By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jan 25, 2014 at 9:01 AM

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Massage therapy has a long history in many different world cultures and is believed by many to be the oldest form of medicinal therapy practiced on the human body.

Massage was first performed in Eastern China as early as 2700 B.C. and was used to heal many ailments including labor pain and paralysis. In Western culture, massage was introduced much later and was popularized in Sweden during the 19th Century.

In the past few decades, more and more Americans have discovered the benefits of massage therapy and used it for many different conditions such as back pain, nerve damage, arthritis and more. 

It is also integral to some people’s improved emotional state because massage can reduce stress and provide relaxation which can lead to focus, clarity and a more positive outlook in general.

Plus, massage therapy feels really good.

Katie Maedke-Hall is passionate about massage therapy. For almost four years, she has provided the service from her Riverwest-based studio and believes deeply in the physical and emotional benefits of massage.

"I love what I do. I believe that I get as much out of giving a massage as my clients do in receiving it," says Maedke-Hall. "I feel very lucky to be able to say that." recently chatted with Maedke-Hall about the benefits of massage therapy, her favorite massage music and what to do if a client doesn't want to get completely naked for a massage. When did you become a massage therapist? Where did you study?

Katie Maedke-Hall: I graduated in March of 2010 from the Milwaukee School of Massage in Riverwest. I opened my practice in May of 2010. 

OMC: What attracted you to massage therapy?

KM: My professional training began with midwifery, but after having my third child, the on-call life was no longer practical for my family. Once my kids were all school age I sought out work that would feed me in the same way midwifery did. Massage is close. It's a care-taking role that creates an intimate connection and exchange between practitioner and client. 

OMC: Where do you give massages? How often? What type of massages do you give?

KM: I have a studio in the Riverwest Healing Arts building on East Locust Street in Riverwest. I see clients Monday though Friday primarily during school hours. My training covered many modalities and I incorporate them based on each client’s individual needs. I also do some chair massage at summer festivals.

OMC: How long are your massages? How much do they cost?

KM: Most of the massages I schedule are for an hour, that is $55. I offer 90-minute massages for $75 and 30 minutes for $30.I charge $1 per minute for chair massage.

OMC: What are the health benefits of a massage, both physical and mental? 

KM: The benefits of massage are endless: reduces pain, boosts the immune system, reduced anxiety/stress, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, relieves pain/tension, allows for better range of motion, promotes nervous system function, encourages deep sleep. The list goes on and on.

OMC: Think insurance companies will ever support massage therapy?

KM: I believe that if everyone had a massage once a month for maintenance a lot of our society’s issues would resolve. People would have less pain, be happier and more agreeable, allowing for better communication and understanding. 

OMC: Do people get completely naked for a massage? What if someone is shy or uncomfortable about this?

KM: I suggest that my clients completely undress, they are modestly draped with a sheet and blanket through out the entire massage. Most people do but it is always the client's choice if they want to keep their undergarments on. 

OMC: What kind of music do you like to play during a massage? What else about your massage environment is important to you?

KM: I usually play classical music, cello in particular because I played growing up and I love it. I have some clients who bring in their own music. I'm happy to accommodate. 

I spent a lot of time choosing the colors for my studio – it was important to me to find a balance between creating a soothing environment for my clients while keeping me alert while working. I think I got it just right. 

I decorated almost entirely with art that was made by friends of mine which contributes to the good feelings that are created in the space.

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.