Treating your Health to a Massage

By Elana Pruitt © 2005-2009 Editor

As we respond to the dog days of summer with ice cream stops, chilled six-packs, and indoor lounging about with that special someone, these carefree days are commonly followed by the health-conscious wave of exercise and diet. But as seasons change and habits shift, scheduling time for body rejuvenation doesn’t have to mean sacrificing time away from your sweetie. While plastic surgery continues to enhance a person’s image, massages are proven to relax overworked muscles, as well as alleviating emotional and physical stress from your body. So getting a massage can turn into a time-for-two – treating your own health to a massage and spicing up your relationship.

Finding time to ease up on work, family, and financial stress to focus on our health and well-being, is a continuous challenge for men and women alike. In light of Cupid, spending “quality time” together can take on a new meaning, replacing late night drinks with massage therapy to reconnect with your partner.

“Many people forget that massage is not just a luxury – in our stressful times, massage has become a necessity,” says Evan A., president of GoMassage.

The Los Angeles-based company reaches out to a diverse clientele currently in Southern California, such as production companies, recording studios, and sports teams. With massage therapists offering holiday and romantic rubdowns like “The Secret Admirer Massage” or “The You’re My Ex But You’re Still OK Massage” in the convenience of a client’s location, Evan knows the importance of one.

“Besides being beneficial for sleep disorders, eating disorders, smoking cessation, depression, and more,” he says. “If touched the right way, massage can provide an emotional release – allowing recipients to let go of emotional baggage that their body was holding onto.”

In terms of holistic healing, studies have shown that the health benefits of massages are numerous. They are known to increase circulation; relax and soften injured and overused muscles; reduce spasms and cramping; increase joint flexibility; reduce recovery time for strenuous workouts; release endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer; relieve pain for migraine sufferers; and stimulate the lymph system against toxic invaders.

Acknowledging massage enthusiasts like Winona Ryder, Sean Connery, and Bill Cosby, Evan explains that there really is no such thing as massage overload. Rather, that it is only potentially dangerous if a massage therapist applies too much pressure on a regular basis. “You should let your body dictate how much pressure you can take,” he says.

Many plastic surgery aftercare centers specialize in massage therapy, which is commonly used to help speed up the recovery process and help increase mobility among post-operative patients. Individualized touch, ranging from light to deep tissue massage, should depend on the type of surgery a patient has undergone, or the type of disease a patient may have.

“Research shows therapeutic massage is an effective compliment to traditional medical care for women suffering from the trauma of undergoing a lumpectomy, mastectomy or breast reconstruction,” according to The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). “Pre-surgery, massages help relax muscle tissue and increase the flow of lymph. Post surgery, women who use specialized lymph drainage techniques from a well-trained massage therapist as part of their treatment for lymphedema may experience less pain and swelling, as massage helps disperse build-up of lymphatic fluid.”

According to The AMTA, “Physicians and other healthcare providers are increasingly recommending massage therapy to their patients as a supplement to traditional health care. Consumers surveyed over the last three years say that when they discuss therapeutic massage with their physicians, more than 70 percent respond favorably.”

Whether treating yourself to a single massage session, giving that gift to a friend or spouse, or helping to alleviate strain during your recovery, this type of treatment is still highly regarded as a romantic activity for couples.

With a full-time practice in northeast San Diego County, massage therapist Katherine L. Kurner consistently facilitates non-verbal communication sessions with couples. Developed about three years ago, “Massage by Katherine” focuses on “therapy for the mind, body and soul.”

“My course is geared at helping couples connect so they will know how to give relief to each other,” says Kurner. “It is set up as a course to teach them something.”

She visits a couple in their home about once a month, engaging them in a private, three-hour session, where she teaches four different techniques used for stress relief, relaxation, and sensual stroking. In this course, Kurner also teaches couples how setting up ambience through candles and lighting can benefit their massage experience, which should greatly contribute to the connectedness between partners.

While some couples prefer massaging one another through therapy, many still like getting individual treatment in each other’s presence.

“There’s nothing like receiving a massage with your partner from two therapists simultaneously,” Evan says. “It’s a great way for two of you to connect to each other and experience the joy of letting all your troubles melt away.”