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      Benefits of massage

      Health care professionals are increasingly recognizing the medical benefits of massage.

      Marie Chenier of Escanaba was in a 4-wheeler accident four years ago. The trauma of the crash left her in pain in several areas of her body, including her hip and back. At the request of her physical therapist, she turned to massage therapy to help her recover.

      "My hip was numb and full of knots, swollen. The message therapist was actually able to do a deep tissue massage and get the knots out of there, which took the swelling down," said Chenier. By relieving pressure caused by overly tense muscles, Chenier says massage therapy also relieved nerve pressure causing numbness in her hip.

      Elizabeth Thompson, massage therapist and owner of Grand Day Spa in Escanaba, said:

      "When you go to massage school, you learn about the bones, the muscles, blood flow, lymph flow so that you know what is under that skin. You know what to do and what not to do, so you don't hurt the person."

      Margie Haslow, physical therapist at Northwoods Rehabilitation in Escanaba, says, "Massage therapy is very beneficial to promote elasticity in the muscles, relieve tension and spasms. It also increases blood flow to the tissue and injured area. So, it helps in promoting healing."

      Many people may be reluctant to seek massage due to prohibitive costs. But some health care companies are beginning to cover the cost of massage, if prescribed by a doctor.

      After only six treatments, Marie Chenier said her pain is almost completely gone. She credits massage with providing the finishing touch in her recovery.