Dina discovered that she had healing hands when her sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“I would always give my sister massages at home to help with her pain,” recalls Dina. “I was working a job in sales, and my sister said, ‘you ought to go to massage school.’”
While Dina was hesitant at first, a visit to see her sister’s massage therapist sealed the deal.
“My sister definitely knew what she was doing by sending me for a massage,” says Dina. “Once I realized that it could be me helping people manage their pain, I knew massage therapy was for me.”
Now a massage therapist at Massage Envy in Denver, Colorado, Dina treats many clients who have arthritis, a kind of pain that Dina knows well. Diagnosed in 2012 after many years in pain, Dina has osteoarthritis (OA) in all of her joints. She also has bursitis.
“I have a lot of pain,” says Dina. “I often give six to seven massages a day, and after that, I have a lot of stiffness.”
Instead of letting her pain stop her, Dina channels her energy into helping others.
“The best advice I got in massage school was to specialize in what you have,” Dina says. “I have never forgotten that. Because I have suffered from pain, it is a passion of mine to help people get out of pain.”
While Dina knows that some people still see massage as an indulgence, she also points to its benefits in helping decrease arthritis pain.
“When you get a massage, your blood actually flows three times faster,” explains Dina. “It helps your circulation, which helps with pain. Massage also calms the central nervous system, which is like the highway for your body. Once you get it calmed down, everything else tends to follow. Arthritis pain is a vicious cycle you’re calming. It’s a rapid river that we’re trying to calm to the pace of a lazy river.”
For those considering massage therapy to help alleviate their arthritis pain, Dina recommends openness and honesty.
“Every massage should be customized to the client,” says Dina. “For people with arthritis, massage therapy often requires a lighter touch. You want them to walk out feeling better — not in more pain. That takes a lot of communication between the massage therapist and the client.”
One of Dina’s main goals as a massage therapist is to get people back to doing the things they love so that they can be Champions of Yes.
“I had one client who loved to ride horses, but she had to quit because she had horrible inflammation setting into her hands,” says Dina. “After a few sessions, she was able to start riding her horses again. She literally was able to take hold of the reins and ride again.”
While Dina is often on the receiving end of praise and thankfulness from her clients, she, too, is grateful for the path her career has taken.
“I have such deep gratitude for what I do,” says Dina. “To be able to help people on their road to health is so humbling and gratifying.”
- The Benefits of Massage for Arthritis
- Healing Hands for Arthritis
- Kelli Schandel: Why I’m a Massage Envy Member