Tap on Health: Massage Beyond Relaxation
Face down on the soft massage table with soothing music drifting in the warm air around you, stress and pain drift away, replaced by a feeling of relaxation, tranquility and comfort.
Ranada Townsend has been a professional massage therapist for over 25 years and regularly sees patients experience the physiological and psychological benefits of massage in Old Town Hot Springs.
“We get a variety of clients who are very athletic and sports-oriented,” Townsend said. “Whether they’re mountain biking, skiing, golfing or swimming. They are active, they have a healthy lifestyle and when they come for a massage it is because they want to be the best in their sport, prevent injuries and improve their performance.
Physical benefits of massage
If you’ve subscribed to the assumption that massage is an indulgent act of self-care, think again. The tangible benefits of massage therapy for athletes and activity-oriented individuals are numerous.
The physical benefits of massage therapy include, but are not limited to:
• Relieve pain or discomfort caused by injury or athletic activity
• Balance muscle asymmetries to prevent future injuries
• Stimulates healthy circulation and blood flow, flushing out harmful toxins
• Increase range of motion by eliminating muscle tension
Keep doing the activities you love
For Townsend and the other massage therapists at Old Town Hot Springs, the joy comes from seeing clients able to enjoy activities that were previously limited by pain or discomfort.
One client, Townsend shares, was an avid cyclist who had to give up the sport indefinitely due to lower back pain.
“Because of the massages and stretches I was able to provide them, they were able to fly to Italy and ride their bikes,” Townsend said. “It was huge.”
Mental health and well-being
Beyond the physiological benefits of massage, there are also more ethereal benefits, including stress reduction, anxiety reduction, and improved sleep.
“Especially with what we’re going through right now,” Townsend said. “I hear from a lot of clients that I haven’t seen since before the pandemic. They are so excited to get a massage because it’s been so long. Today more than ever, massage is so important to people’s mental health.
For patients who suffer from insomnia, massage therapy can improve sleep quality by engaging the patient’s parasympathetic nervous system and lymphatic drainage system.
“When I was learning lymphatic drainage, I fell asleep, like I was drooling,” Townsend said. “So I realized it could be really beneficial for someone who has insomnia issues.”
All that relaxation can also increase energy on a daily basis. Allowing yourself to be still calms the nervous system, promotes rejuvenation, and improves energy and alertness.
Individuals wishing to experience the benefits of massage should seek out one of the many highly qualified and professionally trained massage therapists in Old Town Hot Springs.
“Here at Old Town, we are very fortunate to have very skilled massage therapists,” Townsend said. “There are a lot of experienced massage therapists here. You can not be wrong.
Sarah Konopka is the Marketing Director of Old Town Hot Springs. To learn more, visit OldTownHotSprings.org/.