History of Body First

From single massage practitioner to wellness center

1997-Body First was founded by Douglas

Doug moved to Manhattan in 1997 to start Body First

After moving to Manhattan, KS from Athens Georgia, Douglas Sellers begins working in Manhattan as a massage therapist. Within one year Doug founded Body First and Laura Ebert joined the Body First staff. Doug and Laura offered a wide range services including massage therapy, sports massage, pregnancy massage, spa services and more....

1999-Body First expands to a full scale massage therapy clinic

Body First ad in UFM catalog circa 1999

By 1999 the demand for Body First massage had exceeded expectations and they outgrew their location.   Body First moved from 2316 Anderson to across the paring lot to 2308 Anderson and brought additional therapists onto their staff. To ensure the highest standard of care, Body First established their minimum standards of education, training, and experience for the massage staff. In addition each therapist agrees to adhere to a Code of Ethics. To this day Body First requires a high level of excellence from their staff. .

1999-Body First adds Salon Services

Salon Services at Body First were offered from 1999-2013

Body First added a private salon. This concepts allows the clientele to experience the calm of a relaxing quiet retreat and receive expert salon services. (Body First discontinued offering salon services in 2013 as it began to focus primarily on wellness.)

2000-Body First recognized as premier Sports Massage provider.

Body First Sports Massage

Since its inception Body First had been a respected provider of Sports Massage. By 2000 the reputation of the Body First Sports Massage program had spread. Body First sports clientele have included:

Olympians-over 20 from over half a dozen countries
Collegiate athletes-We have worked with over a dozen different collegiate sports teams. NCAA national champions and record holders, Big 12 champions, and other collegiate athletes have benefitted from Body First
Professional Athletes-Professional Track and Field, NFL, NBA, WNBA, athletes; and more
High School Athletes
Runners-Ultra marathoners, marathoners, sprinters, to the casual jogger
and more...

2001-Body First has largest, highly trained massage therapy staff in Manhattan

Body First Logo circa 2001

By 2001 Body First has the largest massage therapy staff in Manhattan. In addition to have a large number of massage therapist on staff each therapist possess a high level of training, continue to increase their base of knowledge, and adhere to the highest standard of professional ethics.

2002-Conni Briggs becomes full-time partner


Body First begins sponsoring athletes in particular runners. Body First athletes have gone onto set set Marathon records, win utlra-marathons, and even compete in the Olympics.

2007-Stephen Parish becomes partner

Body First Partners, Stephen and Doug

After joining the Body First staff in 2006 Stephen is invited to join Doug and Conni and become partner in Body First.

2008-Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture comes to Body First

Dr. Kenyon Erickson

In January 2008 Dr. Kenyon Erickson joined the Body First staff. Dr. Erickson is the founder of Erickson Family Chiropractic and has been practice Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Manhattan since 2000. Dr. Erickson believes that each person deserves individualized care. His goal is for everyone to reach their optimal health. Dr Erickson works with you to tailor your treatment to your unique needs. By spending time with each patient he as able to address individual concerns and provide customized chiropractic care and acupuncture specific to the individual.

2009-Body First becomes Body First Wellness Center

Doug and Steve give a thumbs up to Body First Wellness

In 2009 Body First changes its name from Body First to Body First Wellness Center to reflect its focus on the wellness of the whole body. Doug and Steve both gave the ideas two thumbs up! Double good job!


2008 Body First Sports Massage blossoms.

Body First Sports Massage programs expands and becomes an integral part of the local athletics programs

Body First Sports Massage Manhattan Matters.jpg


2010-Body First purchases Cottonwood Racquet Club


In August of 2010 Body First purchased Cottonwood Racquet Club at 3615 Claflin Rd. The purchase will allow Body First Wellness to expand its wellness abilities.

March 2013-Wicked Marathon Inaugural Year

2013 Wicked MarathonBody First presents the Wicked Marathon in Wamego, KS. The course finishes and in front of the Wizard of Oz museum. By 2017 Body First has added a half marathon and 5k race to the event.

October 2013-Body First moves all operations to Clalfin Location

Completed Wellness Addition

in the fall of 2013 construction on the Wellness Addition at 3615 Claflin Road was completed and Body First moved all their massage therapy services to the new location. Dr. Erickson also continued his partnership with Body First and moved his offices to the claflin address


April 2017

Body First celebrates 20 years

Body First celebrates 20 years

Fall 2017

fit MHK

Body First kicks off fitMHK(c)

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