A station for relaxation

Cliff Olson offers theraputic massages and Swedish relaxation massages for a discounted price to Missouri Southern students and faculty. Olsen believes that a combination of massage and nutrition can fix many problems.

Anita Jenison

Cliff Olson offers theraputic massages and Swedish “relaxation” massages for a discounted price to Missouri Southern students and faculty. Olsen believes that a combination of massage and nutrition can fix many problems.

A soldier who served twice in Iraq, Japan and the Philippines has come to the second floor of Suzanne’s Natural Foods in Joplin to serve area residents with the healing touch of therapeutic massage.

After graduating high school, Cliff Olson was living on the outskirts of Chicago and could have done anything he wanted. Instead of pursuing the typical college career, he realized he had a bigger purpose in his life – he wanted to serve his country.

Olson went to military sniper school during the week at Camp Pendleton in California. The training was intense, with the soldiers going five days with little food and sleep, carrying large loads on their backs. On the weekend, due to incurring shoulder and lower back pain from his pack, Olson would see a therapeutic massage therapist. He realized just how important the therapy was, and after leaving the military in 2005 he knew he wanted to train to administer it himself.

Thinking he’d go back to Chicago to study, a friend deferred Olson to Joplin by leading him to Theresa Orler’s School of Massage Therapy Technology. Olson researched massage schools and realized this one offered double the training of any of the schools in Chicago. Olson also studied nutrition online through a program called the American Fitness Training of Atheletics along with the massage therapy, and in June became a licensed massage therapist (LMT) and a certified nutritional adviser.

“Understanding nutrition and combined massage can fix a lot of problems,” said Olson.

These problems include a variety of diseases, even chronic ones like fibryomyalgia, back pain, etc. Olson refers to therapeutic massage as part of the “wellness” industry, used to prevent problems before they start, whereas hospitals are part of the “sickness” industry – people go there after they are already sick. Olson is able to advise people on supplements for total body repair and illness prevention. Then he helps them understand how the body aligns itself and how to put their body back into the position where it can heal itself.

Olson decided to stay in this area after completing his training, seeing a need to help residents realize how therapeutic massage can help. The tendency for doctors to advise massage and medical insurance plans to cover them has greatly expanded in the last few years.

The difference between therapeutic or medical massage, and the normal Swedish “relaxation” massage is that therapeutic massage targets specific problems the client is having, such as neck pain or lower back pain from fallen arches. It is also a deeper tissue massage, which helps people such as athletes recover from injuries faster. It can also improve performance, lessening chances for injury in the first place. Since starting his business, Olson has seen a growth in high school and college athletes coming to him for help.

The cost for this medical massage is no more than a regular Swedish massage. Olson offers a chair massage for $15, a 30-minute half-body massage focusing on specific areas for $30, and an hour-long session for $50. However, for all Southern students and faculty showing proper identification Olson is offering a $15 discount.

For more information, or to book an appointment persons may call Olson at 768-0499 or e-mail [email protected].