Healing touch is the perfect gift

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

Here we are, once again embracing the Valentine’s Day conundrum.  For some, this holiday signifies the epitome of romance….usually for those of the female persuasion!  For the gentlemen, however, there is often much angst and confusion over selecting the “perfect gift” for their loved one.  Good news, guys…a recent research study indicated that for a majority of women interviewed, a couples massage ranks among the top three gifts they could possibly receive. 

Not only have we just taken all of the mystery and guesswork out of your shopping, but you can delight your valentine with a gift that keeps on giving!  Massages have been shown to confer a variety of therapeutic benefits, particularly for those individuals who exercise on a regular basis.  Stress release tops the list of benefits; even a single massage session can significantly lower heart rate, cortisol and insulin levels, all of which help reduce daily stress.   By encouraging and allowing the body to enter a relaxed state, stress eases away, and the release thereof lingers long after the massage is over.

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While we usually think of “congestion” as occurring solely in our nasal passages during colds or a bout of the flu, all bodily fluids are capable of becoming congested at various points throughout our delicate systems. The pressure created by massage therapy facilitates the movement of blood and lymph through congested areas, enabling ease of flow which in turn will result in improved body function.

Whether the culprit is sitting all day at a desk job, or the result of a “weekend warrior” session on the racquetball courts, stiff joints and tight muscles can lead to poor posture.  Massage therapy can help access the root of persistent pain by relaxing tense muscles and helping keep joints more fluid.  This single benefit can lead to an increase in flexibility, rendering an athlete less prone to injury. Studies have also indicated that receiving massages at regular intervals can help boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity–the activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”.  As the body is being manipulated, more oxygen and nutrients are being pumped into tissues and vital organs.

This Valentine’s Day, or any day you feel you deserve a boost in your internal health, seek out a trained Massage Therapist.  Take a deep breath…and RELAX as your body heals!