Having Massages Regularly Vital for Self-Care

Debbie Miller

Debi Miller always considered massage therapy as relaxing “me-time,” not something you do on a regular basis – until one of YAM’s therapists, Tish Hilyer, worked her magic.

“I’ve received massages before but never on a continual basis,” says Debi, a retired flight attendant and special education teacher who suffers from chronic neck pain due to a car accident several years ago. “I always thought of them as a luxury and not part of essential self-care.”

Those thoughts have changed now. Debi regularly comes for a massage session with Tish.  Her pain is subsiding and she is experiencing a greater range of motion.

“Tish is a wonderful therapist who sets the tone for a nurturing, relaxing experience,” Debi says. “She intuitively knows what feels good and is never forceful or overpowering. She treats me with respect and observes rules of decorum.”

As Debi can attest to, massage therapy plays a big role as a supplement to other rehabilitation procedures. By encouraging circulatory movement and relaxing muscles, massage helps the body pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs. This allows the injured area to become more flexible and heal at a faster rate.

“Massage helps the body’s natural yearning for homeostasis … to repair, restore and heal, helping to experience a happy, healthy body,” says Tish. “It is healing for body, mind and soul.”  

Tish also recommended yoga classes at YAM to help with Debi’s strength and flexibility.

“I was a little apprehensive about hot yoga,” Debi says. “I imagined that everyone who went to these types of classes would be far more advanced than me.

“But hot yoga is kind of a misnomer. Not all classes are hot and not all attendees are advanced. The beauty of a warm room is that it is like a welcoming cocoon. The muscles are quickly softened and poses are achieved easier.”

 When Debi isn’t visiting YAM, she devotes much of her time taking care of three rescue dogs at home and volunteering many hours for local community organizations. She teaches English to adults through the Blue Ridge Literacy Council and spends time with patients at Four Seasons Hospice, either at their home or at the facility. She also just completed training with the Guardian ad Litem program, an organization that serves as an advocate for children in the judicial system who have experienced abuse or neglect from their caregivers.

Debi urges others who have old injuries to try a massage, and to make sure they mention to YAM’S experienced therapists the problems they’ve been having.