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Massage family uses friction to relieve pain

THURSDAY, DEC. 25, 2008

It started with numbness, tingling, and pain from the elbow down the arm to the hand. The patient was a potter who could not throw vessels because the pain had grown so intense.

Twenty-one-year veteran licensed massage therapist and certified personal trainer, Gino Agostinelli, worked on the patient and in time restored full use of the arm.

Agostinelli believes everyone has health challenges, but he also knows that “human bodies have the common power to heal themselves.”

“We can live pain-free,” says Agostinelli. He doesn’t imply that it is easy, quite the opposite, he says. “It takes a lot of commitment and personal effort.”

Over the course of his career, Agostinelli, who has offices in Post Falls and Spokane Valley, has seen every kind of injury from the older woman who could not go down stairs normally to patients who have lived with chronic back pain and sciatica for years.

Agostinelli feels his massage techniques help patients return to a normal life. Although Agostinelli has refined his techniques through experience, he primarily uses deep compression combined with cross-fiber friction massage, which stretches and broadens large muscle groups and connective tissue.

His deep tissue massage focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. This helps create strong, flexible repair during the healing process. It is especially helpful for chronically tense areas such as stiff necks, low backs and sore shoulders.

According to Agostinelli, when there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are bands of painful, rigid tissue in muscles, tendons and ligaments which block circulation and cause limited movement and inflammation. Deep tissue massage breaks down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.

Deep tissue massage has proven effective for chronic pain; limited mobility; recovery from sports injuries; repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome; postural problems; osteoarthritis pain; and fibromyalgia.

Armed with a degree from Chicago’s School of Massage Therapy and a desire to use his hands, Agostinelli began work as a massage therapist in 1987 for a sports medicine podiatrist.

In Chicago he worked with college, high school and Olympic athletes, and witnessed improvements to their muscles and performance.

His wife, Linda, and son, Aaron, make up the rest of the Agostinelli Massage and Fitness Training team. They work as a team with a goal of not only helping people feel better, but also to inspire and educate them to be more aware of their body needs and to develop proactive ways to maintain and build overall health.

For the last 10 years Linda has worked primarily with female patients. Aaron is a three-year licensed massage therapist, and a sophomore at North Idaho College who intends to pursue a health career.

“Adding a new generation to our business renews patients’ outlook and adds a contemporary dimension to health,” says his dad.

Aaron’s special interests include pressure point therapy for common ailments like sleeplessness, tension headaches, and some traditional Asian medicine.

All the Post Falls practitioners are strong advocates of stretching.

Agostinelli says some people walk out of their office as if they just got a restful night’s sleep, while others feel calmer and have developed a heightened awareness of their bodies.

“Our hope is that our patients feel invigorated, relaxed, and inspired,” says Agostinelli.

Contact correspondent Laura Umthun by e-mail at

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