Taking a break with massage therapy

Anzhelika Tolstikhina

Anzhelika Tolstikhina

Spring break, for each student, has a different meaning, but only one common association unites all of the Ichabods. It is a week to unwind from ongoing stress.

Washburn Review reporters have taken this week-long break and made sure to enjoy every day of it. While some reporters visited interesting events, art galleries and traveled to different parts of the country, I decided to invest in my health by visiting a massage therapist. Surprisingly, it never crossed my mind before until one of my acquaintances mentioned having his own home-based massage therapy program. All of a sudden, a massage seemed like a great opportunity to fully relax before the semester resumed.

For most Ichabods, a college career does not end in the classroom because of the many other responsibilities students need to keep up with such as jobs, co-curricular activities, hobbies and volunteer work. All of these high-maintenance aspects serve as a big determinant of the future success. The “catch-22,” however, is a risk of stress-related symptoms, among which are muscle tension, back pain and negative effects on the nervous system itself.

Often, students underestimate the importance of recreation therapies that do not only help our physical body, but simply rest our brain activity. As for myself and others, massage treatment seemed more as a luxury that didn’t fall into my budget, but only before I found out how worthwhile this service is.

Even though I had an idea of massage benefits, experiencing the therapy became a highlight of the entire spring break. Massage therapist Denton Murray used a common technique that focuses on relieving tension in a back, neck and shoulders, where I, like most other people, carry the most stress.

“I think it’s benefitial for everyone, because it helps our muscle and our body to relax, relieve tension, especially for the students, who tend to work in front of their computers, text, take notes and read,” Murray said.

All of these activities cause shoulders to come forward and round up, which tightens muscles that surround the neck. A deep tissue massage of those areas left me feeling rejuvenated, and what is more interesting, I became more attentive to my body in general. The massage helped me to discover the pain areas and knots that I completely ignored before. Now I know how much better my back, neck and shoulders can feel.

Given how much relief I felt after the massage, I began considering moving this therapy into my regular wellness routine.

This thought led me to investigate into the topic, which resulted in finding out about other incredible benefits of the massage. Most of all, it reduces stress and anxiety levels that negatively affect the function of the body including increased heart rate and blood pressure. Just one hour of simply resting on a massage bed without electronics but with relaxing melodies in the background helped me alleviate the daily stress and clear my mind. Massage therapy is known for enhancing immunity through stimulation of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for the elimination of waste products out of body tissues.

“The interesting part of it is that lymph circulation is dependent on muscular pressure either through exercise or massage,” Murray said.

Truly, active lifestyles help immunity, but prolonged or vigorous levels lead to increased metabolic wastes that should be eliminated through massages to feel your best. I felt that my massage dramatically calmed my nervous system because I felt more freedom in movement and rejuvenation. No other therapy could provide a better care for my back, neck and shoulders.