Massage Therapy provides
“Beneficial Touch”

By: Kristin Snellback
Special to the Oahu Island News

Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, a highly respected naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist at Kahala Natural Health Center, discovered the healing power of touch while attending college in the Pacific Northwest. Her studies led her to seek training to become a licensed massage therapist. Steelsmith learned the importance of our largest organ – the skin – in enhancing a person’s overall well-being. She remembers a quote by Ashley Montagu, “The skin, like a cloak, covers us all over, the oldest and most sensitive of our organs, our first medium of communication. Touch is the parent of our eyes, ears, nose and mouth.”

Steelsmith practiced as a massage therapist while she continued her education. During naturopathic medical school she worked in a busy Seattle cooperative massage clinic. This continued until she completed her degree in naturopathy – a discipline that works with natural medicines and promotes the body’s innate self-healing capability. She attributes much of her success as an acupuncturist and naturopathic physician to the practical experience she gained as a massage therapist. “I became totally comfortable with touch, confident in palpating muscles, and assessing the client’s problem areas. I learned about professional boundaries, client rapport, and how to focus on the needs of others. I was able to hone my intuition working with my hands rather than exclusively using my mind.”

Steelsmith, a regular columnist with the Honolulu Advertiser, says, “Some forms of massage therapy are generally recommended for relaxation and stress relief, while others are more strictly used for medical purposes. Often, I prescribe massage to help my patients with specific structural or muscular problems.” She goes on to say, “Massage is extremely beneficial for many men and women. For some people massage may be the only non-sexual, caring touch they receive. It can be an important part of a person’s health, well-being and ability to manage stress. Massage is truly a gift, on many levels.”

Hawaii Healing Arts College, School of Massage Therapy and Massage Professionals are located in the Kailua Medical Arts Building. For more information call 266-2462 or visit