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July 2, 2010

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.. Ju/,l : t ;J_+  .:+++m.,ttUJk ++IIilILIIItlIL+ II]I14LILJlll IIIIILLI HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 2, 2010 PAGE 511 Demystifying massage: How to choose what's right for you (ARA)--Massage is no longer a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Growing public awareness of massage's ben- efits for alleviating a number of health problems--from stress to arthritis pain--and greater availability of services have made massage therapy accessible and affordable to a much broader spectrum of consumers than ever before. If you're among the Ameri- cans whom the National Center for Health Statistics says spent $22 billion on visits to complementary and alternative medicine provid- ers in 2007 (the latest year for which data are available), you'll want to get the most benefit and the best value out of your massage therapy visit. The experts at Cortiva Institute offer some advice for how to partner with your therapist to find the massage that's right for you: "Terminology is not very standardized in the massage industry. A phrase used on one menu might not have the same meaning on another menu, especially if you're traveling in different parts of the country or world," says Jeff Mann, president of Cor- tiva Institute-Pennsylvania. "But when it really comes down to it, massage has been an important technique in injury recovery and stress reduction for centuries. Mas- sage techniques and purposes do not change, even though the name might." First, find the right thera- pist. Therapists who network can be very helpful because even if they can't provide the type of massage you need, they may know someone else who can. Look for a therapist with good listening skills. Has he really heard your reasons for seeking massage? Is she able to repeat what you've told her and make appropriate recommendations? "A good massage therapist, who at- tended a reputable massage therapy school, should be able to reflect backwhat they understood from the client and make suggestions about several services that may be beneficial for you that day," says Bobbe Berman, direc- tor of education at Cortiva Institute-Chicago. Your next step in choosing the right massage for your needs is to clearly explain to the therapist just what those needs are. If your priority is pain relief, tell the therapist and explainwhere it hurts the most. Be sure to discuss any medical or health problems that you want to address. And let the therapist know your level of experience with massage - if this is your first massage, if you've had others in the past, what types you had and whether you got the expected results/benefits from massage. Ask the therapist to edu- cate you by explaining the types of massages and their different benefits. "Address- ing the individual needs of the client is the focus of massage treatments," says Dianne Poiseno, president of Cortiva Institute-Boston. "Regardless of any agenda the therapist might have for the session, or what areas they want to focus on, they should have a client-centered ap- proach. An important aspect of a massage therapist's job is to educate clients, which in- Courtesy of ARAcontent Explain to your massage therapist exactly what you're looking for in a massage, so he or she can tailor treatment to your individual needs. cludes explaining modalities and helping the client decide which might be most helpful for their needs." Don't feel you have to settle for the menu description of a particular service. Ask the therapist to provide more details. Next, when you've zeroed in on a possible therapy, ask the therapist questions such as: * What areas of the body does this treatment focus on? * What types of products are used? * What types of massage strokes are incorporated into this service? "The answers to these questions will give you a good idea of what the service entails and will give you a point of reference," Mann says. You can learn more about massage therapy, massage therapy programs and careers at www.Cortiva. com. By Sharon Udasin New York Jewish Week Rachel and her partner had been contemplating artificial insemination for years, but they didn't actually go ahead with the process until Rachel came to Jerusalem from New York for a one-year teaching fellowship. After some encouragement from another couple that had gone through the process, the decision was clear: they would create their child in Israel, at Hadassah Medical Center in Mount Scopus. "I wanted a Jewish donor who lives and serves in Israel, and has his family living there, so that if my child ever wishes to search for the donor someday, my child will be led to Israel, which is religiously and ideologically important to my wife and me," Rachel told The Jewish Week, ask- ing that her real name be withheld for privacy. "Israel is renowned for its fertility treatment, and they don't play around. They want and plan to get you pregnant as soon as possible, without dragging it out to make more money off of you like they do in the U.S." After five trials of regular intrauterine and intracer- vical insemination, and the assistance of the Gonal-F fertility drug, Rachel, who was 14 weeks pregnant at this interview, finally conceived at one-fourth to one-fifth of the cost of a similar process in America. Israel has seen a surge in medical tourism for various procedures in the past few years, yet thus far, experts say that the clien- tele remains largely con- centrated among former Soviet countries and some African nations, where treatment facilities are still inadequate. But in recent years, Israel has begun to broaden its reach to couples like Rachel and her partner, Vacation in Israel and come home cured slowly attracting custom- ers from Western Euro- pean countries and North America. While the medical care in Israel equals or even sometimes exceeds that of the United States and