Massage therapist Michael Coffee has seen the benefits of NAT firsthand!
“NAT has had a tremendous impact on my mother’s health. My first patient was my mother,” explains Michael Coffee, an NAT masters certified massage therapist from Colorado. Michael’s mother developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD), a debilitating disease characterized by extreme bodily pain, when he was 7 years old. She was in such severe pain that he couldn’t even hug her. He initially bought a book on massage hoping to help his mother. He began practicing on friends. From there his career and lifelong passion was born.
“Although I wasn’t able to help my mother very much when I was younger, today as a certified therapist I am able to treat and help her,” says Coffee. “She still has the condition and she still has pain, but her pain is significantly reduced and her quality of life is much better. NAT was a big part of that. NAT has had a tremendous impact on my mother’s health.” Michael has used the same NAT techniques he would use on a patient in stage 1 of Frozen Shoulder on his mother’s arms and shoulders. She has found it to be very helpful in managing her pain, increasing range of movement and in helping her manage daily tasks more easily.
Michael first learned about NAT after searching for new techniques online. After reviewing the NAT website, researching the method and consulting with a colleague who is NAT certified, he was impressed. He learned the method and found it very beneficial to his clients. “NAT is one of the best ever discoveries I ever made!”
Michael Coffee, Massage Therapist, NAT, Nationally Certified with NCBTMB
Michael Coffee studied massage therapy at the Jade Daniels Institute of Massage Therapy in Virginia. After his 550 hours of training was complete, he was offered a position working at the massage school teaching beginner classes. From there he worked with a chiropractor in private practice, and also spent 5 years working in a spa environment. He found that the spa setting was not outcome-based enough, and he preferred working in an environment where he could provide ongoing treatment and help for physical problems.
Michael currently works with three physical therapists at a private practice called Physical Therapy Connections. Physical Therapy Connections was opened in 2005, and is owned and operated by talented physical therapist Chad Clark. In addition to NAT, Michael is also certified in Reiki, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, and prenatal, medical and myofascial massage. He uses the techniques both on their own and in combination, where they complement each other. He loves working with physical therapists because they have such a well-rounded knowledge of the body. Michael believes strongly in having a wellness team of practitioners who complement each other.
Michael works with patients who have a variety of problems, but he specializes in shoulder and jaw conditions. He treats patients of all ages, but tends to focus more on the elderly. Michael takes the doctor’s notes and diagnosis (where available) very seriously, but he also trusts his own knowledge and experience. He performs his own assessment of each patient, and like all talented massage therapists, will often identify additional issues to focus on.
In his current role, Michael finds that he’s in more of a position to spread the benefits of massage in healing the body. He feels strongly that the benefits of massage for treating pain, and disorders like PTSD and depression, need to be more widely known. In turn, this would open up opportunities for massage therapists to enter the hospital environment more broadly and to work with doctors, nurses and other therapists as part of a wellness team.
Patient Case History
Name: Carol Desai
Occupation: President of a Water Treatment company
Diagnosis: Frozen Shoulder, Stage 1/ Freezing
Symptoms: Shoulder pain and stiffness: Limited range of motion
Therapist: Michael Coffee
Q. How did your Frozen Shoulder start?
A. My Frozen Shoulder started very suddenly. I was sitting at my desk at work and I turned around to reach for my purse – and that was it. My shoulder seized up in pain and I could hardly move it at all.
Q. What were your symptoms?
A. It became increasingly difficult for me to move my arm or shoulder very much. And I was in pain. I had terrible shoulder pain during the day, and especially at night. I could hardly sleep at all, and this was a real problem for me. I work many hours a day to run a company, and I make huge decisions every day. I need my sleep and I need to be at the top of my game all the time.
Q. How did the symptoms affect you, day-today?
A. As I said, it certainly influenced my ability to concentrate and make decisions. I send out many emails each day and because I couldn’t move my arm, it became impossible to type. My ability to do my job well is extremely important to me, so this all left me very frustrated.
Q. What treatment did your doctor suggest?
A. Straight away, my physician suggested surgery. The surgery would have involved forcing my arm to move the full range of motion while I was under anesthetic.
Q. How did you feel about the doctor’s suggestion?
A. It sounded very drastic to me. I really did not want to go through surgery unless it was absolutely necessary, so I decided to explore other options. A friend suggested I try a massage therapist and referred me to Michael Coffee.
Q. What did the massage therapist suggest for your condition?
A. Michael said that because my condition was not very advanced (stage 1), in his opinion surgery under anesthetic was an extreme solution. He suggested treatments using the Niel Asher Technique, since it was very effective in treating Frozen Shoulder. I was very open to try the method, and we began a course of treatment.
Q. How many NAT sessions did it take for you to see improvement?
A. Amazingly, there was a significant improvement after only the second session. My pain was reduced and I started to get my range of motion back. I was able to sleep much better at night. It only took a few more sessions for my pain to disappear and for me to regain my full range of motion.
Q. Did the effects of the treatment last? How are you now?
A. Yes, the effects of the treatment have been long-lasting. I still go for NAT treatments once every couple of weeks to prevent another such episode. These treatments have improved my quality of life tremendously.
Q. How do you feel about NAT as a form of treatment for shoulder conditions?
A. NAT is amazing, and it has really changed my life! I would highly recommend both NAT and Mike Coffee to anyone who has Frozen Shoulder.