Getting a hand-le on those aches and pains

New massage therapist helps clients' bodies and minds.

“POULSBO – Isavel Lopez likes to see her clients smile. A smile is a window that shows everything inside well. It’s a symbol of sorts which tells her that the aches and pains are subsiding and her massage therapy is working its natural wonders. The budding but knowledgeable therapist watches for such outward signs as she works to heal the various ailments and conditions that afflict her growing clientele. Nonetheless, she pointed out, the needs of one individual always vary from the needs of another. As a result, getting all of her clients to smile isn’t always easy. But Lopez is definitely perfecting the art. There is so much to learn. Every person is different and everyone’s problems are different also, she said. Despite this, her hands-on learning process has a way of discovering a common healing solution. It’s amazing to me what massage can do, she said. I’ve always been interested in the human body, Lopez explained, noting that everything from organs and muscles to tissue and cells has fascinated her for as long as she can remember. I’ve been giving massages all my life. Lopez moved from Quincy (a small town in eastern Washington for those new to the region) to the Seattle area after graduating from high school in 1996. After relocating, she started taking classes in psychology at Edmonds Community College but decided that her true calling was in massage therapy. The healing medium, Lopez said, isn’t just about sore muscles either. It’s actually something that affects everyone on a deeper level. Through energy work, she is able to release toxins and that tend to build up in the human system over time. Caffeine and the like can go by the wayside through proper techniques, she explained. A 1998 graduate of Ashmead College in Seattle, which specializes in massage therapy, Lopez said she was instructed in every aspect of the field from traditional Swedish to Reiki methods. She took a job at A Place of Healing about three months ago, joining former classmate Ruby Solario at the Front Street business. Lopez actually scoped out her current room at the site a while back, she admitted. I told Ruby, ‘If you ever open up this room, I want it,’ she explained with a laugh. It worked out really well. The business arrangement isn’t all that’s worked out for her. I get to make people feel better. That is what sets it apart from other jobs, Lopez said of her career as a LMP. She has helped people suffering from plantar facitis and scoliosis to carpal tunnel. And while some of the conditions are hard to say – and even tougher to spell – Lopez is genuinely pleased that she has been able to assist these people on their roads to wellness. It takes homework to put the vehicle of good health in motion as well and clients are asked to stretch and ice muscles after sessions at A Place of Healing. Even athletes and those in excellent shape should consider massage therapy as a means of pain management, she suggested. We beat up our bodies so much that sometime people just get used to living in pain, Lopez said, shaking her head. While some people see the practice as nothing more than a means of pampering, she was quick to explain that massage therapy has many more applications. While it definitely is relaxing, its also a natural way of taking better care of our bodies – it’s really preventative health care, Lopez said. “