Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Massage therapy contributes to holistic approach to health at St. Joseph Family Center

Story and photo by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Sept. 11, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Cliff TiedtCliff Tiedt is one of two massage therapists working through St. Joseph Family Center as part of the Center’s commitment to holistic health care. (IR photo)

Cliff Tiedt of Cheney, a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish, is a massage therapist on contract with St. Joseph Family Center in Spokane. He began work there last winter and offers massage as part of the Family Center’s philosophy of treating the body holistically, a philosophy that Tiedt shares.

Tiedt (pronounced teed) has had a long interest in the healing process. He said when he looks back, he can see the connections that brought him to where he is now.

As a young adult Tiedt was involved in a non-denominational charismatic group and also in the diocesan Charismatic Renewal in Spokane, serving in that group’s healing ministry. Touch is an important part of praying with the sick. To pray for healing includes laying hands on them, which is written about in the New Testament letter of James.

Tiedt aimed his career toward the medical field, and studied nursing for a time. But the academics became hands-on when his grandmother became ill and he quit school to care for her. His children started arriving about this time — he and his wife, Jane, have two sons — and he became a stay-at-home dad.

As the years passed and his sons got older, Tiedt decided to try school again. This time he enrolled at the Northwest Noetic School of Massage in Spokane, from which he graduated last year. Both of his sons will be in school full-time this fall, allowing him more time now to practice his new profession.

His interest led Tiedt to another aspect of massage therapy, called Healing Touch Therapy.

The Healing Touch International website defines Healing Touch as a “holistic energy therapy that emphasizes compassionate ... care in which the Healing Touch provider and client are equal partners...”

Tiedt said that Healing Touch “was started by a nurse and was geared for medical professionals.” Tiedt will sometimes incorporate Healing Touch with his massage clients and sometimes uses it separately. He is also working toward earning teaching credentials in that field.

Tiedt explained about “listening to the client’s body” when they come to him for massage. Part of that “listening” includes watching their body language, but the muscles and other areas also give indications of a client’s well-being. “The therapist also needs a certain intuition,” Tiedt said, which comes with experience.

Tiedt is the choir director at St. Rose of Lima Parish, a ministry he also loves. He earned a degree in music from Eastern Washington University and directs a 15-voice choir — “the largest it’s ever been,” he said.

In a sense there is a connection between his music ministry and the massage therapy. As Tiedt uses massage to help people become more aware of their bodies, and so become more attuned to healing and wholeness, the music helps the people of St. Rose to enter more fully into worship to bring about that same thing.

“Music is important,” (in both ministries), Tiedt said. He explained that massage therapists use music during client sessions. “Music has a powerful effect of its own. It helps people relax and it creates the space for healing to happen,” he said.

Tiedt said he was excited to be part of St. Joseph Family Center. The Center is operated by the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia. “They have a strong commitment to body, mind, and spirit and also to families. I like being part of the Franciscan ideal,” he said.

Individual massages can be arranged by calling the Family Center for an appointment at (509) 483-6495. Groups that come to the Center for weekend retreats or programs will often include massage as part of their agenda.

Tiedt and the other massage therapist at the Family Center, JoAnn Zugel, gave demonstration massages at the Costco stores in Spokane earlier this week. Businesses that might like massage demonstrations can also call the Center to get more information.

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