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Gary Oswald works with a client at the Grande Ronde Fitness Club. Floating in 96-degree saltwater encourages the body to relax and respond to Oswald’s acupressure treatment. CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer
by TRISH YERGES / Observer correspondent
N.E. Oregon practitioner uses accupressure, hydrotherapy to treat pain
LA GRANDE — Gary Oswald of the Grande Ronde Fitness Club offers a new and relaxing treatment called BheSaja that combines two of the world’s oldest modalities, warm salt water therapy with acupressure.
BheSaja is an ancient Indian (Sanskrit) word meaning water, healing and remedy. This type of hydrotherapy-acupressure treatment was a unique concept born from the work and experience of Oswald and local massage therapist Trish Zennie of BodyWork Massage and Skin Studio.
“BheSaja is relaxing and some clients use it just for that, but it is also medicine,” said Oswald, “because I’m also treating neuropathy, which is a very complicated thing for Western medicine to treat. The tingling in the hands and feet can be horrible.”
Oswald has a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, N.M. He has completed six years of education, four of which were focused on oriental medicine. He has also studied and gained experience in pediatric health, women’s health and sports medicine. Currently, he is a board-certified diplomate of acupuncture and is licensed to practice in the state of Oregon.
He currently practices acupuncture at Village Health and at the Grande Ronde Fitness Club, both in La Grande.
“I specialize in the treatment of acute and chronic back, knee, hip and shoulder pain as well as sciatica,” said Oswald.
One client, David Carrillo, 60, a former professional boxer for 12 years and a graduate of Eastern Oregon University, receives acupressure treatments from Oswald on a regular basis. Though he boasts a six-pack, his boxing years have seriously torn the muscles of his right shoulder, and he has dealt with pain ever since.
“I teach boxing here at the Grande Ronde Fitness Club as well as women and elderly self-defense classes,” said Carrillo, “and sometimes my right shoulder gives me problems. Gary is just wonderful at taking my pain away.”
Clients come to Oswald to relieve and reduce pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, migraines, insomnia, sciatica, lower back injuries and other conditions brought on by daily stressors.
A client, JoJean Nelson of La Grande, met Oswald at BodyWork Massage and Skin Studio. She comes to receive BheSaja treatment at the club at one of the two classes held every Wednesday evening.
“I love the warm saltwater pool,” said Nelson. “I lay back and float on a pod, relaxing my mind while Gary aligns my body using pressure points on my feet. It is something like foot reflexology. He also applies pressure to points on my legs, arms and neck as I float on the warm water.”
Years ago, Nelson was thrown from her horse, and today her injuries are a source of chronic pain.
“Every time I do BheSaja, I feel better and the affects last longer and longer,” she said. “The key is to let yourself relax in the water. I recommend it because BheSaja puts no strain on your body. It’s very gentle.”
Before a client even enters the pool, Oswald has a brief interview with that person to learn about his or her chronic pain and its possible causes. Like stress, many root causes present as psycho-emotional, mind-body disorders. BheSaja is an effective treatment for conditions caused by this source.
“I will look at you and interview you before we start,” said Oswald. “We are looking for the root cause of your pain and trying to alleviate it. We’re doing some great healing here with BheSaja, but you have to follow through with the treatment and not quit (prematurely).”
Heated saltwater therapy and acupressure treatments have been practiced for the past 5,000 years. BheSaja brings the best of both therapies together to bring about homeostasis or a natural state of balance to the body and mind.
“BheSaja’s powerful curative interaction allows the body to heal much more quickly, instantly reducing pain and stress as well as physical and emotional trauma,” said Oswald. “It does this by putting the body in a state of weightlessness and stimulating specific healing points found on the body.”
Floating in 96-degree saltwater encourages the body to relax and respond positively to Oswald’s acupressure treatment, which is personally tailored to the client’s specific physical conditions.