They can take one look at you and know what you need without you saying a word.
They are massage therapists, and they are trained to reduce the stress in your life.
Massages relax you and relieve certain pains, and therapists are familiar with clients reporting tense shoulders and necks.
But sometimes they have to aid a bit more.
Massages can help treat side effects of certain illnesses.
Pain can be a side effect of several ailments like cancer, fibromyalgia, scoliosis and multiple sclerosis. Massages release endorphins, brain chemicals designed to relieve pain, according to the National Cancer Institute.
With cancer patients, the therapy can increase their pain medications’ effects and decrease inflammation and pain caused by muscle spasms and tension.
When it comes to the possible back pain of scoliosis and multiple sclerosis, massage can reduce it by blocking nociceptors. Nociceptors are nerve cell endings that respond to pain, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Massage can also increase circulation, which will reduce swelling and numbness.
This can help diabetics, who will sometimes have their blood’s “circulation build toward their feet,” according to Nick Chipman of Aiken’s Herbal Solutions.
Diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can cause feelings of depression and anxiety. Massage therapists can assist with these symptoms, too.
Their practice has been said to likely have impact on certain neurotransmitters or brain chemicals that communicate with the rest of your brain and body.
The neurotransmitters that the therapy could impact are serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine – items than when imbalanced can cause depression and anxiety.
The ultimate benefit of massage is relaxation. It lowers blood pressure, increases energy and causes your muscles to unwind and stress to disappear.
There are several different types of massages.
The Swedish is the most traditional one, Chipman said. It does not call for a lot of pressure yet relaxes the whole body.
There is also the therapeutic massage, which is deeper than the Swedish and more spot specific, according to Toni Byrd, Chipman’s co-worker.
Hot stones and oils can also be used.
The biggest challenge for massage therapists can be simply getting their patients to relax.
“It’s hard to get people there,” Byrd said. “(Patients) are always in that fight or flight response.”
Therefore, the therapists are trained to do their part to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
They do an intake on you to learn your reasons for the therapy.
Then, they take you into a dim room. Music plays overhead. Candles might be lit; flowers might be present. However, it all comes down to you.
If you don’t want to talk, then don’t. If you are nervous, tell them.
“You always want the client to be comfortable,” Chipman said.
Afterward, it is recommended you drink plenty of water, stretch and relax.
Chipman and Byrd both graduated from the Augusta School of Massage. They are joined by therapists Jean Singleton and Samantha Rearden.
For more information, visit www.twoherbalsolutions.com or call 803-649-9286.
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner Massage therapist Toni Byrd uses lights, candles and salt rocks to help set a calming mood for her clients.×
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