To your good health: Explore the gift of hydrotherapy with Santa Fe massage therapist Farice Rezabek

By Hope Katz Gibbs, student, Bodymechanics School of Massage Santa Fe, graduation June 2022

When you have a teacher who is so excited about what she is teaching, so passionate about her chosen field of work and study, and so full of joy to be a massage therapist, it is impossible not to feel the love, too!

That’s just a taste of what it’s like to be in class with Farice Rezabek. A massage therapist for 20 years, and massage therapy instructor for almost as long, she graduated from Santa Fe’s Scherer Institute of Natural Healing on March 2, 2001. (The Institute eventually became the Santa Fe School of Massage, which closed its doors during the Pandemic. Today, the building is home to Bodymechanics School of Massage Santa Fe.)

Farice has been part of these organizations, and many more, as a teacher and student. “I was drawn to the massage profession to learn more about my body and mind, take care of myself and others, and make a positive difference in our world,” explains Farice. “In college as a math major, secondary education/computer/philosophy minor, a friend and I dreamed of providing free clothed back rubs during finals week.”

Before embracing her life as a bodyworker, Farice was a mainframe and midrange computer programmer, trainer, math teacher, and computer technical support professional. She recently used these skills working as a legislative librarian assistant during the Pandemic.

“After beginning my professional life in my head, I was finally ready to dive into learning about my body/mind,” explains Farice, who feels the real power of massage is the healing power of touch and connection. “The direction progress is taking us in undercuts our humanity and the value of touch and connection. I think massage and bodywork help heal us and reconnect us to each other and ourselves.”

As a wellness advocate and hydrotherapy teacher, her desire to learn fuels this Ohio-born native who began traveling the country after college, “I spent my computer career(s) in Chicago, IL, and Seattle, WA before being drawn to the Southwest to study massage. Massage school here won out over Arizona and San Diego, CA. Decades later, the amount and quality of natural beauty and sunshine still hold me here.”

As an LMT, Farice practices nurturing and therapeutic massage. “I aim to reduce stress and restore balance, physically and emotionally, in my clients and myself. My favorite modality is Hot Stone Massage. It is the first (further) continuing education class I took during my school term.”

Farice believes there is no safe and sane future without all-bodyworkers. “The world needs more embodied and full-hearted massage therapists. I believe that every time we graduate another LMT, the world becomes a better place.”

In fact, during her massage training, she read a book about a massage therapist becoming president and ushering in world peace. “I love that idea and understand it’s a bit more complex than the outcome of a political race. Every day through my work and being, I strive for more peace, less suffering, and as much kindness as I can garner.”

Here’s to an LMT for president! And thank you, Farice, for being our fantastic teacher! Scroll down for a gift from Farice!

Hotel Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Mexico

Farice’s holiday idea for us all: Try contrast therapy!

“Designed to encourage circulation, promote relaxation, hydrotherapy provides pain relief when combined with traditional massage therapy,” Farice explains, noting that contraindications include cardiac impairment, diabetes, lung disease, kidney infections, and extremely high or low blood pressure.

The chances are that you are already doing at-home hydrotherapy with hot, warm, cold, or cool applications. The most powerful application is a combination of hot and cold therapies. To experience contrast therapy, you might first choose a hot or warm application to an area, then readdress with cold or cool. Review the ideas below and experiment with different combinations.

THERMOTHERAPY: Heat therapy relieves pain caused by muscle tension or spasm and promotes muscle relaxation. Depending on the temperature, duration, and amount of the body that comes into contact with the heating agent, thermotherapy draws blood to the body’s surface, allowing local blood vessels and capillaries to dilate. This process increases circulation and oxygen absorption. Heat also increases the range of motion. Long applications of heat also improve skin functions and can cause sweating.

Applications include: 

  • Dry heat: 
    • Heating pads: Apply heat to the painful area.
    • Infrared radiation: Radiation is absorbed by the skin, which increases superficial circulation and sedation of sensory nerve endings.
  • Moist heat: 
    • Paraffin baths: To relieve pain and stiffness, apply to hands and feet.
    • Rice/Flax packs: Heat in a microwave oven for 3 minutes, then apply to the painful area.
    • Hot compresses: Soak a towel in hot water (110-115 degrees).
    • Moist heat packs: Heat gel packs in a water bath.
    • Body wraps: Use wet or dry sheets to cover the entire body. This process creates sweating, which helps heal the hurt areas.

CRYOTHERAPY: For painful, inflamed, and swollen areas, apply cold to the body to draw heat from tissues and cause cooling. This process acts as an analgesic to reduce inflammation and cause vasoconstriction to limit swelling and reduce pain. A secondary effect occurs when the cold is removed from the area, causing blood to rush in to normalize temperature and increase circulation.

Applications include: 

  • Cold compresses: Soak a small towel in cold or icy water, wring it out and place it on the skin; refresh every 5 minutes.
  • Ice packs: During the acute phase of injury (up to 24 hours), fill a Ziplock bag with crushed ice and place it on a specific body part to relieve pain, prevent swelling, and decrease inflammation.
  • Ice massage: Fill small paper Dixie cups with water and freeze. Peel back the paper and massage the bursa, tendon, or painful muscle with the cube.
  • Immersion baths: To reduce inflammation, fill a tub with cold water and get in! Or simply soak the painful part.