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July 18, 2005

AARP Tries A Smorgasbord of Massage Modalities

A reporter for AARP experiences firsthand five modalities of massage, and gives her reactions to each.

Thai Massage:

After 90 minutes of this, I felt like pulled taffy. But I was surprised to find how tension-relieving a full nelson could be. I felt as if I were radiating endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. And my knees felt…fine! No pain.

The Rosen Method:

"This is one powerful massage!" I told her afterward.

"It's not massage," she corrected me gently. Like many practitioners of touch therapy, she preferred the word "bodywork." (Legally, the distinction is murky; all massage is bodywork, but not vice versa. A lot has to do with state licensing boards.)

Bodywork, schmodywork. This wasn't like any massage I'd ever had.

Myofascial Release:

I was relieved when he began pancaking his way up to my pecs and shoulders; I was even more relieved when his kneading took away my shoulder pain.

Ayurvedic Massage:

When it was over, a specially rigged curtain descended from the ceiling and formed a tent around me with just my head protruding. The tent heated up and I found myself shedding toxins in a personal steam bath. Nice.

Medical Massage:

Firmly but gently, my masseuse used strokes of friction and pressure to counter ischemia—a condition in which the blood doesn't flow properly to the muscle. I can only tell you that it felt wonderful. This experience led to my deepest and most enlightened massage insight: you don't need to be mauled to feel the benefits of massage and you also don't have to understand all the principles in order for the process to work.

Posted by linda at July 18, 2005 9:33 PM

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