Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Oct. 9, 2000
'Perfect Touch' for senior citizens
By Andrea Vargo
Most senior citizens benefit from the touch of a massage therapist, said Gail Bergstrom of Howard Lake.
Bergstrom, who is from Howard Lake, has been working as a massage therapist for over a year.
Her business, Perfect Touch, is located in the Shape and Style Salon in Howard Lake, owned by Donna Christensen.
Bergstrom got interested in massage because she had migraine headaches. She went to a massage therapist and hasn't had the headaches in a couple of years, she said.
"I thought I would have to lay on a table, naked," she said.
What she learned is that she only had to undress to her comfort level.
As with her own clients, only the part of the body that is being worked on is uncovered.
Clients have to fill out a little paper work, and anyone with cancer or diabetes has to have approval from his/her doctor.
Then, they talk a bit about what parts of their body are in pain, and Bergstrom can focus more energy on those parts.
For older people in particular, massage helps with circulation and relaxation.
"I worked in a nursing home for years and really enjoy older people," Bergstrom said.
Many of them are stressed just from the lack of physical touching, she said.
A massage can help with the stress, Bergstrom explained.
Reflexology of the hands and feet is also something Bergstrom can offer seniors.
For example, massaging a particular part of the foot can relieve stress or pain in the shoulders or neck, she said.
Sometimes seniors can't get up on a table, but they can sit in a chair and have a hand or foot massage, she said.
This type of massage works on the principal that every part of the hand or foot corresponds to another part of the body.
Bergstrom offers upper body, full body, or reflexology massage.
She learned the techniques at the Touch of Life school in Eden Prairie.
Evening classes, many tests, and an internship completed the course.
The instructors make sure students know what they are doing before they leave the school, Bergstrom said.
More schooling is in the future for Bergstrom. She wants to learn more about pressure point therapy and sports massage, she said.
Daily stresses for seniors because they can no longer do some of the things they used to do, pain in joints and muscles, high blood pressure, circulation, improved kidney function, and improved muscle tone are all things that benefit a senior citizen who has a soothing massage, Bergstrom said.
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