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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Massage Comes in Many Flavors—All Tasty

Jul 02, 2013 05:49PM ● By Daralyn Chase

Some people believe massages are a luxury, but others have proven it more than just pampering. Research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association has shown the effectiveness of massage for conditions such as low back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, boosting the body’s immune system functioning, lowering blood pressure and reducing headache frequency.

The McMaster University Department of Kinesiology was the first to test massage effects using a muscle biopsy to show it reduces inflammation, an underlying factor in many chronic diseases. Their work was published the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Massage therapy can also decrease anxiety, help prevent colds, enhance skin tone and more, according to an expert at Massage Envy, in Destin. Licensed Massage Therapist Rebecca Bigham, who provides a variety of massage technique at Massage Envy, agrees that massage provides two types of benefits: immediate and cumulative.

"In general, massage therapist manipulate your muscles, tendons and ligaments by rubbing and pressing typically with their hands and fingers," she says. "Massage can range from light stroking to deep pressure, at times engaging therapist’s elbows and even feet. There are many types of massages that can be customized to meet specific needs." These are some of the best-studied massage techniques for health benefits. 

Relaxation Massage

For people looking to naturally manage their chronic condition, ongoing massage therapy can offer lasting relief. Used to release muscle tension, provide deep pain relief and good for stress-related conditions and chronic pain, in addition to the relaxation, the therapeutic benefits of massage are actually compounded when used as a frequent therapy. Some of the chronic conditions are arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraine and tension headaches, muscular injuries, and plantar fasciitis. 

Deep Muscle Massage

Bigham specializes in deep tissue massage; prenatal, neuromuscular and myofascial. She says, "Using pressure and movement on attachment sights of the muscles are one of the most effective therapeutic massage techniques out there." Deep muscle massage releases muscle tension, provides deep pain relief, loosens scar tissue, lengthens muscles and is good for chronic and overuse injuries. Massage Envy currently employs 16 massage therapists and prides itself on the many varieties of the technique it offers through the vast specialties and expertize of its staff. 

Sports Massage

Jason Semasko focused on sports massage, neuromuscular and deep tissue after attending the Soothing Arts School of Massage, in Destin. He says, "Most people tell me about how much they need a vacation or a massage. We’ll that’s a no-brainer, a massage is your one-hour weekly vacation from the stresses of your daily life." It’s particularly beneficial when an athlete is in training for an event. It’s also helpful for anyone that routinely stretches physical limits through movement. Swimmers, weightlifters, runners, golfers, ball players, skaters, dancers, tennis players, musicians, boxers and weekend warriors all can benefit from sports massage.

Rebecca Garrett, a graduate of Gadsden State Community College, provides many unique massage modalities, including deep tissue, trigger point, cranial sacral, prenatal; therapeutic and recovery work. She says, "Massage awakens the soul, enlightens the mind and provide the body with a sense of balance and well being." 

Prenatal Massage

A wonderful, complementary choice for prenatal care, professional massage therapists work to relieve the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches, joint pain and edema. By relaxing nervous tension, massage can also reduce insomnia and restless sleep while promoting general well-being. When requesting a prenatal massage, always be sure the therapist is certified in prenatal care.

 Cranial Sacral Therapy

This is a gentle technique for releasing muscle and joint tension and tissue restriction. It promotes balance while decreasing stress, and is effective relief for headaches, TMJ and back and neck pain. 

Geriatric Massage

Professional massage therapists utilize specific geriatric massage procedures to increase blood circulation, combat depression, improve balance and flexibility, reduce the pain of arthritis, increase joint mobility, improve posture and encourage overall well-being. 


For those new to massage and interested in trying it out, reflexology is a good way to start. Performed only on the hands and feet via finger and thumb massage, with the client fully clothed, reflexology is based on the belief that specific reflex points on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands correspond with every major organ, gland and area of the body. Lawrence L’Abbe also a graduate of Soothing Arts School, explains, "Healing can be accomplished with the technique of reflexology just through the hand and the feet, because every part the body corresponds to pressure points on the hands and feet."

The staff at Massage Envy encourages everyone to find the form of massage that suits them best. 

Massage Envy is located in the Crystal Beach Plaza, 34904 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Ste. 132, in Destin. For more information, call 850-650-8500 or visit

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