It's February, the cold is getting old, and it’s time to do something to make you feel good. With that in mind, we’ve done the legwork on local spas, salons and treatment centers that offer unique massages that’ll make you feel a whole lot better, helping to treat your ailments in the process. Whether it’s about lowering blood pressure, balancing energy, treating neuropothy, enhancing muscle health, or simply releasing stress and tension, these massage treatments will stimulate the body’s healing abilities. Now it’s your move.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot Stone massage is one of the new kids on the bodywork block. The treatment uses smooth, flat stones (heated to approximately 125-140°F) which are placed at specific points on the body. Because heat relaxes muscles, this type of therapy is great for those who dislike intense pressure.
Michael Horemans, a long time massage therapist at Spalon Montage, says a warm stone causes more blood flow to the skin, calms the nervous system and opens up muscle fibers. “It really makes our work easier if we want a deeper layer of tension to melt away,” he explains.
The hot stone therapist often places stones on one part of the body while massaging another part, or uses the stone as a gliding instrument across muscles. Stones are also placed on the stomach, in the palms of the hands and sometimes between the toes. The warmth is a welcome feeling during cold winter months.
Although Hot Stone massage seems to have recently exploded onto the spa scene, there’s evidence that stones were used in the same fashion in many ancient civilizations—everything old is new again.
3909 West 49 1/2 St.
Hot Stone massage also available at Massage Envy, The Day Spa, Juut Salonspa, and Zen Experience Massage and Wellness.
This thousand-year-old Eastern healing treatment is a powerful, non-intrusive tool for health and longevity. “Reiki is a form of ‘hands-on-healing’ in which the practitioner works with universal life force energy to restore the client's energy centers (chakras) to their most natural state of flow,” says Denise Obermeyer, manager at The Day Spa.
The balancing of these energies along the spine is said to help restore and strengthen the whole system—mind, body and spirit. Obermeyer also lists Reiki as being especially great for anyone seeking relief from stress, physical pain, anxiety, arthritis, depression and fibromyalgia.
For mega stress relief and rejuvenation, let a Reiki specialist get their hands on you.
7575 France Ave. S.
Reiki also available at Juut Salonspa.
There is no better way to support the hormonal, emotional and bodily changes of pregnancy than to decrease muscular and skeletal strain, improve circulation, respiration and gastrointestinal functioning, and increase the ability to engage a relaxation response.
As if the weight gain and changes in balance experienced by expectant mothers weren’t enough, the additional structural stresses of pregnancy exacerbate any pre-existing troubles in the body.
Prenatal massage provides a unique way to remain comfortable throughout all stages of this delightful time. Estelle Gabriel, master level therapist at Juut Salonspa, encourages women to schedule a series of massages throughout the nine-month period instead of showing up for one special time.
Gabriel finds that women with a habit of massage are more in touch with their bodies and are more relaxed during the natural process of birth. “When you feel loved and nurtured, it is easier to nurture a new baby,” she reminds.
2670 Southdale Cntr.
Prenatal massage also available at Massage Envy, The Day Spa, Spalon Montage, and Zen Experience Massage and Wellness.
The foot contains ‘reflex’ areas that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body. A reflexologist massages and applies pressure to these different points. Places of discomfort on the foot signal areas of congestion in the body, but working on them need not be uncomfortable.
Reflexology requires only gentle manipulation to stimulate the body's healing abilities. “Customers using this service are usually health conscious and educated in the alternative medical world,” says Sandra Wiendels, owner and therapist at Zen Experience—Massage and Wellness.
Knowledge of reflexology’s power is substantiated in depictions painted in the tombs of ancient Egyptians. Even today, people who are incurably ticklish, find this fancy footwork to be relaxing and invigorating.
Zen Experience - Massage and Wellness
1675 Southdale Cntr.
Foot reflexology also available at Spalon Montage, Juut Salonspa and Massage Envy.
As a body grows older it sometimes needs outside encouragement to stimulate blood circulation and maintain muscle health. Geriatric massage techniques provide light pressure which is appropriate to a more fragile frame.
Ashley Mitchell, clinic director at Massage Envy, says that geriatric massage often resembles Swedish massage. “Certified geriatric therapists are more aware of the special needs of older clients to lower blood pressure, improve posture, engage in light stretching and deal with the pain of arthritis,” Mitchell explains.
Massage is great at any age, but a healing touch in the later years can makes a big difference in mobility and mental outlook.
7101 France Ave. S.,
Metropolitan Clinic massage director, Zoë Vaughter, has taught massage for many years and advocates that deep tissue massage is not always about pressure. “Accuracy is better than depth,” she assures.
Deep tissue technique focuses on finding restrictions in the body and working at whatever level is needed to increase range of motion and release tension.
“It’s important to decide, ahead of time, whether you want to do this kind of work,” cautions Vaughter. “It requires breathing through a bit of discomfort. Then you can always follow it up with some relaxation massage.”
7300 France Ave S., Ste. 300
Deep Tissue massage also available at Massage Envy, The Day Spa, Spalon Montage and Juut Salonspa.
Although this form of Asian bodywork closely resembles a more conventional massage, Tui Na works on more than muscles, bones and joints—it works with the deep energy channels of the body.
Tui Na employs compression, holding and pressing along the meridian points of the body that are key to acupuncture. It also uses kneading, tapping, friction, rocking, shaking and gliding, amongst other techniques.
Eileen Zhuo, owner of the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Center, explains that ‘Tui’ means pushing and ‘Na’ means grabbing. “This motion helps direct the flow of chi,” she says. “It’s not just about relaxation, it’s more therapeutic.”
Tui Na does not require disrobing, which can be a make-or-break deal when easing into a massage habit. Keep your garb on and try something new from eastern medicine.
7250 France Ave. S., Suite 308
Manual percussion massage looks like the quick, repetitive karate chops given to a fighter prone on a table after the last round. It works best on the back, neck and shoulders. It also breaks up calcifications and stiffness in the extremities.
Percussion therapy is typically used by chiropractors, but bodyworker Rebecca Jacobson, at Spa-Go, has begun to use percussion massage (with the aid of a massage machine) for the express purpose of releasing blocked energy and for the treatment of neuropothy, which commonly causes numbness and tingling. “People enjoy it and find that their feet have more rotation afterwards,” says Jacobson.
If you are extremely tense, percussion provides a way to bring blood to the surface of the skin and release tight areas. This rigorous motion is sometimes vital as preparation for a more relaxing massage.
3812 W. 51st St.