Five Reasons You Should Never Feel Guilty Getting a Massage

People everywhere seem to feel guilty about taking time out to look after themselves. It is okay when it is a gym session, because that is perceived to be virtuous and ‘hard work’ – but if all we are investing our time in is an hour or so of being relaxed beyond belief at the hands of a massage therapist, it is as if we are committing a deadly sin by prioritizing our own well-being.

Well, we have news for you. Your well-being is important. Self-care is a vital part of looking after that well-being. Even if you are a busy parent, student or business person, you need to take time to do something good for yourself because if you are depleted and tired, you will have no energy to do anything for the other people who need you.

You know it makes sense.

Sometimes, though, other people can try to make you feel as if indulging yourself in a massage is a waste of time when you could be doing something else (usually what they want you to do). We have come up with five good reasons you can give to other people if they ever give you a hard time for getting your regular massage.

1. A good massage will help relieve muscle tension. Muscle tension can lead to headaches, which put you in a bad mood. Nobody wants a grouchy parent/coworker do they? Therefore, tell them you are going for a massage and that they will thank you for it when you return with a sunny disposition.

2. It helps you sleep! If your insomnia is starting to irritate your family – and wake them up too – tell them you are going for a massage because you don’t want their sleep to suffer along with yours. It is true that a massage helps to boost serotonin levels (which have been proven to help with sleep). Obviously, being tired makes you so much less productive at work too, so a decent massage helps you work smarter.

3. Suffering from chronic pain? It is an expensive business isn’t it? If the cost of your pain meds is starting to mount up, see if getting a massage on a regular basis might help you to reduce the amount of drugs you need to take. Then you will be saving money and not using so many drugs, both of which put you at an advantage.

4. Are you constantly getting colds, coughs and infections that you end up passing on to everyone else? Avoid becoming the office pariah for your germ spreading and try massage instead. Deep tissue and Swedish massage have been proven to support the lymphatic system which is your body’s defense system against illness.

5. They want you to be happy, don’t they? This has to be the #1 reason for a massage, because the happier you are, the more other people will benefit from your improved mood and general relaxed demeanour.

So – you don’t have to make excuses for scheduling in your next massage appointment. Remember, as they say in the commercial – “You’re worth it.”

Sleep Like a Baby

Massage As A Painkiller

A regular massage is often considered to be a treat, rather than a necessity. Most people believe that having a massage is good for aches and pains, or can help if they’ve overdone the exercise. Not everybody realizes that massage therapy is also a powerful painkiller that can even be used to help people with back problems to reduce the amount of medication they must take.

Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain and if you’re one of the 31 million Americans who suffer with back pain at some point in your life, you’ll know how miserable it can be. If you are dealing with chronic back pain – which is pain that has lasted more than three months and less than six – it can impact on your daily life, and stop you doing things you want to do. You could be reliant on drugs to keep you mobile or help you sleep.

The vicious pain cycle

If you can no longer exercise pain-free, you might end up in a vicious cycle of inactivity which makes your pain worse, which stops you being active. Or you could just increase your medications but that just masks the problem. Also, some strong pain medications contain painkiller opioids like codeine which can lose their power over time as you build up a tolerance to their effects. They can also have unwanted side effects.

What you need is a way to manage your back pain that is effective but doesn’t have the side effects. Wouldn’t you know it, research has shown that regular massage along with your prescribed medication and any other advice from your healthcare supplier can be so powerful that you might be able to decrease the number of painkillers you need to manage your back pain and start to live a more active life.

How massage can help beat back pain

A massage session doesn’t just relax you, it can help to promote tissue repair, improve the blood circulation and does wonders for your stress levels and mood. Recent research showed that regular massage therapy combined with exercise helped people suffering from chronic back pain to feel less anxious about their condition too. The study, which took place at a pain management clinic in Western New York, involved sixty chronic low back pain patients who were split into two groups. One group received regular massage therapy, twice a week for four weeks, along with their regular treatment, and one group only carried on with their prescribed treatments.

The participants all recorded their own pain levels before and after having massage therapy on a scale of one to ten. There was a significant difference between the pre-and post-treatment pain rating in the group that had regular massage, but the control group who carried on as normal reported no changes to their pain levels.

If you suffer with back pain and want to try something different – book that massage session now.

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Which is Better, Massage or Stretching?

Massage and stretching are both really helpful ways to keep your muscles relaxed, reduce tension and of course help recovery after an injury. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing to your muscles, which is great if you’ve injured yourself, or if your muscled are stiff because they’ve contracted due to inactivity.

