Our Founder

Ruth Stricker, founder, owner and executive director of The Marsh, is a pioneer in the integrative approach to health and wellness nationally and internationally. In 1985, she founded The Marsh, A Center for Balance and Fitness, in Minnetonka.Ruth Stricker

The Marsh opened with an acupuncturist and cardiologist side by side, blending allopathic and alternative disciplines. A comprehensive center, The Marsh includes a medically-based fitness center, lap swimming and warm water therapy pools, group exercise and Pilates studios, a full-service spa, an award-winning restaurant, a designer boutique, six overnight guest rooms, and several unique meditative spaces. The center’s art, architecture and programs reflect Stricker’s study and appreciation of Chinese culture. Its now popular lecture series features guest speakers from around the world who reflect her varied interests and passions, especially in engaging community members in conversation about their own health and wellbeing.

A Macalester College graduate, Ruth’s unique educational studies culminated in a double major in physical education and religious studies which provided her with a solid foundation for the continuance of her life work at The Marsh and her dedication to community leadership.  She began her career as a Health Education and Camp Director, experiencing youthful perspectives in creating life experiences.  She then began her journey as an entrepreneur and pioneer leader introducing her studies of mind/body interactions associated with exercise and cognitive components.  Under her leadership, class participants found so much more than physical experiences with her charismatic energy and sharing of her many life lessons.  During this time Ruth was diagnosed with Lupus which evolved into a lifelong process of helping others.  It transformed her leadership into empowerment with a message that she was a well person in a diseased body.  This blending of exercise with mindful practice and a cognitive component was acknowledged by area medical professionals who began recommending her classes to their patients for a balanced approach to living with illness.

Ruth’s extensive travels include the People’s Republic of China, where she studied the healing arts of that culture, and the former U.S.S.R., where she was asked by the Ministry of Health to advise and teach.

A passionate entrepreneur and community leader, Ruth’s many community contributions include sponsorship of an annual Mind-Body lecture at the University of Minnesota (begun in 1991). She is a Trustee for Macalester College, where the student center is named in honor of her life’s work and is the first and only woman to serve on the Global Governing Board of the Caux Round Table.  In addition, Ruth serves as a member of the International Spa Association (ISPA) Foundation Board.  ISPA represents more than 3,000 health and wellness facilities and providers in 75 countries.

Ruth has been the recipient of many national honors, including the IDEA Association for Fitness Professionals’ Chris MacIntyre Award presented by SHAPE magazine and the ISPA’s 2004 Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award. Also, The President’s Council on Physical Fitness has named Ruth a Healthy American Fitness Leader.

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