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Q & A with Stephanie Smith

1. Why did you pursue a career in massage therapy?

I’ve always been passionate about helping people achieve optimum wellness and massage is a healing art which requires a balance of manual dexterity, academic knowledge, sensitivity, awareness and training.

2. Tell me about your background.

I am a licensed massage therapist who graduated at the top of my class from the New York College of Health Professionals. I later attended the Long Island Nail and Skin Institute and became a licensed esthetician.
Over the past five years, I have honed my technique working as a massage therapist in a doctor’s office, where I crafted a unique and engaging approach to therapeutic massage. With areas of expertise ranging from headache prevention to basic methods of stress relief and relaxation, my goal is to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to finding and using the best techniques and products for individual clients.

3. What is the role of pain relief and massage?

Massage therapy is an effective part of pain relief and management because it can help reduce inflammation and swelling and soothe stiff sore muscle which ultimately relieves pain. Today, more and more pain specialists are incorporating massage therapy into their pain management programs. The Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals: The Official Handbook, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) suggests “massage as a non-pharmacological therapy that can be used successfully in pain management.”
Massage therapists, do not solely focus on the site of pain, but utilize a holistic approach which focuses on the entire body and its relationship to soft tissue.

4. How is massage therapy incorporated into your work at the Viana Hotel & Spa?

Clients come for massages as part of a pain management program, or just as pure relaxation. Massage therapy focuses on the muscles, soft tissue, and softening restricted tissue. For pain management, progress can be accelerated by the combination of physical therapy and massage therapy.

5. What role does OTC pain medication play in reducing pain with your clients?

Used in moderation, over-the-counter medication can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation of injured areas. I always tell clients that it is important to be cautious when using OTC tablet and pill medications, since some can cause internal bleeding and conflict with other medications.

Transdermal OTC pain patches and pain relieving massage foams and sprays can be safer pain relief alternatives as they offer topical, controlled release delivery of medication. Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical has recently introduced two products to the U.S. market: the Salonpas® Pain Relieving Massage Foam and Salonpas® Pain Relieving JET SPRAY® that relieve muscle fatigue and pain. With active ingredients, menthol (3%) and methyl salicylate (10%), the foam and jet spray both provide fast penetration with a cooling sensation. The foam and spray dry quickly with no residue and are suitable for use in massage, home and gym use. The Salonpas® JET SPRAY® uses a highly pressurized jet force which leaves no greasy feeling or drip spray residue.

6. What types of pain does massage therapy help alleviate?

Massage therapy relaxes muscles and soft tissues, increases blood and oxygen being delivered to the massaged area which warms the affected area, and relieves pain. Massage therapy is used to alleviate many different kinds of pain including lower back pain, headaches, arthritic pain, fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders, etc. The stress responses in the body associated with pain, including raised cortisol, are reduced through massage.

Stephanie Smith

Spa Director and Licensed Massage Therapist

  • Viana Hotel & Spa