healthIssue 29

Soothed to the Soul

By Ashley Stinson

It’s no hidden wisdom that life is stressful. Balancing all the demands in your life such as work, your significant other, children, pets, family, hobbies, daily activities, bills, and so on, can take a toll on you. As the stress builds, often your body reacts with physical pain.

Your muscles grow tight and knotted, your joints begin to ache, and you can get increasingly frequent headaches. It can be hard to pull yourself away from all the stressors of everyday life, the tight schedules, all the chores that need to be done, but one of the best things you can do for your health is to take a little time for yourself. And one of the best things you can do for your body is take a time out and get yourself a massage.

There’s no shortage of benefits from massage. Although it might seem simple, the act of rubbing aching muscles and joints can have an amazing effect on tissues throughout the body. The movement of hands across troubled areas can stimulate the production of stress-fighting chemicals which relax muscle tissue and subdue chronic muscle pain. Jamie Ciuffo, massage therapist for Renee’s Day Spa in Modesto, listed many, many health benefits for us.

“Massage therapy reduces pain intensity by diminishing the bodily substance that creates and prolongs pain,” Ciuffo explained. “Massage therapy relieve tension by increasing blood flow, which causes muscles to relax. Massage therapy decreases inflammation by activating genes which naturally reduce swelling.”

The positive benefits of a professional massage seem almost endless. According to Ciuffo, massage can help with many things you’d never expect, such as insomnia, and depression and anxiety. Touch is an important part of keeping the human body healthy, and massage can stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain that balance mood.

For those who experience chronic pain, relief can often be hard to find. Often times, physical therapy and medication can only do so much, and doctors are hesitant to prescribe stronger pain medications to be used over long periods. For individuals whose pain impairs their work, or who have job-related pains and muscle fatigue, this can devastate their career. Luckily, massage offers a cost effective way to reduce or eliminate pain and to restore flexibility to tired muscles.

“In some cases we have saved careers. Of course that’s not just us, it’s us and the client participating in a wellness program,” said Carol Ann Wrangel, owner of Helping Hands Massage and Aromatherapy.

“For instance, ultrasound technicians, all day long constantly in that same motion with the ultrasound, will get issues in their shoulders or their hips or their knees. In one particular story the client came in saying, ‘If this doesn’t get better, I have to change my career.’ And thankfully she’s been with us for six years and she’s still working her career.”

Wrangel estimates that around a quarter of clients are regular visitors to her establishment. And it’s no wonder, when massage can be a powerful tool against all kinds of maladies.

“It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. It can detox your body, it helps with stress, and it can be relaxing,” said Darlene Menghetti, Owner at Spa Magnolia. “It’s a luxury you can’t afford to miss.”

Menghetti heartily agreed about the curative properties of massages, stating that any number of massages can be good for various aches and pains in the back. In fact, Spa Magnolia offers a number of massages that target problem areas, such as the Signature Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Therapeutic Massage, and so many more.

For more information about Renee’s Day Spa, visit and for more information about Helping Hands Massage and Aromatherapy, visit To learn more about Spa Magnolia, visit

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