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September 2012: Massage therapy alleviates arthritis for 7-year-old girl

Little welcomes the healing hands of massage therapy to calm the swelling from her arthritis.

Kierra Puksta has suffered from arthritis since she was two years old.  Now, 7, this charming young lady wants to rescue sea animals when she grows up, explaining that her favorites are sea turtles.  As a youngster she remembers feeling stiff and after an initial six month period of back and forth doctor’s visits, Kierra was finally diagnosed with arthritis, which mainly effects her ankles, knees and back.  Medications help ease the pain and stiffness, but Kierra really likes to get massages and highly recommends her therapist in Missouri City, Ola Ajirotutu.  “Ola, is really good, beams Kierra.   “Since I’m little, Ola had to make my massages softer than an adult,” she explains.

Heather Puksta, Kierra’s step-mom, and an Arthritis Foundation board member, says that she can really notice the difference in the swelling in her daughter’s knees after a massage.  “It’s almost immediate,” states Heather.  “While medications are good, we prefer diet, exercise and alternative treatments like massage.”

Another resource Heather recommends to moms is KGAT (Kids, get arthritis, too) Arthritis Foundation program.  “It’s been great just meeting other parents and families dealing with the same issues and hearing about their experiences with coping with Juvenile Arthritis.”  Heather has become an advocate for the foundation and eager to spread awareness of JA resources.

As a vet, Heather is keenly aware of the power of touch so she was enthusiastic about massage treatment for Kierra and impressed when Ola took such an interest in the care of Kierra, crafting an individual treatment plan for the active 7-year old.

Like so many therapists, Ola initially began her training in physical therapy.  After moving to Houston she decided to pursue massage therapy training because she felt that the two practices would be complimentary and help people recuperate from injury even faster.

She was told by many of her clients that “her hands are a gift.”  Knowing that she is able to help people in pain and with chronic illnesses makes Ola beam.  “When I see the glow in my client’s faces, and the relief of pain, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction that I have done a good dead for today.”

For Kierra, massages mean one important thing.  She feels “loose” enough for her daily swim—an activity she really loves and one that will no doubt come in handy saving sea turtles.

Massage Envy Houston partners with the Arthritis Foundation on a number of initiatives including the upcoming September 19 Healing Hands for Arthritis Day, where $10 of every massage and facial booked is donated to the foundation, supporting advocacy, programs and research for the more than one million adults and 5,000 children in our community suffering from arthritis.  To lend a healing hand, find a location and schedule a massage at 1-866-553-ENVY (3689).  Or visit www.massageenvy.com.

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