June 1, 2006

Massage helps sooth pain of Indonesia quake victims

KLATEN, Indonesia (Reuters) - Elderly Indonesian masseurs
in the country's earthquake-devastated Java region have found
themselves in high demand as traumatized survivors seek
alternative treatment to soothe their pain.

Two masseurs have been hired by a real estate company in
Semarang, the provincial capital of Central Java, to offer the
free alternative treatment.

Many survivors suffer from bruises and broken bones after
being struck by debris as their homes crumbled.

Suparjo, 61, has suffered from persistent headaches and had
trouble walking since the magnitude 6.3 quake rattled
Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces at dawn on Saturday.

More than 6,200 people perished and about 130,000 were made
homeless after the quake struck, flattening thousands of homes.

More than 30 people at Suparjo's village were killed.

"You are suffering from stress," the masseur, 73-year-old
Yoso Dumeri, told Suparjo. "A lot of people here are suffering
from stress and high blood pressure because of the quake."

The masseurs apply pressure points on the nerves to restore
the blood flow -- a procedure so painful it can make patients

"It hurts like hell but I feel so much better now. My
headache is gone," Suparjo said.

Ponim, a 45-year survivor, could not sleep after the quake.

"I have trouble breathing. Maybe because I was so
exhausted. I couldn't even swallow food," she said.

"I visited the masseurs yesterday. They massaged my
shoulder and fingers. I am fine now. I can sleep again. Some
people even come here after being treated by doctors," she
said, smiling.