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Courtesy of Metro Creative

Massage therapists are available locally to provide stress relief and relaxation.

Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.

Terri Dydiw was looking for a little bit of stress relief and a vehicle to feel better after her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer about a decade and a half ago.

She has been a constant believer that massages truly do help the mind and body.

“It really helps with stress,” the Washington resident said.

“It can make a big difference in attitude.

“I started because of my mother’s diagnosis. My siblings and I knew there was a chance we could get it. I’ve done them ever since.”

Dydiw also practices yoga to go along with the massages.

“They complement each other,” she said. “They go hand-in-hand. I would absolutely recommend (messages).”

Dydiw is a patron of Crossroads Chiropractic Clinic, West Chestnut Street, Washington.

Elizabeth Barclay, a licensed massage therapist at Crossroads, said most who come to the clinic have “some kind of muscular issue.”

She added the profile of others seeking comfort from massage include those who suffer from headaches, back issues or athletes looking for help with muscle performance.

“A lot of people hold stress in muscles, mostly in the neck and through the shoulder blades,” Barclay said.

Lore Lei Patrick, who has a studio on Main Street, Washington, features Reflexology — a discipline of both health and therapy of the feet.

“Reflex of the feet is stimulating,” she said. “That stimulation affects the whole person and whole body — emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s a total mind and body discipline.

“Reflexology balances all aspects of a person. People are looking for balance. It is not a foot message. It’s much more therapeutic.”

Patrick said the process does relieve pain, tension and stress. It can also improve circulation, invigorate muscles and allows the body to relax.

“It detoxifies, improves blood flow,” Patrick said. “I’ve had people come in and they said it changes patterns, gives them more hope and allows them to be happier and see the world in a more positive way.”

According to mayoclinic.org, a massage can be a powerful tool to help one “take charge” of one’s health and well-being.

At the same time, a massage used to be available only through luxury spas and upscale health clubs.

Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports.

Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure.

There are many different types of massage, including these common types:

  • Swedish massage: This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping. It helps you feel relaxed and energized.
  • Deep massage: This massage technique uses slower, more-forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s commonly used to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage: This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage: This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

Massage benefits can include:

  • Reducing stress and increasing relaxation;
  • Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension;
  • Improving circulation, energy and alertness;
  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure;
  • Improving immune function.

Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.

Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can contact Chris Slota at 724-225-1326 or by email at chris@belocal.net. Discount cards are available at the Observer-Reporter and Almanac office, 122 S. Main St., Washington.

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