Massage Therapy with QueenaI remember my roommate came home one day in 2011 and shared with me this story in the TBT about a girl working towards recovery from a severe injury in 2008. This girl was, of course, Queena. There was a picture with the article of her in the pool with a water therapist. Being in the alternative health field my mind immediately started wondering what I could do to help her. "Wouldn't it be awesome to be a part of a recovery like this?" I thought.
Well, the universe heard my request. Since 2010, I have worked with several clients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and have started to get known as the massage therapist that takes on these cases. I am trained in rehabilitative therapies including Structural Energetic Therapy and CranioSomatic Therapy but my work with TBIs is based mainly on my experience of just doing what I know best and seeing what happens.
In fall of 2011, Queena's mom called me after being referred by a friend of mine who knew that I already had experience with working with TBIs. I was both excited and a little intimidated to become a part of Queena's healing. What if she doesn't like me? What if she doesn't like something I am doing? How will I know? I soon learned that though Queena doesn't communicate like we do, she speaks her mind in other ways.
When I first started to work with Queena, she had significant tone (muscle tightness) in her arms, legs, and neck. It was challenging to get her hands to open up and her joints exhibited only limited range of motion. Over time, this has decreased to the point where her hands are easier to open and we are getting greater range of motion in her shoulders and hips. Though the tone is still present, we start out with less each session and gain more relaxation by the end. I see improvements each time I see her.
Our first few sessions together, we were still getting to know each other. I knew we had reached our first level of connection on our third session when I walked in the room and said, "Hi Queena, are you ready for your massage?" and she gave me this huge smile. Since then I've been greeted with that beautiful smile each time I've arrived. What's even better is the smile at the end of the session; it is clear that she is way more relaxed than when we first begun.
My sessions with Queena are unique to her needs at the time. I combine techniques in swedish relaxation, myofasical release, CranioSomatic Therapy, aromatherapy, and reiki energy work. After a few months of working with Queena, her sister got her a hot stone massage set and I incorporate those into the session as well as a way to increase circulation and provide deeper relaxation especially where the muscles are really tight. Within the first few months of working with her, we've been able to increase the range of motion in her neck to be able to work with her face down (head turned to the side). She's thankful for the back massage I'm sure!
I am so so thankful to get to be a part of Queena's life and look forward to many more strides in her recovery.
Nyssa Hanger, MA, LMT
Owner/Founder, Upward Spiral Therapy, Inc
Assistant Director, Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy
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