Western Europe, the cost of procedures remains significantly cheaper. "Medical tourism in Israel has been around for about 17 years, but only in the last year or two has it become part of the Minis- try of Tourism's agenda, the Ministry of Finance's agenda," said Ira Nis- sel, CEO of International Medical Services (reed- international.corn), which has been guiding medical tourists through Israel for five years--reviewing pathologies and consulting multiple specialists. "We're trying today to put Israel on the map. But in comparison to India and Costa Rica, the prices are a far cry from what you'd expect there." The quality of medical care in Israel, combined with an ideal vacationing environment, is drawing more patients to visit Israel for their procedures--most commonly for oncology, cardiac and in vitro fertil- ization procedures, accord- ing to Nurit Agiv, medical tourism executive at Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv. Residents of former Soviet countries, she noted, can easily visit Israel for these procedures because they no longer need a visa to travel there. "A lot of the doctors had their fellowships here in the United States," Nathalie Steiner, vice president of marketing at a new medical tourism initia- tive called Global Health Israel (globalhealthisrael. corn), a subsidiary of her father Moshe Steiner's larger medical equipment distributor, Israel Scien- tific Instruments, told The Jewish Week during a recent visit to New York. "And compared to India and Costa Rica, you can go out and eat at a lot of good restaurants--it's a Western culture here." Steiner, who is limiting the focus of her fledgling company to IVF procedures for now, aims to target American insurance com- panies, self-insured private companies and uninsured Americans, who might enjoy the added benefit of a vacation in Israel. Nissel, who says his company has been bringing in patients for IVF treatment for years, estimates that between 85 and 90 percent of these tourists are from former Soviet countries, where IVF is often unavailable, as opposed to Israel, where women can undergo the procedure through age 42. "You are not sick when you have IVF, so you can enjoy the country," Steiner said, noting that IVF treat- ment in most Israeli hospi- tals will cost tourists ap- proximately $4,000, about a third the cost in the U.S. And while in Israel, tour- ists can rely on companies like hers to arrange airport transportation and accom- modations. The lighter financial burden can be a huge at- traction. "It's not the bargain rate of India, but it certainly has a top-notch medical sys- tem," said Laura Carabello, publisher and executive ed- itor of MedicalTravelToday. corn, and representative of Nissel's IMS company in the U.S. "It's Western medicine, it's less expen- sive and they're getting a lot of traffic from Bulgaria, Eastern Europe, Poland and Hungary--people with serious medical problems that need solutions." Costs in Israel are less expensive for a number of reasons--malpractice suits are much less common than in the U.S., according to Steiner, and the standard of living is generally lower, added Agiv from Assuta Medical Center. "Many Israelis who live for many years in the U.S. prefer to have their medi- cal treatments in Israel," Agiv said. "The medical standards in Israel are very high, and they're improving all the time." Boaz Liberman, head of Orthopedic Oncology at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, agrees. In addi- tion to his Israeli patients, he sees many from Russia, Cyprus and the Palestinian Authority. "The level of medicine that we provide is quite the same as they have at the advanced centers in the States. In my field, usu- ally those surgeries can go up to $300,000." Still, Nissel doubts that Americans will be jumping in droves onto Israel-bound planes for their medical care just yet. "It's not really a place you're going to bring Amer- icans to," he said. "The Jews that live in the U.S. do not come to Israel for medicine, because they trust the medical system in the U.S." But others say they al- ready see Americans trick- ling into Israel's hospitals. "There is an increase in Americans, but not enough yet," Agiv said. "The key issue is [recruiting] the insurance companies--if they will cover the ex- penses when it's not an emergency." Only three hospitals in Israel currently have offi- cial accreditation from the Joint Commission Interna- tional, a voluntary process that gives them official standing with American health standards: Ha Emek Medical Center in Afuta, Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and Soroka University Medical Center in Beer Sheva. But a fourth--a large hospital--is going to receive accreditation soon, which will help boost an influx of American tour- ists, according to Nissel. Also key to bringing in Americans will be President Barack Obama's health care reform bill, he believes. "With Obama's new re- form, we're working on something," Nissel said, though he was unable to specify what those plans might be. Depending on the out- come, some experts expect to see an increasing num- ber of Americans seeking specialist medical care elsewhere. "Health care reform is going to be very positive for Americans because it's go- ing to significantly reduce health insurance costs," said Jonathan Edelheit, CEO of the American-based Medical Tourism Associa- tion. "But health care re- form is positive for medical tourism also, because it will potentially add more queues .... " Edelheit's organization held a Medical Tourism Conference in Tel Aviv in January 2009 and invited Steiner from Global Health Israel to become their Israel representative. Sharon Udasin is a staff writer for the New York Jewish Week from which this article was reprinted by permission. Max S. Watzman, DO Family Physician Telephone 407-678-5554 office Hours by Appointment WinterPark Famill Practice 2830 Casa Aloma Way w'P00P I: 200Z:' Winter Park, Florida 32792