay in shape while staying safe for my baby. She's great to work with, and focuses on keeping me safe and hydrated while working on exercises that will help me (1) avoid strain or injury from the weight of the baby during later pregnancy, (2) hopefully have an easier delivery, and (3) get back into shape after delivery.”



Begin with a Swedish Massage

If you are a first-time client of massage/bodywork therapy, we suggest you begin with Swedish massage to experience the relaxing and safe benefits of massage treatment.  Swedish massage can lower blood pressure, improve blood and lymph flow, improve skin tone and appearance and—in our Center—has even caused weight loss.

I had a terrible ankle break

I intended to go to The Balance Institute temporarily for just a couple of months after finishing my rehab for a badly broken ankle. I was looking for a trainer with credentials, experience, and a little older. I'm long past my planned two months and am amazed at what I can do with this ankle!  --AK

Getting Started- Exercise

How much exercise is enough for you to get and stay healthy? This varies by person. Start by checking with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to exercise. Then choose an activity that you like. Move intensely enough to get winded but still be able to carry on a conversation. Do this for 20 - 30 minutes most days of the week. Or, do this for ten minutes several times a day, most days of the week. This is a good and easy start to good health.

Getting Started- Your Weight

If you're starting a weight loss effort, do it sensibly. Increase your activity by 20% over what you're currently doing, and eat only the amount of food at each meal that you could fit in your cupped hands.

Good people

The staff don't boast themselves. They provide great treatments and that speaks for itself. They're professional orgainization members, board members, and community activists. You won't hear them cuss, gossip, or put anybody down. I'm comfortable here. --JS

Liana is Amazing!

“Liana was amazing! As a hair stylist I experience a great amount of upper body pain, she really worked my muscles and gave me relief. I can now lift my arms with no tears I would recommend her to anyone. I will definitely be back to maintain therapy.”

A. B.


A myofascial release therapy is...

Myofascial release therapy is a slow stretching of the body's most proliforative tissue. It works great for chronic pain and problems moving. When you can't get enough stretch by stretching your muscles, try myofascial release therapy. It also treats plantar fasciitis without exercise or lasers.

Chronic back pain gone with myofascial release therapy

My back ached all the time. I have ankylosing spondolosis so I don't move well. Jan used the myofascial release therapy on my back. It took a while of sessions but I can feel warmth in my back again, that constant achiness is gone, I can move much better, and it's lasting. I recently travelled out of the country and never felt the first back ache.  -TO

The Balance Institute keeps you motivated

I was 62, diabetic, overweight, and with high blood pressure. As a former coach, myself, I wasn't sure I could find a trainer I was comfortable with and accepting of where I was. Jan understood my situation, was respectful and compassionate.  I've lowered my blood pressure, insuline dependence, and weight, and I'm sticking with it!    -LH

Loosing Power

"The less capable the body, the more narrow the world." Jan Shaw

You Need Downtime

Massage/bodywork therapies give you much needed "down-time", an opportunity to re-connect with yourself, who you are, where you've been, and where you're going.

Therapy for Painful Conditions

Try massage/bodywork therapy for painful conditions such as shoulder tension, neck tension, muscle aches, joint tightness, back pain, knee pain, and foot pain.

From 1 mph to hiking overseas

I'm a middle-aged woman and not athletic. A lot of trainers cater to younger and more able clients and roll their eyes when someone like me pops through the door. Not Jan. I can honestly say that I never dread going to my workouts. I started on the treadmill at 1 mph. In under six months she had me in shape to take a long-planned hiking trip overseas.--AK

It's part of my health plan

I consider my regular massage a significant part of my health plan. --JD

Health Issues: Muscle-Bound

Is it healthy to be muscle-bound? Not really. Muscle-bound people tend to have thick hearts, get short of breath with endurance activities, and have problems with range of motion in their joints. Overall health is better with a healthy balance of aerobic or cardiovascular activity and moderate strength training that works all muscle parts and allows the body to be flexible.

Getting Started- Keep Going

So what if you fall off the wagon? If you forgot to brush your teeth yesterday, would you think you're a terrible person and never brush again? No! If you get off of your healthy routine, just get right back on it. Success is the culmination of repeated small successes.

Health Issues: Weights or Cardio?

Which is better? Heavy weights or cardiovascular workouts? From my trainer's perspective, I would choose cardio. Both heavy weights and cardio workouts cut fat, lower blood pressure and improve blood work; but heavy weights usually require close attention to protein intake, supplements and lots of time in the gym. In addition, heavy weights create thick hearts that are unhealthy and pump small amounts of blood per heartbeat. Cardio workouts produce more overall benefits and can be done anywhere. They build healthy and strong hearts that expand and pump more blood with each heartbeat.

Jan works with couch potatoes

"Jan Shaw, the personal trainer, is phenomenal at working with "couch potatos" like me who want to be more active, and people with just about any physical problems. She's wonderfully motivational without being at all like a drill sargeant..." BD.