It's Never Too Late to Love Massage

I love it when my professional and personal lives collide in wonderful ways. My career revolves around being Vice President Communication for ABMP as well as Editor-in-Chief of Massage & Bodywork magazine. My free time revolves around my two horses and my barn family—the Crowders—where I’ve boarded my horses for 6½ years.

Cowgirls Bonnie and Carol Crowder are a powerful mother-daughter team. At their acreage west of Denver, they welcome just a few outside horses in addition to their money-winning barrel racing horses. In February, Bonnie will turn 80 years old, so she’s forgotten more about horses and farming than most people will ever know. Many weekend mornings Carol is busy barrel racing, so Bonnie and I feed horses, she brews me a cup of tea, and we discuss everything under the sun.

Bonnie’s life has been rich in experience, but tough on her body. Since I’ve known her, she’s had a knee and a hip replacement, but she perseveres. We actually have the same knee surgeon, so we talk a lot about rehab so we can do the things we want to do. This winter, her physical therapist strongly recommended massage therapy, so Bonnie decided to book a session, but she was really nervous. She and I talked about the logistics—the sensitive things new clients always worry about, let alone clients who are octogenarians—like whether you can keep your panties on during a massage. Finally, her massage appointment day arrived, and I couldn’t wait to ask her how it went.

Oh, my! Talk about a convert! Bonnie’s ecstatic about the results—simply over the moon with her newfound mobility and pain relief. I’m so thrilled for her. Listening to her recount her session and results, I decided to contact her therapist and write a story for ABMP’s digital consumer magazine Body Sense. I was so excited to learn that her practitioner was ABMP Certified member Christa Phipps. Christa’s been around the profession long enough to have had some wins and some losses with clients, so hearing about how impressed Bonnie was with her work really pleased Christa.

The 32-year-old Phipps is a chiropractor’s daughter, so she came to the bodywork field and started practicing in 2009. “I grew up in the profession my entire life and just kind of fell into it,” she says. “My father always had a massage therapist on staff. I really saw what both working together could do, especially working with a chiro who integrates physical therapy and massage. It’s great to see everything working together.”

For me, in particular, this is a wonderful feel-good story. It underscores so many details we learn through our national consumer studies. Individuals are more likely to try massage and seek out a therapist with a recommendation from a friend. And although many seniors are very much in need of nurturing, therapeutic touch, they’re also the most hesitant to try bodywork. Treat yourself to the rest of Bonnie’s story in the upcoming Winter 2015 issue of Body Sense and share the good news widely with your clients.

—Leslie A. Young, ABMP Vice President Communication

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