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New massage therapist opens shop

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By John Barnhart

Getting a lay-off notice can be the nudge a person needs to make a positive change.

    Carol Patterson, a Bedford County native, had worked as an administrative assistant and executive assistant for 30 years. She had been wanting to do something more fulfilling and had thought about massage therapy for a year. Leaving the security of an existing job, however, kept her from doing anything beyond thinking. Then, her job was eliminated and, with job security gone, she “ took a leap of faith.”
    “You don’t want to give up the security of what you are doing, and for me the security was taken away,” she said.
    She enrolled in Daniels Institute, in Roanoke. She said the massage therapy course is a nine-month long, 530-hour program. The course includes anatomy, physiology and pathology along with massage theory. After successfully completing the course, the last step was to take a national exam to qualify her for a state license. Patterson said that massage therapists, in Virginia, are licensed under the Commonwealth’s board of nursing. In order to keep the license current, she must take a specified number of continuing education courses every two years.
    According to Patterson, a massage therapist need to know what to do, what not to do and when to do nothing. The first step she does when a new client comes to her is to take the client’s medical history. This allows her to know if the client has any physical conditions that she needs to keep in mind when she works.
    Patterson said that massage therapy can provide a number of benefits. She said that it helps with pain management because it relaxes muscles and, thus, lessens pain.
    “When you have pain, you are tense,” Patterson said.
    She said that massage therapy also relieves stress.
    “Stress exhibits itself in tight muscles,” she said.  “A lot of people don’t realize how much stress they have.”
    Patterson offers several massage therapy services. The basic massage, called “Swedish massage,” is a relaxation style.
    A more therapeutic type is called “deep tissue.” Patterson said that this deals with what she called “trigger points.” These are areas in tense muscle that can create pain when touched.
    “If a trigger point is active, you feel pain that radiates,” Patterson said.
    The goal of deep tissue massage is to get the muscle to relax, which deactivates the trigger point.
    Another therapy offering is hot stone massage. In this technique, Patterson heats stones to 160 degrees, cools them slightly in water, puts massage oils on them and rubs them on the client. She said that this warms muscle tissue faster, which allows her to work on the muscle better.
    She also offers massage designed for pregnant women. Patterson said that this alleviates lower back and hip pain.
    Divine Touch is located in Hair Then and Now on South Bridge Street in Bedford. Patterson said that she learned that the salon was looking to add massage therapy as an offering. The timing was perfect and Patterson set up shop with a room to work in. The room has subdued lighting and relaxation music.
    
    Patterson is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays. However, she is flexible.
    
    “If somebody needs different hours, I can do it,” she said.