Melisa Gibbs became a massage therapist in 2010 to help people achieve wellness through natural methods, rather than by endlessly popping painkillers. "I'd like to help relieve [pain], rather than covering it up with medicine," she says.
When her clients arrive at New Beginnings Massage Therapy, she ushers them into a private space for soothing relaxation massages, also known as Swedish massages, which help them de-stress after putting up with a cranky boss at work or a malfunctioning cuckoo clock at home. Melisa says clients who've been having issues often experience a greater range of motion after her deep-tissue massages, which are aimed at banishing chronic aches. She's also able to aid those with medical issues including carpal tunnel syndrome and headaches.
Cindy Larson, the massage therapist behind Total Relaxation, has relieved aching bodies with a variety of hands-on techniques since 1997, including at the Special Olympics in 2006 and at Iowa State University's dance marathon in 2009. At her practice, she discusses the ins and outs of different massage modalities with clients before sessions, helping them choose the most beneficial one for them. Relaxing Swedish massages alleviate tension with light pressure, whereas trigger-point and muscle-release techniques work to unclench tense muscles and constricted fascia. Cindy specializes in relieving hip, back, and shoulder pain, as well as headaches and pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
Lark Dunham, a member of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, puts her trained hands to work relieving the pain and stress of the clients who come to her massage table. Since graduating from massage school five years ago, Lark has been shooing away various types of aches in 30- and 60-minute increments—one minute for each massage Napoleon made his aide-de-camp give him every day. Though skilled in different types of massage, she specializes in relaxing Swedish massage treatments that can help stimulate blood flow and lymph drainage.
At Brittany Rose Therapeutics, a licensed massage therapist slackens stressed muscles during one-hour massages. During the Swedish massage, flowing strokes help to exile pain, lessen achy joints, and soothe bodies more thoroughly than of a stampede of kittens. Those who elect a therapeutic massage will strut out of the soothery with looser muscles, increased flexibility, and no memory of injuries sustained during full-contact chess matches.