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Massage: the feel-good antidote to tense muscles

By Maria Geist

The stresses and strains of today’s world take their toll on people of all ages, often resulting in a variety of aches and pains. Driving, sitting at a desk all day or other repetitive activities can create knots in muscles that can leave you in pain day and night.

lavida 1The frequent knots, headaches, stiff necks, tightness in the shoulders and pain from arthritis or other conditions that restrict movement frequently result in a visit to the doctor. A pain reliever can help in the short term, but over time, the surest path to wellness is to rid yourself of the knots.

A healthy diet, plenty of water, regular exercise and a relaxation routine can all help with the pain resulting from injury, tight muscles or illness. But it takes time, and time is a rare commodity these days. How can we find faster relief?

Barbara Potes, a massage therapist at LaVida Massage in Gainesville, Va., says massage can often help alleviate discomfort quickly.

“It’s great for people under a lot of stress,” Potes said, explaining that trigger points, or knots, can sometimes form under the skin causing pain with movement. These knots – a buildup of waste attached to muscles – need to be carefully manipulated and worked out to relieve the strain.

Potes, a certified therapist for nine years, practices four major types of massage:

Deep tissue massage, one of the most requested types of treatment, involves deep muscle manipulation, which helps to relieve tightness and pain related to trigger points.

Hot stone massage gives you the benefits of deep tissue without the pressure. Heated stones of various sizes are placed on the body, warming up the muscles, penetrating more deeply and fully than hands, resulting in maximum relaxation.

Prenatal massage, once a no-no for uncomfortable mothers-to-be because it was believed to induce labor, have become mainstream in recent years. Although certain pressure points must still be avoided, pregnant women can now seek relief from sciatic pain, nerve pressure and other discomforts related to pregnancy.

Sports massage is a combination of deep tissue and stretching. Athletes often suffer from tight muscles, and their limited range of motion can sometimes be to blame. Such limitations can lead to injury such as sprains or breaks, surgery and scar tissue.

Lots of people get massages monthly or even weekly, but if that isn’t in your budget, here’s how to make the most of a massage so the effects will last.

  • Don’t sit for hours at your desk working nonstop. Stretch out your arms, shoulders and neck and walk around every so often.
  • Try to manage your stress; health issues can be warded off with proper relaxation techniques.
  • Stretch on a regular basis to keep your muscles loose and flexible.
  • Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water.



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