The long-term benefits of regular massage therapy to promote overall health and well-being are widely recognized and accepted throughout the country and the world. But, the power of just one massage session can drastically improve a person’s physical limitations and mental disposition.
When Elizabeth Hendricks took the recommendation of a friend to try out the Elements Massage studio in her neighborhood, she was only expecting a relaxing experience to calm her mind and loosen her muscles. But, what she received was a life-changing experience that helped her regain feeling from the neuropathy in her fingers by the time the session ended.
“There wasn’t a day or a moment that went by that I didn’t think about my hands because they were in so much pain,” explains Elizabeth. “Even though you lose a lot of feeling with neuropathy, it’s very painful at the same time because everything you touch feels like shards of glass. In only my first session with Leah, the bad feeling went away and, amazingly, the good feeling and functionality came back.”
Elizabeth describes neuropathy as an alteration of your sense of touch. In the United States, the Neuropathy Association estimates that over 20 million people suffer from this condition. For Elizabeth, her neuropathy resulted as a side effect of the chemotherapy treatments she received after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Her neuropathy condition continued to worsen to the point that it affected her everyday life and her job. She wasn’t able to type on the computer or fasten the buttons on the children’s art smocks at the pre-school she works at without enduring severe pain.
“When Elizabeth first came in to see me, she couldn’t grip anything and could barely move her hands,” said Leah Kelly, massage therapist at Elements Nashua. “We took it gently at first with a focus on her hands and feet. She started regaining feeling as soon as the first session was over and she continues to keep getting better during each session.”
Leah uses a basic Swedish massage approach with Elizabeth that focuses on improving her muscle’s range of motion, as well as increasing circulation and blood flow. When she focuses on helping relieve Elizabeth’s hand pain, she starts under the shoulder blade area and works her way down the back muscles, upper arms, forearms and into the hands. She also works all of the little tendons in the hands by kneading the hand area like when you make bread, explains Elizabeth.
“Leah has miracles in her hands,” exclaims Elizabeth. “Everything she does has such a major impact on my neuropathy, the aches and the pains. She knows all the places where everything integrates and is so knowledgeable about the body’s muscles.”
Elizabeth found Leah’s massages so effective for her health and pain management that she initially committed to weekly massage therapy sessions. As the sessions have progressed, Leah has been able to expand out to giving Elizabeth full body massages, while still focusing attention to her hands and feet. By loosening the muscles in Elizabeth’s hands, she now is able to squeeze a ball and do all of the normal functions that her hands are supposed to be able to do. She has flexibility back in her hands like she’s never had before, as well as enjoys improved feeling and range of motion. She also has seen a change in her mood and attitude now that she isn’t plagued with constant pain.
“I’m a single mom on a tight budget, but I did massage every week in the beginning because that’s how important it was for me to go,” explains Elizabeth. “Massage not only feels so good, but I’ve got better functionality now and a better sense of well-being. My pain was lifted so my spirits were lifted too.”
If you’re a victim of chronic pain like Elizabeth was or you have constant pain that you think you just have to deal with, Leah and Elizabeth both advise that you seek out a professional massage therapist to help you manage your pain.
“You can either go through life not able to use your hands or whatever part of your body that’s affected by pain, or you can give massage a try,” suggests Leah. “It’s definitely worth a shot.”
“There’s nothing to be lost, but only to be gained, from giving your body what it needs,” advises Elizabeth.