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The power of touch

Throughout our lives, touch serves to calm anxiety, relieve stress, provide comfort and show support. Touching, in the form of massage, also has healing effects on your mind and body. How it helps

Therapeutic massage involves manipulating the soft tissue of the body to relieve pain and discomfort. It increases blood circulation and improves the flow of lymph, a fluid that carries toxins out of the body. The right touch can also:

  • relieve stress and aid relaxation
  • relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • reduce muscle spasms
  • reduce injury-related pain and swelling
  • reduce blood pressure
  • relieve tension headaches

What to expect

The best way to find a professional massage therapist is to ask friends, family and your healthcare provider for references.

If you are getting a full-body massage, you will probably be asked to disrobe in private. During your session, you will be covered with a sheet. The therapist may use oil or lotion; if you have any allergies, let him or her know beforehand. Relaxing music may be played in the background. Expect to pay at least $45 an hour.

Self-massages can also take the edge off a stressful day. Take a few minutes to rub the muscle that runs from the shoulder to the base of the neck or use your thumbs to make circular movements on the soles of your feet.