Francesca Witcher

After a year and a half hiatus, McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital’s massage program is back in business.

McCullough-Hyde hired Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) Emily Gerberick-Douglass to restart the massage therapy program in October after a year and half hiatus.

Sharon Klein, director of Community and Employee Wellness at McCullough-Hyde, said that the Wellness Center started to look for a new massage therapist after the previous massage therapist passed away a little over a year and half ago. Klein said they were particularly looking for someone who could do medical massage therapy.

“(At) our Wellness Center … we are trying to (do) complimentary medicine therapy that works both traditional and non-traditional.” she said. “(Douglass) is a local, which I like and she had good recommendations and references.”

Douglass offers massage therapy for a range of patients: from those who have suffered from nerve and muscle damage to people who suffer from headaches and stress.

Klein said traditional massage therapy is used more for relaxation whereas the non-traditional massage therapy is used to treat more physical and psychological cases. Medical massage therapy, according to Douglass, is the physical manipulation of the muscles and nerves in order to make them relax. Douglass said medical massage therapy benefits patients who have had repetitive motion injuries-such as typing at a keyboard, athletic injuries, fibromyalgia or who have lost mobility due to stroke or removal of a brain tumor.

She said medical massage therapy also makes physical therapy easier for patients and furnishes positive long term effects on the body.

Douglass said she worked with a 69-year-old man who became paralyzed on his right side after having a brain tumor removed. According to her, the entire lower right half of his body had lost flexibility and muscle strength.

“I was able to work deep in his tissues to help get strength back,” Douglass said. “He eventually gained nearly full recovery on the lower right side of his body”.

While medical massage therapy is beneficial to patients with serious injures, Klein said the massage therapy becomes particularly beneficial in relieving depression and anxiety, building up one’s the immune system and relieving headaches.

According to the 2008 Massage Therapy Consumer Fact Sheet from the American Massage Therapy Association, people primarily receive massages primarily due to stress-not pampering.

Douglass said massage therapy has become useful to Miami University students, but they would like to see more come in with hopes that depression and anxiety will decrease among students.

“The few students I have had contact with was through was Curve and the Green Tea Day,” she said. “Sometimes we have parents that hear about it and they send their student to have the therapy.”

Douglass said she offers advice for some self-maintenance techniques that would reduce chances of having to receive medical massage therapy.

“Stretching increases circulation and lowers lactic acid (and) drinking penalty of water,” she said.

Douglass received her LMT from S.H.I. Integrated Massage School in Lebanon, Ohio in 2003 and completed her outreach requirements in Centerville, Ohio.