Frequently Asked Questions

Therapeutic massage and bodywork offer multiple benefits. Not only does good bodywork offer a natural, holistic approach to healing and moving toward true wellness – it also feels great! It is now well established, by a large body of scientific research, that therapeutic massage can reduce your overall stress level and help resolve a wide range of specific conditions. For what conditions can massage be helpful? Some of the problems or conditions for which therapeutic massage is beneficial include:

  • accident rehabilitation and recovery
  • sports training, sports injuries, and event recovery
  • accelerating healing of acute injuries
  • minimizing formation of scar tissue from injury or surgery
  • healing chronic or overuse injuries
  • improving long-term postural habits
  • healing whiplash, lumbago, other neck or back pain
  • alleviating some “sciatica” conditions
  • alleviating tension-related headaches
  • alleviating TMJ syndrome
  • pregnancy – reduce swelling, promote comfort
  • treating lymphatic conditions
  • enhancing circulation
  • reducing insomnia
  • reducing anxiety / relieving mental or emotional stress
  • releasing physical effects of ongoing stress
  • increasing your overall sense of wellbeing

Yes, massage doesn’t just “feel like” it relieves stress; it actually does reduce stress. There’s been a great deal of research on this. Typically the research examines various physiological and biochemical markers of stress.

One major stress marker is cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenals in response to stress; cortisol is known to decrease immune function. Other major markers include serotonin and dopamine, beneficial neurotransmitters (they send messages between nerves) that affect mood, appetite, sleep, physical energy, movement, balance, memory, and learning.

A team of scientists recently reviewed over 30 research studies on the biochemical effects of therapeutic massage and summarized the results in a paper published in the International Journal of Neuroscience. The results indicated that, on average, levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased 31 percent. At the same time, the desirable neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine increased an average of 28 percent and 31 percent respectively. These numbers are impressive! Equally impressive is the fact that these beneficial changes held across studies focusing on diverse groups of clients — including healthy individuals, people suffering from job stress and other emotional stress, and people suffering from specific autoimmune disorders, pain syndromes, depression, HIV, breast cancer, chronic fatigue, and other health problems.

Of course, massage feels good for many reasons! But it’s nice to know that measurable beneficial changes in your blood and body chemistry are among the benefits you receive from massage.

Deep-tissue therapeutic massage is the most-requested treatment here, so our priority in building our therapist team has been to recruit the best massage therapists we can. Interpersonal skills are assessed through a face-to-face interview, and massage skills are assessed through interview treatments in which the therapists are rated on 12 different aspects of professional knowledge and skills. Our LMTs are all very talented and very serious about developing their skills to the highest level. All of us had more training than we were required to have to obtain a state license, and we continue to benefit from in-house mentoring and skill-sharing as well as professional education courses elsewhere.

Before your first massage, you will need to complete an intake form. (Our form is one-page, double-sided, and asks simple questions related to medical problems and old injuries.) Your therapist will review the form and conduct a brief interview, asking a few questions about your medical history and any preferences you may have in relation to your treatment.

A full-body therapeutic massage traditionally includes the back and neck, scalp and face, shoulders, arms and hands, upper chest, abdomen, gluteal area, front and back of the legs, and feet. Many clients request extra attention for a focal area (for example, the back or legs) and/or request that an area be skipped.

After the interview, your therapist will leave the treatment room while you disrobe and settle in on the massage table, where you will be under a sheet (and a blanket if you wish). During the treatment, you remain fully draped except for the area of the body being treated at a given time (your left leg, for example). You are of course able to continue to communicate with the therapist about ways s/he can ensure that you are comfortable and that the massage meets your needs, for example in terms of your preferences for pressure.

After the treatment, your therapist will leave the room while you dress. Then you can share additional feedback with the therapist, who will make notes for future reference and may suggest stretches or offer other simple recommendations for self-care.

The American Massage Therapy Association conducts occasional surveys on the use of massage and what massage consumers say, and provides summaries of these surveys on their website. For example, 24 percent of Americans had a professional massage in 2006, and those seeking relief from pain found massage therapy more effective than most other forms of treatment.

Lotus Center therapists are always eager for feedback from our clients on how to meet your needs as effectively as possible. Please return to our home page to view testimonials from satisfied clients.

For thousands of years, the lotus flower has been admired as a sacred symbol. This striking plant is a common icon in the art of several Eastern spiritual traditions. To some, the lotus represents truth, goodness, beauty, purity, and divinity. Certain meditation practices involve visualizing the heart as a lotus flower unfolding. In yoga, the lotus posture is used by those who seek to achieve higher levels of consciousness.

The lotus is an aquatic plant and grows in shallow water, rooted in mud. The stems reach to the surface, where the leaves grow and where the flower may bloom even under difficult conditions. Thus the lotus symbolizes the evolution of our consciousness and our ability to rise beyond base impulses to achieve the full enlightenment to which we all (consciously or unconsciously) aspire.

Biologically, the lotus is an impressive plant. Research has shown that the flower can actually self-regulate its own temperature, perhaps as a means of better attracting insect pollinators. Research has also shown that the seeds of the lotus, stored under suitable conditions, can remain viable for hundreds or even thousands of years.

The flowers and leaves of the plant are edible and rich in nutrients. The leaves are used as food, often as a kind of vegetable wrap for other foods. The flowers are used as an edible garnish or in teas and a variety of traditional natural medicines. Some believe that the essence of the fragrant lotus flower enhances healing on every level.

Lotus blossoms open and close with each sunrise and sunset. This opening and closing of the petals is said to represent the universe, eternity, and all of creation, folding and unfolding through cycles of time. It also represents the story of the human soul, striving through cycles of birth and rebirth to reach the highest levels of awareness and equanimity.

Got Questions?

We would love the opportunity to answer your questions about therapeutic massage!  Give us a call at 520-326-7700, or send us a message via the Contact page.  If our front desk staff aren't able to answer your question, we’ll relay it to the massage therapists and do our best to get back with you soon.