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Healing touch: Downtown seniors feeling benefits of an on-site massage therapist

Published By: Jeff Mores, managing editor, Rosemount TownPages

The residents of the 39 rooms at the Rosemount Plaza Apartments in the downtown area generally enjoy living where they do. But a growing number of residents there have been feeling even better on Tuesdays thanks to a new service that's being offered. When Strokes for Folks, Rosemount's first massage therapy business in several years, opened its doors last year, ownership was looking for ways to extend its services even deeper into the community. Customers were coming through the doors of the business itself, but what about the residents who can not get around so easily? These are the people Strokes for Folks was aiming to expand its services to, so a partnership with Rosemount Plaza Apartments was an obvious match. During a massage session in September, therapist Karen Gillespie and Rosemount Plaza Apartments resident/manager Marge Anderson got to talking. Not long after, Gillespie was setting up her massage table at the downtown senior highrise every other Tuesday. She has continued to do so ever since, working out pain areas and soothing the muscles and joints of the seniors who live there. Gillespie charges a discounted fee for seniors at the highrise. Some days she massages two or three residents. And other days there are seven or eight residents lined up.

It started with just a few residents taking advantage of the on-site massage therapist. And then the benefits began to spread word of mouth, from resident to resident. Ben Yarolimck is one of those residents.

Big Results

"I decided to check it out because I heard other people living here talking about it," Yarolimck said. "They convinced me. And what a difference it makes afterward. I fall asleep so easily. I feel so relaxed and comfortable and it sticks with me for several days afterward."

For Yarolimck, getting around with comfort hasn't always been a given. He has had surgery to repair blocked arteries three times , so walking can sometimes be a chore. Since going to the massage therapy sessions, however, he said he has noticed great improvement. That doesn't surprise Gillespie.

"With massage therapy, we're trying to think of other things we can do besides exercise and diet," Gillespie explained. "It's all about quality of life. Each individual needs something different and we cater to them. Our goal is to achieve a natural sense of comfort. "What we're seeing with Ben is pretty typical," she said. "Massage helps with circulation and seniors often times notice some relief from arthritis and other pain. Massage helps deliver nutrients to the cells."

Gillespie hopes to expand the program to other senior buildings in Rosemount. But until she is able to extend her services to more senior buildings in town, Gillespie has opened an invitation for any senior in town to come to the Rosemount Plaza Apartments for discounted massage.

And as the weeks pass, the residents of the downtown senior high rise will continue to spread the word to their friends and fellow residents.

"I've really noticed a lot of the knots I have being worked out," Anderson said. "At first, I think some people were hesitant to come by because they were skeptical. But now we're finding out how far massage therapy has come and all the benefits we're getting from it."