By Jean Sheff
Massage. Just saying the word can inspire rest and relaxation. The benefits of this therapeutic technique go well beyond what might be considered hedonistic indulgence.
After speaking to several experts in the field, we’ve found that massage can be an effective remedy for everything from muscle pain to insomnia to mental well being.
Literally down the block from the Chappaqua train station where hundreds of commuters pile their way into and out of town each day is Emmary Day Spa, where the antidote to daily stress is served.
Susan Beirne, a massage therapist at Emmary, says massage is overall a great stress reducer. “I’ve seen people come through the door looking like a train wreck and right after a massage walk out with a sense of physical relief,” she says.
According to Beirne, massage also has many medical applications. “Massage is a beneficial treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries and chronic pain,” she says. “It can also be great for pregnancy.” Beirne says the medical establishment is increasingly looking at massage as a real way to treat medical conditions.
“Massage increases circulation, and the flow of warm blood brings nutrition to the muscles,” she says.
Some of the pain problems she helps clients deal with are a result of poor daily habits. “We sit hunched over computers and desks or slouched in chairs and couches, all of which is terrible for your posture,” she says.
Sleeping positions can also cause back pain. Beirne says sleeping on your stomach is the worst possible position, sleeping on your side with your knees bent is preferable and sleeping on your back is best.
Massage gives you a greater sense of body awareness, which can help you sit, stand and sleep properly. Since you are doing either one of these activities 24/7, massage sounds like a sound investment as a well as a great way to feel good. Emmarydayspa.com
“Massage has so many benefits, it can increase circulation, relieve tension and promote relaxation,” says Elizabeth Rutigliano, the lead massage therapist at the Ritz-Carlton Spa in White Plains. While Rutigliano is careful to make sure she identifies what each client needs most, she says generally speaking many people need work on their neck, back and shoulders.
Often deep tissue massage is recommended to relieve the pain of chronic tension. “A light massage reaches the superficial muscles while deep tissue can help with muscle adhesions,” she says. “I’ve seen massage help people sleep better, increase their range of motion and develop better posture.” ritzcarlton.com/westchester
Stepping off the elevator you immediately understand why this space is called an oasis. With more than
a dozen different massages on the menu, Oasis Day Spa in Dobbs Ferry has the healing tools needed for what- ever ails you.
Owners Marti and Bruce Schoenberg have spent years in the spa industry and run two other highly successful spas in New York City. While massage can do much for the body Marti Schoenberg says it can also be especially healing for the mind and spirit. “Massage can increase concentration and help you develop and maintain emotional and spiritual balance,” she says.
These days when most people are overworked and over scheduled, massage can offer a respite and sense of grounding. “Massage can help people learn how to live in the present moment and help them break free from constant worrying about the past or future,” says Schoenberg.
For some, massage can induce a meditative state. “Massage teaches people how to relax, how to get in touch with their body and allows them to reconnect with who they are.”
What makes a great massage? Every therapist has their own touch and each client has a preference for the type
of touch they prefer. “People need to communicate with the therapist,” says Schoenberg.
“Let the therapist know how much pressure you like, what temperature you’d like the room to be or anything else that you find important in creating your best experience.” Therapists are trained to handle preferences and do not take requests personally. Communicating with your therapist is an important component that can help insure you receive a great massage. Oasisdayspanyc.com
Massage can be powerful medicine. At the new Bellava MedAesthetics & Spa in Bedford Hills, where James R. Lyons, M.D., the well-known board-certified plastic surgeon, offers aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine, massage is, of course, also on the menu.
Owner Erica Breining says, “Massage is definitely therapeutic.” In this upscale, modern establishment, you can have a Shirodhara massage, an ancient Ayurvedic healing treatment where warm oil is poured and massaged into the forehead and scalp, a deep tissue or aromatherapy massage, facial or other body treatment.
Bellava’s site points out that today life has never been more stressful. Spa services in a tranquil environment helps clients leave their worries behind and revive body, mind and spirit. “Massage is practically a necessity in this fast paced world we live in,” says Breining. Massage therapist Nancy Hoffman applies her tender touch to the tension that may have settled in your body.
You’ll start your journey nestled in a comfy robe in the lavender and gray- toned relaxation room, but this is just the beginning of your adventure.
It won’t be long before you’ll see that Hoffman’s healing hands can take away the stress of daily living. Bellavaspa.com
Jean Sheff is a writer, editor, Pilates instructor and massage enthusiast.