Monday, February 1, 2010

Ray's Massage Therapy

Steve Ray's clients love him. It's not just his upbeat attitude and the happiness he spreads, it's the healing results they get from his gifted hands.

Mr. Ray, owner of Ray's Massage Therapy in the Heights, is a master massage therapist who integrates different massage techniques to provide the best therapy possible for his clients.

Steve is expert in relaxation massage, deep tissue, active isolated stretching, sports massage, the Rossiter System, foot massage, trigger point therapy, and vital flex, a form of reflexology.

Pastor Charles Cunningham drives from Pine Bluff to Steve's office.

"I don't care if it was a hundred miles away, I would still come. Actually, I have gone to 20 to 25 therapists, and Steve has been superior to them all. He has techniques I know he learned in school, but there is a gift there too. I had diabetes. I went to the doctor, and now I have no neuropathy, I think because of this massage therapy. It has reversed my diabetes. I take no medication now."

Pastor Cunningham said the therapy he receives is just "beyond words." "You just have to go and experience it to reap the benefits. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, Steve is about 100. And then, he's so caring, and he just connects with you. He's upbeat and cheerful all the time. I said to him, 'You're my massage therapist, but you're going to be my therapist, period.'"

Kim Freeman of Little Rock couldn't agree more. " I think Steve is a really great person, and massage therapy is one of his gifts. His personality and demeanor ... he makes me feel very comfortable and makes me feel good about going there and getting the service he provides. He's very friendly, just a good-spirited person."

Steve said his wife, Nella, and his daughter, Lawanna, encouraged him to go to Touching America and become trained as a massage therapist. At the time, nine years ago, he was working in a local factory that made computer parts, but lost his job.

"When I got laid off, my wife and my daughter suggested I go to school, because I had a gift in my hands and I needed to enhance it."

His training began there, and he has taken a number of continuing education classes to become a master massage therapist. He doesn't specialize in any one type of therapy, but integrates the different techniques he's learned to best address clients' particular problems. For example, he might combine sports massage with trigger point therapy, in which he goes into the muscle to get contractive knots out. In addition to all of the types of massage he uses, he also sometimes employs hot stones and essential oils. He even provides massage for relief of temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, an inflammation of a joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull.

"I took a course at CARTI (in 2003 at Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute) that taught how to work with cancer patients. And I work with fibromyalgia patients."

Steve said he loves his job "with a passion."

"I feel that when I do clients, I can just feel the energy that comes from me. It helps my clients."

He said massage is good for circulation and flexibility, and, of course, reducing stress.

"The benefit that I get, I am just a happy person. I am so enthused to do it. I get joy when I see a client relieved of pain. I mostly get what they get. I get a real workout. It's just like I've been to the gymnasium."

Steve moved his office to the Heights last year and is located at 5018 Club Road, Suite 108. He charges $55 for relaxation massage, $65 for therapeutic massage, and $75 for deep tissue. He also goes to homes and offices; that rate is $100 an hour. You may contact him at 296-9988 or I bet you know someone who'd prefer a massage to a box of chocolates this Valentine's Day.

Getting to know Steve Ray

Tell us about your family. My wife passed away in '06. I am raising my grandchildren. I am surrounded by three beautiful grandchildren: Gabrielle, 12, Isaiah, 11, and Kalob, 9. They keep me young. We do lots of things for the holidays. We like to get on the internet and find different things to cook. We all get together and enjoy ourselves. They are just as happy as I am. I have always been that way, but it looks like as I grow older, it just increases. I laugh a lot and enjoy life.

Where were you born? Grady, Arkansas.

Where do you live? Maumelle.

What's your favorite food? Southern food. Beans and cornbread. Broccoli and cheese ... .

Is there anything you would like to learn how to do? Have more of a passion for cooking, because my wife could really cook, and I wish I could get there.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I read, I exercise, and I watch movies.

What do you like to watch? Tyler Perry movies. Little House on the Prairie and I Love Lucy.

Do you have any favorite actors? Tyler Perry and Michael Landon.

Do you support any charities? (Steve said he donates massage services to a number of organizations, including hospitals, universities, churches and groups that provide help to domestic violence victims.) I take massage services to them or they will come to me.

If you could have a dream dinner party and invite any three people, who would you ask? My wife, mother, and father, all deceased.

(This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt and appeared in the February edition of Shoppe Talk.)