Healing hands

Massage therapist Tracie Rumford has made stress relief her job
Tuesday, November 11, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:30 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

These days, many Columbians are kept extremely busy with their careers. Between work, family duties, and other commitments around the home, many people are left with little time to relax at the end of the day.

Columbian Tracie Rumford, however, has taken on the task of owning and operating her own business, and still has plenty of time to focus on relaxation techniques. Why? Because Rumford, a professional massage therapist, is the owner of Massage Works Therapeutic Massage, and helping people relax is one of the main goals of her business.

Rumford opened her business, now located inside Dexter’s Martial Arts and Personal Training Center, in Columbia a year ago.

She previously ran the business in Kirksville for 2 1/2 years and then moved to Columbia, where she worked in the Salon de Capello for a year before reopening Massage Works.

Rumford studied physical therapy and biology at Truman State University in Kirksville. After doing volunteer work in the field, Rumford realized that she loved massage. She began to study the art of therapeutic massage at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts in Santa Fe and the Healing Arts Center in St. Louis. She became certified as a professional five years ago.

Massage, Rumford said, is gaining popularity in Columbia, especially among businesspeople. While it used to be considered a luxury, it is now becoming more accepted as a remedy for certain health ailments and a general means of relaxation. Rumford’s Web site,, says that massages can relieve headaches, combat the effects of aging, speed the recovery of injuries, decrease high blood pressure, reduce stress and improve general health.

“Everyone can benefit from massage — it just makes you a more healthy person,” Rumford said.

Rumford said she now also provides clients with remedies for health ailments, rather than just relaxation. She specializes in myofacial release, a massage technique that can help alleviate injuries. This technique, Rumford said, is used to relax the connective tissue that supports the injury site in the body. By relaxing this tissue, Rumford is able to increase blood flow, which expedites healing, she said. Rumford also practices Swedish and deep-tissue massage.

Rumford makes sure that she is always well versed in new techniques of massage. She also uses music and décor to create a pleasant environment in the office, an environment that allows her clients to relax physically and mentally.

Rumford admits that operating her own business is a challenge. Because she has no employees she must perform all the clerical and housekeeping duties of the business, as well as caring for her clients. Rumford said she spends about 20 hours during the week doing actual massage, and the rest of her time is spent on marketing, book work and other things to keep the business running smoothly.

“I do all my own book work, answer the phones and then the actual massage and assistance,” she said.

But Rumford is happy to take on the challenge of operating her business because she loves what she’s doing. Passion for your work, Rumford said, is key to success in any field.

“You have to do what you love,” she said. “If you’re not completely dedicated to your work, then it will be difficult.”

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