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For many Saskatchewan clients, massage therapy treatments provide vital relief from pain and stress.
The Natural Health Practitioners of Canada's (NHPC) member professionals are vital to Saskatchewan health care and provide essential services to thousands of Saskatchewan clients.
Paul Buffel and Trish Cole are two of NHPC's 550 massage therapists in Saskatchewan, joining over 5,700 massage therapists nationwide.
Here are the experiences of just two of their clients, a reflection of the thousands of Saskatchewan residents whose health needs have been supported through the services that NHPC members provide.
When Julia got into a high impact motor vehicle accident, her doctor referred her to NHPC member Paul Buffel to cope with her chronic pain symptoms and stress. For many people, massage is not a luxury; it is a necessity.
For those suffering from the challenges of chronic pain, their massage therapist and their treatments are their weekly salvation, a refuge from pain and stress.
Julia credits Buffel for helping her along her road to recovery. "Weekly massages have been a part of my regime to cope with the challenges of myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia and a number of other complications including varicose veins.
"To me, these treatments and the practitioners who administer them have helped me achieve my greatest potential for healthy living, given the number and complexity of my issues."
Massage therapy is an important medical resource and provides essential information that can lead to a later diagnosis with a general physician. This is what happened in the case of Deanna.
For years, she suffered from sudden jolts of pain that stemmed from her mid-back through to the right side of her chest. At first, the pains were seldom, but as the years continued, they became more frequent.
Deanna was suffering without a confirmed diagnosis, but with no way to manage the pain. After a month of continuous pain, she decided to visit her primary doctor, who sent her for chest X-rays, heart and blood tests. Everything came back normal.
Her physician diagnosed her with chronic muscle spasms. He suggested that she stay hydrated and that she watch her posture.
Not satisfied with this diagnosis, and as the muscle spasms started becoming a daily occurrence, Deanna sought complementary health service providers, including a chiropractor and a massage therapist, to help manage her pain.
Deanna ended up seeing Trish Cole who proved to be the solution she needed. Although, at first, Cole managed to reduce some of Deanna's pain, there still seemed to be an underlying issue.
"There were a couple of times when the jolts of pain were almost crippling. Even muscle relaxants weren't helping at this stage. Trish asked me to ask my chiropractor if I had any structural irregularities that she noticed in her treatments," says Deanna.
Her chiropractor confirmed, after seeing her chest X-ray, that Deanna had a curved spine and mature scoliosis. The treatments to help manage her symptoms were through massage therapy, correct posture and by taking magnesium.
"Over the past few months, my therapist has been able to focus on the areas required to control the pain and make it bearable. Now, I am able to live my life without the anxiety of waiting for the next multiple jolts of muscle spasms.
"I feel more at ease to take vacations because I know what exercises and precautions are needed to manage the pain."
When you visit your massage therapist, you probably prepare for a healing and wellness experience that begins with the physical massage itself. But behind the experienced hands are therapists with true dedication and compassion for your overall wellness.
NHPC members Buffel and Cole stress the importance of seeking out therapists who belong to a professional massage association such as the NHPC.