November 20, 1997 in Washington Voices

Therapists Do Their Best To Rub You The Right Way

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Feeling a tight pain in the shoulders these days?

You know, the one that usually appears when typing on the computer, driving on pothole-infested roads or balancing the checkbook?

Well, the search for relief probably isn’t far away. Chances are there is a massage therapist not far from your home.

Of the 87 massage businesses and therapists listed in the Spokane Yellow Pages, close to half are located on Spokane’s North Side.

“You go where the people are,” said Debbie Hill, an employee at Inland Massage Institute.

The Inland Massage Institute is located on the North Side and office space up north is immediately available and affordable.

That, combined with fast-paced lifestyles and work-related stresses, have sent many people to seek the soothing hands of massage therapists.

Just as important was a state ruling two years ago which helped spur the growing massage industry. State law now requires health insurers to cover alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and massage therapy.

“Doctors are becoming more aware of massage therapy as an adjunct to their regular therapy.” Hill said. “It’s more mainstream.”

Michelle Johnson graduated from the massage institute in March. She now works with clients of the North Central Chiropractic Clinic.

Johnson administers treatment to patients before seeing the chiropractor.

“I notice that people feel a lot more comfortable with a massage therapist in a clinical setting,” Johnson said. “It’s like they view you as being more legitimate.”

Many of the clients she works with have been injured in car accidents.

Hill works as a secretary at the massage institute. She got her first professional massage there.

“I’m a total convert,” Hill said. “It’s a wonderful experience.”

In addition to providing treatment, the Inland Massage Institute at 1717 W. Francis graduates between 50 to 70 students a year from its one-year school.

Massage therapists were first listed as health-care providers in June of 1988 by the state. The educational requirements of the profession have been expanded to meet practice standards.

Each applicant for the state exams must successfully complete 500 hours of course study from an approved school. The Inland Massage Institute offers a curriculum of 650 hours.

Applicants must be 18 years old by the time their instruction begins. A high school diploma or GED is required.

Spokane also draws clients from the Moscow School of Massage Inc. in Idaho, which offers nine months of professional training while preparing its students for Washington State and national certificate exams.

Susan Woodbury started taking classes at the Inland Massage Institute in September after suffering an injury to her hip five months ago.

“The doctor recommended a cortisone shot and that scared the living daylights out of me,” Woodbury said. “I decided that alternative treatment would be better for me.”

Woodbury, who is 48, had her first professional massage five years ago when her two children gave her a massage gift certificate for Mother’s Day.

“I was apprehensive, but after going through it, I was a new person,” she said.

Woodbury wants to get her license in massage therapy so she can pass on what she is learning to the preventative medical field.

“It’s a great, big field that people can use to take care of themselves without taking a pill,” she said.

Another therapist attributed the growing popularity of the massage industry to a healthier society.

“More than ever, people are aware of their health,” said Constance Valandra. “They want to live longer and be happier, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that.”

Most clients tend to be bothered with lower- and upper-back pains due to heavy lifting or excessive sitting, Valandra said.

She urged anyone seeking a massage therapist to be picky about who they select.

“It’s just like looking for a primary physician. Do your homework and find one for you,” she said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story:

1. HERE IS A LIST OF SOME NORTH SPOKANE MASSAGE CLINICS

A Kneaded Touch, 3809 N. Monroe.

Advanced Wellness Clinic, 22 W. Central.

Audubon Massage Clinic, 1724 W. Carlisle.

Body Works Therapeutic Massage, 59 E. Queen.

Franklin Park Massage, 12 E. Rowan, Suite L4.

Inland Massage Institute, 1717 W. Francis.

Northwest Touch, 9227 N. Division.

Starlite Spa, 2829 N. Market.

Total Therapeutic Massage Clinic, 614 W. Garland.

Vital Massage Therapy, 11 E. Central, Suite D.

2. MAKING PEOPLE FEEL GOOD THE REAL REWARD

By Kevin Blocker Staff writer

‘Tis better to give than receive - even when it comes to massage. Or so says one local massage therapist.

“I usually give four to five massages a day,” said Constance Valandra, a massage therapist who worked for Les Avant-Garde on North Division before recently going to work for Allied Health Professionals on the South Hill.

“I’ve seen some therapists give six or seven a day, but that’s pushing it,” she said.

Valandra, who graduated from the Inland Massage Institute four months ago, said she was drawn to massage therapy after she got her first one several years ago.

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what I want to do.’ I used to work out the kinks in mom’s back as a little girl. Mom seemed to think I was a natural.”

Valandra said it’s important for a therapist to eat right, be in good shape and receive a fair share of massages.

“I once went six months without a massage, and I thought I was going to fall apart,” she said.

But she said she would rather dish them out then take them.

“It’s rewarding to me to make people feel good,” she said.

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. HERE IS A LIST OF SOME NORTH SPOKANE MASSAGE CLINICS A Kneaded Touch, 3809 N. Monroe. Advanced Wellness Clinic, 22 W. Central. Audubon Massage Clinic, 1724 W. Carlisle. Body Works Therapeutic Massage, 59 E. Queen. Franklin Park Massage, 12 E. Rowan, Suite L4. Inland Massage Institute, 1717 W. Francis. Northwest Touch, 9227 N. Division. Starlite Spa, 2829 N. Market. Total Therapeutic Massage Clinic, 614 W. Garland. Vital Massage Therapy, 11 E. Central, Suite D.

2. MAKING PEOPLE FEEL GOOD THE REAL REWARD By Kevin Blocker Staff writer ‘Tis better to give than receive - even when it comes to massage. Or so says one local massage therapist. “I usually give four to five massages a day,” said Constance Valandra, a massage therapist who worked for Les Avant-Garde on North Division before recently going to work for Allied Health Professionals on the South Hill. “I’ve seen some therapists give six or seven a day, but that’s pushing it,” she said. Valandra, who graduated from the Inland Massage Institute four months ago, said she was drawn to massage therapy after she got her first one several years ago. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what I want to do.’ I used to work out the kinks in mom’s back as a little girl. Mom seemed to think I was a natural.” Valandra said it’s important for a therapist to eat right, be in good shape and receive a fair share of massages. “I once went six months without a massage, and I thought I was going to fall apart,” she said. But she said she would rather dish them out then take them. “It’s rewarding to me to make people feel good,” she said.

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