Healing Massage Relaxes, Reduces Pain

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A healing massage could be your ticket to relaxation and better health.

Massage therapist Diane Dodge offers a 20 percent discount for Senior Circle members, charging $35 for an hour session and $25 for a half-hour session.

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Massage Therapist Diane Dodge applies strategic pressure to the shoulders and back of a client.

There are several reasons why it is important for senior citizens in particular to receive regular massages, said Dodge, who has been in the profession for 12 years.

"They don't have a high activity level," Dodge said. "With a massage, they get to have their muscles worked. I also do lymphatic drainage, which flushes out toxins."

Touch is another vital aspect, Dodge said.

"Many people living by themselves don't have touch contact, which is important even in infants," Dodge said. "They could get a brown bump on the back of their leg and not know. I also observe those types of things."

Dodge said she specializes in Swedish, trigger-point massage and reflexology. The latter technique, used in ancient Egypt, entails touching reference points on the hands and feet to treat different areas of the body.

For instance, a sunburn on someone's neck can be treated through a point on the big toe, Dodge said.

"Our bodies were designed to have adjustments made as we walked barefoot on rocks, but we don't use our feet like we did in the early days of man," Dodge said. "Wearing sandals is the best thing people can do for their neck."

Oil applied to the skin also prevents dryness and flaking, Dodge said.

Amy Petersen, a year-long client of Dodge's, said she receives hour-long reflexology sessions weekly to improve her health. She said she suffers from fibromyalgia, or chronic muscle pain and fatigue, along with peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve damage, in her feet and legs.

"Rather than putting pressure on sore muscles, Diane massages my feet in certain areas," said Peterson, 50. "She also does different pressure points on my forehead and cheeks for my sinus congestion."

Petersen said she takes less pain medication when she receives regular massages.

"Massages keeps my muscles loose and I don't need to take as many pills," Petersen said. "To me, that's a big plus."

Margrit Thomann, 85, said weekly massages help alleviate muscle pain and weakness in her legs and upper arms.

"I have arthritis and fibromyalgia, so sometimes my muscles and joints hurt," said Thomann, a Senior Circle member. "I feel so much better when Diane is finished with me."

Dodge also showed her exercises to practice at home to loosen her joints to relieve back and hip pain.

"I have a big yard and I carry water to all of the plants," Thomann said. "I like to be flexible."

Bertha Riggs, 83, said she has known Dodge for several years.

"She has a tender touch, both professionally and personally," Riggs said. "Her bubbling personality makes you feel better even before she starts to massage."

Several massages a month release the tension in her back and shoulders, said Riggs, secretary for the Mogollon Health Alliance and former president of the Payson Regional Medical Center Auxiliary.

"Diane makes you relax right away," Riggs said. "That takes the strained look from your face and you feel healthier and younger when you leave."

One time, Dodge spontaneously drove to Phoenix to visit Riggs while her husband was hospitalized with cancer, Riggs said.

"She said she knew I was uptight and gave me a massage. No charge," Riggs said. "She goes the extra mile."

To reach Diane Dodge, call (928) 970-1773.

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