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Friday, October 26, 2012

Column: Shorelines

Your home, her hands: Massage therapist comes to you

"A massage session should make you feel healthier, taller and clearer." - Elizabeth Doucette

She is not a physician, but Elizabeth Doucette does make house calls. She visits clients, not patients, and always tries to leave them in better shape than when she arrived.

Doucette is a traveling massage therapist who works out of the Westlake Salon and Spa at Westlake Towne Center.

Doucette has been a massage therapist for almost 20 years. In 1994, when she was living in Colorado, she started Traveling Therapy, which delivers pain or stress relief in the comfort of a client's home. For those who would rather come to an office, she does massage therapy and salon treatments such as body wraps and facials at Westlake Salon and Spa.

"A lot of people I see don't look at massage as pampering," said Doucette. "They see it as therapy and preventative maintenance. Because of legislation, because of healthcare costs, people are looking for alternative methods of healthcare and alternative methods of healing. Where traditional physical therapy doesn't work, massage therapy often does."

"She is not just doing a massage, she is doing healing and helping," said Shawna Benson, manager of Westlake Salon and Spa. "We like having massage at the spa, because we offer a total body package of hair, nails and body treatments such as massage and wraps."

Westlake Salon and Spa has several other massage therapists, including Scott Crowley, who also travel to clients' homes.

Doucette said she has seen people who regularly get massages stop taking medications for conditions such as high blood pressure and chronic pain.

Therapeutic massage enhances and increases processes and functions within the human body. What massage does is induce circulation, Doucette explained. Increasing circulation helps enhance soft-tissue healing, increases muscle tone, as well as increases flexibility and range of motion. Emotionally healing touch enhances a state of well-being, she said.

Doucette said massage can help ease depression by increasing dopamine and serotonin levels and can help improve lymphatic-fluid flow and drainage to boost the immune system. It also can help people relax.

"If you remove stress from the tissues, the body is able to do what it is supposed to do, which is heal," said Doucette. "When you're trying to get range of motion from point A to point B, sometimes it is not effective just doing exercises. Massage can help by improving the circulation and reducing stress."

Doucette said she believes everyone can benefit from massage. She suggested trying several different therapists to find the one who works best for you.

Massage should not hurt, you should not have bruises and your therapist should listen to you. Doucette added, "A massage session should make you feel healthier, taller and clearer."

"What I tell people the first time is it is very non-invasive," Doucette said. "You are always covered. If I'm working on your neck, that is what is uncovered. If you are uncomfortable, tell the therapist, 'Hey that doesn't feel right.'"

Doucette charges $70 for an hour massage at the office and $75 for an in-home massage. For an hour and a half, the rate is $100. She tailors the massage to the person's needs.

Some patients need deep tissue massage in one area of the body and a more gentle technique for the rest of their body.

Doucette is trained in numerous types of massage therapy such as craniosacral therapy, which removes the restrictions of the nerve passages by gently working with the spine and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. Deep-tissue massage is suggested for people who suffer from chronic pain and focuses on muscles below the top muscles. Hydrotherapy involves water using jets, underwater massage and mineral baths.

Doucette said her goal is to leave every client feeling well cared for.

"I want them to walk away feeling better and with the feeling that they would try massage again."

Elizabeth Doucette L.M.T., Traveling Therapy, 492-0855, hasens4@yahoo.com, www.elizabethdoucette.massageplanet.com

Westlake Salon and Spa, Westlake Towne Center, 84 Westlake Road, Suite 112, Hardy. 719-4247