By Ms Gloria Montgomery (Army Medicine)May 2, 2012
FORT HOOD--After a four-hour marathon, the four hands and 20 fingers could finally take a break. Together the two volunteer massage therapists from Comfort for America's Uniformed Services (CAUSE) had rejuvenated the battered bodies of 38 weary cyclists who had just completed leg three in the 350-mile Ride 2 Recovery Texas challenge, which raises awareness for America's wounded warriors.
According to one of the riders lucky enough to grab an appointment at the Shilo Inn where CAUSE had set up shop April 18, the 20-minute massage was a blessing.
"Oh my God, I feel like heaven," said Staff Sgt. Alexis Rivera, who was one of the 200 cyclists participating in the 6-day "Don't Mess with Texas" cycle event, which kicked off in San Antonio April 16 and ended April 21 in Arlington at the Texas Ranger's ballpark. "It feels so good it's ridiculous.
Rivera, who is assigned to the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade's Headquarters, Headquarters Company, admitted the 59-mile ride from San Marcos to Killeen had taken a toll on his muscles, but the massage fixed the cramping.
"The pain is literary gone," a grateful Rivera said. "It's like they just rebuilt me. They did an awesome job."
For volunteer Leslie Koehler, who also is one of the massage therapist for the CAUSE-sponsored WTB massage-Reiki program, getting involved with Ride 2 Recovery offered CAUSE volunteers a chance to not only give back to those who serve, but also a way to educate others about the healing benefits of massage.
"Muscles cover so much of our body, and just a few minutes of massage can help relieve pain and stress," Koehler said, adding that the post-race massage not only calms the muscles, but also rids the body of lactic acid. ""The lactic flush helps speed up recovery, so the next day they can get their miles in and enjoy the ride."
According to CAUSE massage coordinator Viola Crowder-Moger, the volunteers also had a personal interest in the Killeen-Fort Hood leg of Ride 2 Recovery:
"Some of the riders were our own soldiers," Crowder said of the 19 Soldiers assigned to the Warrior Transition Brigade who were participating in the 2012 ride. "We wanted to support not only them, but the other cyclists, too. "
One of those appreciative of the CAUSE-sponsored massages was WTB soldier, Staff Sgt. Tom Courtright, who is assigned to F Company.
"Words really can't describe how much I appreciate what they're doing and how supportive they are of us," he said, admitting he had never had a massage until he got on the CAUSE massage table. "When I got here, my legs were stiff and my upper back and neck hurt from leaning over so much, but the massage felt wonderful. I almost took a nap! I'll definitely be getting more massages."
Cause is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provide opportunities and programs for recreation, relaxation and resiliency for members of service members recuperating from injuries received in Iraq and Afghanistan. Founded in 2003, CAUSE is located in Fairfax, Va.