Massage is Good Medicine!
Today we’re speaking with Kimberly Hall, Licensed Massage Therapist at Hidden Springs Wellness Center in Ashland.
How did you choose massage as a profession?
I found my career path early, at the age of 23. It happened after I received Polarity body work sessions. Wow; I loved how that felt. In fact, I became so enthused that I began studying at the Polarity Institute on Orcas Island, WA. That opened me up to a whole new world of alternative healing methods. What I learned just made so much sense, that to be truly well, a person needs to combine healthy eating, cleansing/detoxing, exercise, and emotional/mental processes with some form of body work, including an environment of loving support from friends and like-minded coworkers. I was quickly sold on the idea of becoming a body worker myself.
Was there any one individual who particularly inspired you?
Yes. Dr. Stone, the founder of Polarity Therapy, even though I never met him in person. I did study his methods for years. He was passionate about his work in the healing arts and earned degrees in osteopathy, chiropractic, and naturopathy. He also studied eastern modalites such as Ayurveda and Alchemy. I was fascinated with how he traced everything back to its essence, to the underlying energy, to a place where spirit meets matter. This inspired me to seek the same in my work, and I still use Polarity techniques to sense where energy is flowing and where it is blocked. The intention is to re-establish an uninterrupted, steady stream from head to toe.
What other healing modalities do you use?
I use Swedish massage to palpate and assess the body, to coax muscles to release tension, and to restore a robust flow of energy, blood and lymph. I focus on stimulating movement in tight, knotted areas, where pain sits or in other areas that are numbed. I work with the Craniosacral rhythm to sense the condition of fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord, in order to enhance amplitude and balance. Information gathered this way can be profound, including revelations about where and how essence is merging with the physical.
I also use Trager, which is a method of rocking and shaking the body and limbs to trigger release on both physical and mental levels. Trager work can reduce tightness in overused muscles and also tone underused muscles. It’s soothing, which promotes inner healing, enlivening and restoration. Lymphatic Massage is especially useful this time of year for cleansing. I use this modality to help detoxify the body and enhance immune system function, which stimulates the production of white blood cells. This also serves to reduce inflammation so less swelling and less pain. Each modality helps the body in specific ways… massage is good medicine!
What do you do to maintain your proficiency?
I’m always refining and upgrading my skills. Earlier this year I took a 30-hour course at the Ashland Institute of Massage called Normalization of Soft Tissue. It was taught by Philip Whitmore, who is an excellent teacher and massage therapist himself. I learned a range of unique myo-skeletal techniques that proved very helpful this fall working on football players, from middle schoolers to college students.
So, do you feel athletes should have regular bodywork?
Absolutely! There is so much evidence that it is vitally important for all athletes to incorporate massage into their regular body care, for recovery of course, but also for preparation. As well, bodywork helps students cope with the stresses of school and life. As a parent myself, I’m passionate about care for our youth and I encourage early self-care by offering a student discount.
You’ve worked at Hidden Springs for many years; what’s that like?
So true! I’ve been working here 13 years now, right from the beginning, and it’s been wonderful. For starters, as anyone who has been here knows, it’s a physically beautiful environment. Just stepping onto the grounds affords such an immediate, serene experience of nature – with flourishing plants and water cascading into the Koi pond, where families of ducks and geese and the occasional blue heron or bald eagle can be spotted. Best of all, I love being a member of this healing community of practitioners. We each offer our personal talents but also support each other and work as a team. Besides our everyday interactions, we meet twice monthly as a group to check in personally and discuss business needs and goals. With the New Year approaching, we’re preparing for our yearly weekend retreat where we envision goals for Hidden Springs and our individual practices. I have so much gratitude for Rod and Brooks Newton who own the center, for their integrity and generous caring of staff and community.
Where would you like to go from here with your practice?
Well, I was well bitten by the travel bug years ago and I’d love to blend travel into my career. For instance, I can envision working in other communities or even other countries during part of the year (perhaps winter in the tropics?). I would also enjoy accompanying the elderly, to help them enjoy their travels with personal health care. Closer to home, I’m hoping to do more with Hospice. Also, I currently work with clients in local nursing homes and make house calls to provide post-op massage. Those with more miles on their bodies really appreciate receiving caring touch. As do we all!
To book a massage with Kimberly, contact Hidden Springs at 541 488-8858 and ask about her December special. See the ad below for details.