BY REBECCA PALMER
CENTERVILLE — Ivan Thompson has built his business around the idea that helping people improve their coping mechanisms will make them healthier and better able to handle stresses such as car accidents or injuries, or even sports-related fatigue.
Thompson’s Advanced Therapeutic Massage clinic in an industrial area of Centerville is more practical than it is feng shui, but his methods are aimed directly at relaxation and relief.
Developing a relationship with a good massage therapist can help people become more comfortable with themselves, Thompson believes.
For one of his clients who had been raped, he was the first man she allowed to be close to her.
“That changed her perspective with men,” he said.
His ideas are backed up with preliminary research. A 2010 study in the Journal of Childhood Sex Abuse found that child victims who had massage therapy had improved bonding and communication between mother and child and that massage appeared to be a useful complement to talking therapies.
Other studies report the success of massage therapy in “‘rape orphans’Сchildren given to the orphanage because of the stigma they represented to their families when rape was used by opposing militia as an instrument of war.”
Modern medicine is looking more closely at massage and an increasing number of medical professionals are prescribing it as a treatment, Thompson said. Many hopsitals are also employing massage therapists, who can help shorten hospital stays. Gary Birdsall, a local business consultant and former president of the South Davis Chamber of Commerce, has been seeing Thompson for more than a decade. It started after a car accident, and has been off and on ever since.
Birdsall particularly likes deep tissue massage, and said it has been an ideal treatment.
“Sometimes you’ve got to get down there and knead that stuff, those muscles and ligaments,” Birdsall said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to refer him to people, and I do. He loves what he does, and He’s done a very good job for me.”
Thompson has many clients who have been in car wrecks, and he sees people of all ages and sizes, including infants. He even treats animals, occasionally.
On the weekends, the massage therapist often volunteers at sporting events such as the Salt Lake Marathon, the St. George Marathon or Iron Man competitions. During the Summer Olympics in Athens, he was on the International Sports Massage Team.
“I think it’s a lot of fun to help people, not only get them out of pain but help them make choices that are better for their health,” Thompson said.
Scheduling a massage is valuable even if people are very busy, and almost anyone can fit it into their budget with planning, he said.
“If you just let go of everything for that hour-and-a-half or two hours, it helps you relax and handle that stress better,” he said.
Thompson is part of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), which is looking for volunteers for its outreach program. Thompson notes that this can double as a form of advertising for interested therapists
To join that program or to schedule a session with Advanced Therapeutic Massage, call 801-292-6462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.