A Soothing Touch
 

When I enter H and S Massage, Laura Charlton’s warm eyes greet me at the top of the stairs. She shakes my hand and invites me into a comfortable, private room set with a massage table.

 

The former farm girl loves Elizabeth, and can’t wait to meet local clients. Her priority is always the person and giving them a unique experience. “I don’t do cookie cutter massages,” she says; “customized massage is standard, rather than an add-on.”

 

She provides home visits for disabled clients, or those who dislike or are allergic to aroma therapy. “It’s important you are comfortable in the environment,” Laura says.

Many reasons draw people to become massage therapists—for Laura, it was her dad. “My champion and hero was dying of a dreadful terminal illness called Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, or Lou Gerhig’s Disease. As a child, I wanted to help Dad any way I could.” After trying on various hats as a teacher, working with kids in juvenile corrections facilities, fire fighting, and EMT, she settled on massage therapy.

 

“I left the other professions behind because massage allows me to help people on a healing journey in ways nothing else could. Doctors used to spend a lot of time with a client; with current insurance standards, some are made to leave each client after only 8 minutes of interaction as reported by doctor and author Dean Ornish. That isn’t health care, its health scare and many of my clients resent it—including doctors. People who want more time and personal care are seeking massage therapy and our industry has grown by the hundreds of thousands since the early 1990s.”

When asked what she loves most about her profession, Laura flashes a broad smile. “Oh, everything! I love getting to meet someone new, share a healing art form with them and by the end we both feel better for it. I enjoy each client and their uniqueness. I love listening to the muscles through my head, hands and heart.”

 

Laura has been a massage therapist for 23 years. “I’ve seen good therapists come and go,” she says, “but I have heard none of them say they tired of helping people feel better. I get to witness results with range of motion. People enter sideways and leave happy. It’s good for both of us.”

 

Since many people feel more comfortable knowing what to expect during a professional massage, I asked Laura about the process. New clients are invited into her office to talk about what they hope to experience during the massage (relaxation, a history of headaches to reduce or eliminate, back pain, etc). Laura asks about pressure tolerance. She then leaves the room to wash her hands, while the client undresses to their state of comfort, and wrap themselves in a soft sheet. Privacy and feeling safe are important. If desired, relaxing music is played throughout the session. Confidentiality is a priority.

 

I ask her what an interesting tidbit about the human body is. Her eyes twinkle. “The unbelievable neurological benefits of touch for the newborn baby and how very much positive comforting and nurturing touch enhance brain development, communication, fine motor and gross motor coordination. Touch also helps promote immune function, increases circulation and lymph flow.” She had the privilege of serving on the non-profit board of the International Association of Infant Massage. As Education Coordinator, her job was to hire leading experts on touch from around the globe to attend education conferences. Hearing the current research on the benefits of touch from the researchers was extraordinary! Laura says, “Everything they laid down, I picked up. My interest in touch expanded when I applied what I was learning to my own kids and see the results.”

 

Dr. Tiffany Field, Director of the Touch Research Institute, is often quoted saying the therapy of touch, specifically massage, benefits all diseases. The Touch Research Institute has studies on the benefits of massage and Autism, addiction, adrenal issues, behavioral issues, ambulatory issues, fear and anxiety, depression, pre-natal comfort and post-natal recovery; it helps with regulate insulin in diabetics, and helps with neuropathy. It also reduces inflammation.

Laura says, “Just this week I had a massage magazine arrive with an extensive article on the benefits of massage and Parkinson’s Disease and two days later had a client call seeking help with her Parkinson’s through massage therapy. Serendipitous! I am eager to get in and learn what we can do together to relieve this client’s symptoms.”

 

H and S is in the heart of Elizabeth, upstairs at 350 W. Kiowa Avenue. Laura also provides over-the-counter homeopathy that is “simple, amazing and couldn’t be easier to use. You can see me for customized personal homeopathic remedies only or add it on to your massage session to get the best of everything I offer. Homeopathic remedies are done in consensus with the client, explained and work best with ongoing considerations a client may have such a fear, anger, despondency, anxiety, over-care for others and even those who are over sensitive to the influence of others.”

   

Please reach out to Laura. She can help you on the road to muscle relaxation. She’s available by phone or e-mail, and has a great discount for new clients.