The Healer Is In

By - Sep 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By John Hughes

Twenty-four years ago, 40-year-old Randy Keltner was in a bad way. Years of corporate stress, a sedentary lifestyle and indifference to nutrition had taken its toll. He found himself going from doctor to doctor with complaints, suffering and malaise. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and sent home with, as he put it, “an approach which masked the situation with medications,” rather than healing it.

Keltner felt, intuitively, that this was not good enough. There had to be more than diagnosis as fate, disease as something dire and foreign that visited you and stayed, or was corrected with pills and/or surgery. So, he took the road less traveled at the time. Not outwardly rebellious or counter-cultural in his appearance, this mild-mannered gentleman took a walk on the alternative side; alternative medicine, that is.

In his office, he sits across a table from me, beaming. Founder and director of Ana, a massage therapy firm, he exudes excitement and youthfulness.

After 33 years in the corporate world, Keltner retired from Hatco Manufacturing and went to school for massage therapy. He learned from Andy Schaefer, one of the best therapists in the nation. After a few years of principally doing table massage at his spa, he now makes house calls, or more accurately, office calls. He offers 15-minute treatments in business and office environments.

“I want to serve,” he says, his face glowing. “If I serve and help people, help the community, the rest will follow. I want to serve people, to help them, and massage does that. It helped me.”

His face is radiant. He is an attentive listener who makes you feel that anything you say will be given the benefit of the doubt. Somehow, by the way he stands, walks and sits at table, he exudes the sense of someone at home in his body. When he reports that he feels much better at 64 than he did at 40, it’s easy to believe him.

The name Ana is partially derived from the Sanskrit word “Prana,” or dynamic life breath, which is equivalent to Chi, or Spirit. It is also inspired by two of Keltner’s grandchildren, both named Anna. “We had fun coming up with that name,” he says, in his soft, cheerful voice.

For Keltner and his partner, Sharon Herrmann, massage is a “regular modality.” Keltner is also trained in Reiki and Cranio-Sacral Therapy, but their central passion is massage in the workplace.

They come directly to any office, use no oils, and, using a special chair, massage fully clothed employees in the head, neck, shoulder, back, arms and hands. It’s an effective stress-buster and can be used as a reward in an office incentive program. Their popularity is growing.

From August 28th until the 31st, Randy, Sharon Herrmann, and eight other massage therapists will be participating in the Harley Davidson celebrations by stationing themselves in South Shore Park from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., offering massages for 15 minutes, at $20 a piece. After all, what could be a better remedy to the road-pounding a person’s body takes from riding, partying and paying homage to one of the primary icons of American spirit?

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