Published: 2009-09-20 13:51:56
Author: Debra Moore | redding.com | August 27, 2009
Margaret Smith spends her days giving massages and teaching others how to give them at the New Life Institute of Massage in Redding.
And during this tough economy more people are turning to massage therapists for help, Smith said.
She has seen an uptick in people who are stressed due to economic factors.
"There hasn't been an economic downtown for me," Smith said. "I have picked up people who are seeking relief from stress."
The certified massage therapist also maintains a private practice, Angel Touch Professional Massage and Bodywork.
Smith, 46, learned about the benefits of massage firsthand.
"In my 20s and early 30s I was in a lot of pain as a result of a car accident," Smith said. "When massage took that pain away, I said 'I need to go into this work.'"
She has devoted the ensuing years learning how to give different types of massage and has logged an estimated 800 hours in class.
"I use very advanced techniques; my specialty is bringing people out of dysfunction," she said.
When she meets a new client, Smith takes a health history and determines what type of massage would be most beneficial.
"Sometimes I feel like Nancy Drew," she said. "It's not just about rubbing muscles; we're trying to figure out why they are experiencing the pain."
Marcia McGetrick-West, a nationally certified massage therapist who owns In Balance Healthways of Redding, agrees.
"Someone may have neck and shoulder pain, but it can be emanating from somewhere else," she said.
McGetrick-West also takes a comprehensive health history and tries to isolate the cause of the pain.
Both Smith and McGetrick-West say that their approach to massage differs somewhat from a head-to-toe massage that someone may receive at a spa. Both say that they concentrate on the areas of the body that require focus.
"People often come in to interrupt a pain pattern," McGetrick-West said. "I focus on that area and related areas."
Smith said that many of her clients have been able to give up pain medications after massage treatments.
Sometimes clients receive a massage only a couple of times and find relief, while others receive a massage on a regular basis.