The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

February 24, 2013

Healing hands

Different strokes help folks weather a variety of conditions



Last year, the National Institutes of Health cited evidence on what to centuries of massage practitioners is common knowledge — the healing effects of human touch.

The NIH reported observations from Dr. Tiffany Field, who leads the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, indicating massage relaxes the nervous system by slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress and pain hormones. More NIH-funded research has shown touch in the form of massage to be potentially beneficial in relieving symptoms of those suffering from low back pain, osteoarthritis and even cancer.

That’s no newsflash to longtime Beckley massage therapist Betty Fischer. She has practiced massage as a holistic method of complementary and alternative medicine spanning her career of 20 years. Short of the essential oils and products she uses to assist her skill, her kind of relief doesn’t come in a bottle.

After two decades of using her hands to facilitate healing, if there were one segment of the population in which Fischer has encountered obstacles, it has been with couples, lacking the ability to provide a simultaneous experience to those seeking it.

Fischer recently invited a partner who shares her passion for the benefits of massage, former Twistologie Studio owner Aimee Moore, who will expand the offerings of Fischer’s business, Essential Spa. Together, the pair now offers couples massage, along with an amalgamation of techniques, including Swedish, deep tissue and sports massage, Indian-style head massage and even prenatal and abdominal massage (to relieve menstrual cramping).

Couples massage is a practice growing in popularity in most major spas. For some men, reticent to go it alone, encouraging them to try massage alongside their spouse is the only way to reach them.

“Men do feel more confident to get massage when their wives bring them in,” verifies Moore.

The concept of unwinding together, two people being massaged in the same room by two different therapists is a tasteful and discreet, communal and peaceful alternative to dinner and a movie, and it also extends to friendships. “Girlfriends like to schedule massages together for a girls’ day out,” Fischer explains.

Reluctant though they may be, kudos to men for getting the most from their experience, once they make it through the door and onto the therapist’s table. “Men do relax faster than women do,” says Fischer. “He knows how to immediately change gears into relaxing. She is still thinking about everything that happened that day and what she’s left out there to do.”

Massage, whether experienced individually or with a spouse or friend, is an option to be tried for dealing with everything from daily stress to muscle pain and injury. In order for a therapist to understand how to properly relax a body, he or she has to build a professional relationship with a client over time.

“Building a relationship with one massage therapist is so important. You wouldn’t go to a new hairdresser every time you get your hair done. Scheduling regular massage, whether it’s every month or every week, helps us to get to know a client,” suggests Fischer. She learns her clients’ trouble spots like landmarks on a map, developing a clairvoyance of touch to read what each has experienced in regard to stress levels since their last visit.

Massage benefits can also be measured in the form of deep emotional releases for clients, the two therapists reveal. Without a word spoken, through the power of touch only, some clients will cry on the table, releasing pent-up emotions that surprise even them. “Sometimes they’re embarrassed at crying; most are actually very thankful and happy about having a personal breakthrough,” says Moore.

Fischer explains that massage therapy is more than an hour of a practiced delivery of a service — it’s a calling, and many entering the field don’t understand the compassion involved in the craft. “Massage allows people to connect to their true selves. They are experiencing a deep form of relaxation we work hard to create.”

The sum of such, a combination of touch, aromatherapy, relaxing music and environment, takes busy, beleaguered humans to a place they couldn’t otherwise reach on their own.

Text Only
Life!
  • momrun Just do it W.Va.!

    “Missy’s here — we’re not going to win. Missy’s here…”
    Learning she was a perceived threat from two women whispering at the starting line behind her, women she had never met from among the hopping, stretching, Lycra-clad crowd, had one effect on Missy Burleson — a smile spreading as far as her feet were about to sprint her.

    April 16, 2014 5 Photos

  • living will 1 Decision day

    Pastor Roger Pauley and his wife Marcia were — like so many other baby boomers — charged with the responsibility of making decisions for their aging parents. For the pastor’s father, death was sudden.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • BAF approves community grants

    Beckley Area Foundation Board of Directors has approved $160,737 to fund forty-four projects throughout Raleigh County between April 2014 and March 2015.

    April 13, 2014

  • Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg unveils upcoming events

    Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg has a variety of events planned for the spring and summer.

    April 13, 2014

  • Singer named an Outstanding Young American

    President Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley, Wayne Newton and General Chuck Yeager have one thing in common, they are all past recipients of the United States Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Americans award. For over 75 years, the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) has recognized the 10 young men and women – under the age of 40 – who best exemplify the highest attributes of the nation’s emerging generation. The U.S. Jaycees is pleased to name West Virginia’s own Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. to the 2014 Ten Outstanding Young Americans who will be honored at the 76th annual black-tie awards ceremony – to be held June 28, 2014, at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Baltimore, MD.

    April 13, 2014

  • alderson americorps Alderson Main Street welcomes its new Americorps member

    The members and friends of Alderson Main Street welcomed their new Americorps member, Lynda Howe, at its recent monthly meeting.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tractor pull event coming to State Fairgrounds in May

    The West Virginia Grand Nationals N.T.P.A. Championship pulling event debuts at the State Fair Event Center in Lewisburg Memorial Day weekend.

    April 13, 2014

  • Djembes Drumming workshop to be held

    The New River Community and Technical College Office of Workforce Education is sponsoring a Djembes Drumming workshop on Tuesdays for six weeks beginning April 29.

    April 13, 2014

  • Learn basic sewing at NRCTC

    The New River Community and Technical College Office of Workforce Education will offer a basic sewing class in Lewisburg in May.

    April 13, 2014

  • floral painting GVT to showcase work of Genevieve Sowards Gillen

    Greenbrier Valley Theatre is exhibiting the art and photography of Genevieve Sowards Gillen during April. Her pieces are on display in the theatre foyer: three pastel, four acrylic, and a number of photographs on stretch canvas.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video