Massage therapy: More than just a back rub

Massage therapy: More than just a back rub Lois Hazen opened Massage for Health in 1992 in Vermillion. by M. Jill Sundstrom When Lois Hazen suffered from migraine headaches 20 years ago, she sought relief in a variety of ways, but only one really helped?massage therapy.

That�s why she�s in the business today.

�It helped me tremendously,� Hazen said. �I knew then that�s what I wanted to do.�

Hazen and her husband John live in Volin. She worked for a number of years at The University of South Dakota, but as her kids ? James, 16, Jessica, 17, and Justin, 19 ? got older, she decided it was time for a career change.

After graduating from the School of Massage Theory and Practice in Mitchell in June of 1992, Hazen was ready to start her own massage therapy business, Massage for Health, in Vermillion.

�I started half-time, but my clientele grew so rapidly, after nine months, I went full-time,� she said.

Hazen�s 1,100-hour training included the study of anatomy and physiology, hands-on massage techniques, hydro therapy and the philosophy of massage. Since 1992, she has also continued her education, attending extended workshops and taking correspondence courses. It�s all in the effort to do more for her clients.

�Massage therapy makes people feel good,� said Hazen, who is also serving her second term as president of the South Dakota chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association. �It has been proven that therapy helps relieve stress, provides health benefits and can be an important factor in maintaining wellness.�

Hazen, who is nationally certified in massage and body work, added that research indicates that massage therapy reduces heart rate and blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles and improves range of motion.

�Few things offer such a wide range of benefits,� Hazen said. �Therapeutic massage is a great way to help your body deal with daily stress and also fosters good health.

�A one-hour full body massage is equivalent to eight hours of sleep,� she continued. �Who wouldn�t feel better after getting some extra sleep?�

The benefits of massage therapy are both short-term ? right after the massage ? and long-term, Hazen emphasized.

�The results are cumulative,� she said. �With each massage, the better you feel.�

Hazen�s practice has also extended into teaching. She now conducts seminars for face lift massage.

�It�s a workout for the face,� she said. �After 12 sessions it�s equivalent to a surgical face lift, but with a softer look.�

Hazen has done seminars in Vermillion, Georgia and at the national AMTA convention this year in Washington, D.C. She will travel to New York in January and plans future workshops in Denver and Texas.

�My work is a constant growth cycle,� Hazen said. �I want to expand my own knowledge, then share it with others.�

With that idea in mind, Hazen is now enrolled in the Herbal Healer Academy in Arkansas to learn more about a natural, conservative route toward good health.

�There is no limit to what I can learn,� she said.

In addition to face lift massages, Hazen�s practice includes structural energetic therapy and myofascial release, two types of deep tissue massage, cranial-sacral therapy, a gentle, yet deep massage, sports massage, and emotional release therapy, a breathing technique. She often combines these techniques into a basic treatment.

�It�s more than just a back rub,� Hazen said. �It�s true therapy for people with true problems. I love it. It�s an awesome profession because it�s beneficial to people. It touches their lives.�

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