An Interview with massage therapist Carolyn Henn:

Carolyn J. Henn, LMT, BCTMB is a Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in scar tissue, orthopedic and medical techniques. Carolyn graduated from the Onondaga School for Therapeutic Massage at the top of her class. She is both state licensed by the State of New York Office of Professionals and nationally board certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She also holds a professional membership with Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals.

We wanted to know a little bit more about her experience working in the field of therapeutic massage. The following is an interview where she talks about some of the reasons she does what she does and why she is passionate about seeing results.

Why do you do what you do?

The main point is helping people…
I enjoy working with people to help them get where they want to be. This desire to help people started in college where I received an undergraduate degree in social work. I then began to explore medicine as an EMT, and I’ve been an EMT since the mid-90s, and a firefighter since 2009. Helping people has become a part of who I am. I found along the way that I really enjoyed hands on work and massage therapy was a natural fit.

What interested you in therapeutic massage therapy?

I find that the human body always fascinated me…
I’ve always been fascinated with the human body and how it works. Massage combines that fascination with my enjoyment of working with people. I knew from the beginning of my studies that I wanted to go into medical massage therapy and work with people on healing rather than focus on relaxation or spa-type massage.

What is different between what you do and just getting a massage at a spa resort?

The focus of the treatment is to resolve the condition…
There are a lot of benefits to a spa-type massage, from reducing stress hormones to lowering blood pressure. It’s what most people think of when they hear of massage treatment – a one hour full body session with long, flowing strokes and perhaps a bit of attention to an area that may be bothering you. My work is tailored around the medical or orthopedic concern of my patient. I take into account how that impacts the whole body, but the focus of the treatment is to resolve the condition or to help bring the body to its place of best health and healing. This is accomplished through work done in our treatment sessions as well as through home care.

What do you mean by home care?

The best service I can provide is to teach the skills and awareness they need to maintain their health on their own…
The goal of each session is to bring your body to a place to best facilitate healing. This is a jumping off point, but the work needs to continue between sessions to maintain the progress. Home care will be simple stretches, exercises or possibly hot/cold therapy to continue what we start in the office together. This is critical to helping you achieve your goals and maintain your new level of health. My best scenario is somebody who sees me for a short period of time and then has the skills to go out and maintain on their own.

You continue to study? Are massage techniques changing that often?

Learning doesn’t end in a classroom…
The 1000 hour program, standard in New York, gives a foundation for massage work, but any type of specialty is going to require extensive study. For medical and orthopedic massage therapy, one of the key areas of study is assessment so that the source of discomfort can be ascertained faster and treated more specifically. As each person is unique, and their body responds differently to treatment, learning additional techniques and styles simply enhances the treatment offerings. I continue to explore continuing education as well as keeping up with research in the field.

I know what orthopedic and medical massage is. What’s scar tissue treatment?

Scar tissue can create restrictions that often go unnoticed…
Anytime the body is injured it is going to lay down scar tissue to repair itself. Sometimes these are small and heal well so that they do not have a major impact on the surrounding tissue. Other times they can be restrictive and cause a lot of problems. Early scar tissue treatment is very gentle and is promoting the scar tissue to form in a way that is least restrictive and allows that body area to regain functionality as fully as possible. Once the scar tissue matures, the work can go deeper into the tissue to make sure additional adhesions have not formed and restricted movement. Once these tissues are freed, treatment then focuses on retraining the body on how to move well to prevent further injury.

What’s the difference between scar tissue and adhesions?

Scar tissue is the natural part of the healing process. It can bind to other layers of tissue…
Scar tissue is the functional collagen bonds that the body lays down to heal an injury. Adhesions are when tissues of the body that are meant to slide by each other get stuck. This restricts physical movement of the body as well as effecting blood flow, nerve impulses and the immune system. Freeing these adhesions is the main goal of scar tissue work on a mature scar.