Reframing Massage: Not an Occasional Luxury, But a Wellness Necessity
by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
When you hear the word “massage,” you might be inclined to associate it with an extravagance you don’t have enough time or space in your budget for. Images of chanting music, burning incense or kneading muscles come to mind, and the whole experience just seems too “indulgent” in a culture that glorifies busyness and productivity.
What all too often goes unnoticed, however, is that a massage is holistically healing in the physical, mental and spiritual sense—there is a legitimate reason it’s called “massage therapy,” in fact. Designating even one hour each month in your schedule for a massage is not some frivolous expense or impractical waste of time. It’s an investment in your wellness, an invitation to unwind and recharge from the pace of this frenetic world that can otherwise leave you feeling consumed or depleted. Massage is not gratuitous—it’s foundational to health maintenance.
“Massage offers numerous, far-reaching benefits for both the mind and body,” enumerates Eric Seace, owner-operator of the three Sarasota Massage Envy locations. “Our clients tend to enjoy the stress, tension and pain relief, increased flexibility, reduced blood pressure, enhanced sleep, improved focus and greater internal balance, so they can be more engaged as parents and spouses and more productive in their careers.”
This restored feeling of harmony extends outside just the physical to create a positive impact on all facets of life, whether in a social context, family dynamic, work setting or personal growth area. But of course, this modality can do wonders for the strength, well-being and function of the body too—not to mention, there’s a diverse array of massage techniques to address all kinds of preferences or needs.
Seace illustrates, “We offer a multitude of options, ranging from Swedish massages designed to melt away stress and encourage relaxation, to deep-penetrating sports massages aimed to relieve or prevent injuries, increase circulation and target flexibility. In total, we employ about 100 massage therapists, all with their own specialties, so when scheduling an appointment, we assist in pairing your desired massage style with the perfect therapist.”
One regimen, in particular, is a new form of bodywork developed by Massage Envy in response to their clients’ increased levels of fitness. The more active a person’s lifestyle becomes, the more demand there is for tension release and injury avoidance which is exactly what this technique, called the Streto Method, strives for. “This premier, customizable assisted stretching service is designed to relax the mind as the body is stretched,” Seace explains.
“Our total body stretch providers are trained to perform specific movements that deliver more results than you can achieve when stretching on your own. Regular assisted stretching increases flexibility which, in turn, improves mobility and leads to a better performance. Our favorite combination is the 30-minute stretch prior to a 60- or 90-minute massage. We call it ‘turbo charging’ your massage!”
So we’ve established that massage is a keystone of health, rejuvenation and equilibrium—not some guilt-inducing luxury. But how frequently should it be integrated as an adjunct to your wellness or self-care routine? Seace weighs in, “Everyone is different, but at least twice a month seems to be an ideal balance, although we have many clients who come once a week!
“We have found that when our clients receive regular massages, even once a month for three to four consecutive months, they will rarely stop that momentum. Once they experience the benefits of consistent massage—not just once a year—they begin to understand just how important and rewarding this modality is.” And if you feel pampered or indulged in the process...well, that’s just an added bonus!
Eric Seace and his partner Pete Kapinos own and operate the three Sarasota Massage Envy franchises. Loren Niswander owns and operated the Port Charlotte franchise. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit MassageEnvy.com and search “Locations.”
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota–Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer based in Southwest Florida. Her personal blog HealthBeAHippie.Wordpress.com features practical tips for embracing an active, nutritious and empowered lifestyle.