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@Work: David Hammon, Massage Therapist

Dec. 30, 2004 – When David Hammon comes knocking at your hotel, villa or yacht – massage table and all the essentials in tow – something potentially life-changing is about to happen. First of all, it's sure to be a great massage. And second, isn't it about time you do something nice for yourself?
"It's no longer the luxury it used to be. People who start having massages will tell you they can be much more productive and make more money when they feel well," Hammon says.
Hammon is a private practice massage therapist who has been in business for 20 years, 17 of them here on St. Thomas. His menu includes therapeutic, deep tissue, Shiatsu (which is a form of acupressure), and Thai Yoga massage which combines yoga poses, shiatsu and acupressure. For extra healing, try Shirodhara, a treatment based on Indian traditional medicine. A steady stream of warm oil is poured onto the "third eye," relaxing the nervous system, powering metabolism and integrating brain functions.
"Massage will treat about anything," says Hammon. People seek massage mostly for muscular problems, soreness, headaches and stress, but also when they're seeking new ways to live their lives. "People come to be encouraged to take different paths in their lives, like giving up drinking and smoking. People come who have been sick and want to get back on track. They realize massage, yoga, chanting, breathing and meditation can help their bodies become reconfigured in a healthy way." Hammon says exercise should also be part of the equation for staying healthy.
In addition to massage, Hammon also teaches private yoga lessons. He is trained in Integral and Ashtanga yoga. Integral is a yoga tradition created by Swami Satchidananda, who was well known on St. Thomas for his spiritual teachings. Hammon says his push in yoga and massage is to encourage people to learn to calm their minds, calm their nervous systems and nurture themselves.
"A lot of my clients have too much on their plates – they know it and I know it. They work too much and it doesn't give them enough time to be healthy. The stress accumulates in the body, and when the body is tense it weakens the immune systems. When the body is relaxed the immune system becomes alive again."
Since much of Hammon's practice is done one on one, everything is tailored to a person's limitations and exceptions. "Some people are flexible and some are inflexible, some people have patience and some people don't have patience," he says.
Hammon often sees clients several times a week to get them into a yoga program, teaching them postures to aid in relaxing and stretching. And, whether he's seeing a client for massage or yoga, Hammon always leaves them a little better than he found them.
"People walk away much more content than when they came to me. In my heart I know they're better. I'm not taking anything from them. They feel much better in their body than when they came. I am very content to see that happen."
In addition to his private practice, Hammon does massage at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef. He also teaches yoga at the Reef on Tuesday and Friday mornings from 7:20 to 8:30 a.m. Locals and guests are welcome. For a private massage or yoga class, call 340-776-7224, or visit Hammon's website at www.davidhammonbodyworker.com.

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