Giving your muscles a really good stretch can stop your muscles from going into painful spasms or cramps, and stop the knots forming in them that take so much work to get rid of when you have a massage!

Regular massage on the other hand improves your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and making them less injury prone in the first place.

What are the differences between massage and stretches – and how do they work together to promote muscle and joint health?

What is a massage? Well, stripped right down, massage is simply a word that’s used to describe the manipulation of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue. Of course there are lots of different types of massage, and techniques that are suitable for different things, but when you go for a massage, this is what your therapist will be doing.

What’s massage good for?
We love a massage for general wellbeing, but medically massage is recognized for more than just making you feel good.

Massage can:

Help strained muscles to heal faster

Reduce swelling and scar tissue if you’re injured

Relieve stiffness and tension in your muscles

Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and fatigue


Stretching does have a lot of similarities to massage, but its main benefit is to relieve the tightness and tension that’s built up in your muscles when you’ve used (and over-used) them. Having a really good, effective stretch can increase the blood flow to your muscles, and this leads to a better range of motion that helps your joints to stay in alignment.

What’s stretching good for?

Stretching properly can:

Improve your circulation

Boost your nerve health – a contracted muscle around a nerve can create pressure that can constrict the blood supply to the nerve.

Make movement easier

Improve flexibility

How can massage and a stretching routine work together?
Daily stretching – to a point where you can just feel it pulling on your muscles – can really help to increase your flexibility, and you can feel the effects in a matter of a few weeks.

Enjoying a regular massage helps to keep your body relaxed and flexible. Massage can release trigger points and muscles in spasm, making your stretching routine even more effective.

You could even opt for a massage which combined facilitated stretches and massage all in one session to give your muscles and tendons a really thorough workout. You can also ask your massage therapist for advice if you have any injuries or are experiencing stiffness in your muscles.

How Can Massage Help After a Car Accident?

Massage therapy can help after a car accident in many ways:  Massage therapy can help alleviate pain and other symptoms associated with a concussion, whiplash or spinal cord injuries. Massage can help with neck pain and knee injuries. It can also help relieve stress, anxiety, emotional trauma or PTSD associated with the accident.

After being in a car accident, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out the best thing to do. From dealing with insurance companies, police reports and the sudden pain and confusion after the accident, it is important to find help from an expert who can advocate for you. Ascension Wellness highly recommends finding medical professionals who have experience working with motor vehicle accident patients as well as an attorney who can help you navigate the legal issues related to a car accident.

When you file your insurance claim, find out if you have personal injury coverage under your plan. If you do, personal injury protection will cover the cost of massage therapy treatment as long as you can prove medical necessity. This can be documented with a prescription from your medical doctor or chiropractor. If you have further questions about massage therapy after a car accident, don't hesitate to call Ascension Wellness today: (206) 878-9355.



What Can Massage Do For You?

What can Massage do for YOU?

Massages are often sold as a purely indulgent treat that you get when you visit a spa or go on vacation, but there’s so much more to massage than just a feel good treat. Did you know that the symptoms of many health problems can be reduced and even eliminated with regular massage?

Here are a few conditions that massage can work really well on; a few you probably know and some that may surprise you!

Read More

Cupping Therapy for Headaches

My name is Angela Tessier. I am a licensed massage therapist and certified cupping therapist at Ascension Wellness in Des Moines. My favorite type of treatment is massage cupping. I am continually amazed by how powerful cupping can be, especially for headaches.

I had a patient come in who has chronic tension headaches. On the day of her appointment, her headache was so severe that she did not want me to even massage her neck or head for fear of it being too painful. During the session, the patient wanted to try cupping for the first time to treat some low back pain. So that is what we did. At the end of the session, I usually turn patients face up and massage their neck and scalp. But since this patient wanted to avoid those areas, I asked if I could just try a little cupping on her neck instead. I only did cupping for about 5-10 minutes on her neck and did not massage there at all. 

At the end of the session, the patient and I were both amazed that the headache was completely gone! I usually spend a full hour doing deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy to treat headaches. I was shocked that the cupping could alleviate the headache pain in only 5-10 minutes.

The type of cups I use for the neck and face are called "bells." The bell cups are very gentle and are unlikely to leave cupping marks on the neck or face. They have an aspirator bulb on one end and a glass cup on the other. The glass is hand blown by a local artisan in the Pacific Northwest.  

For more information on cupping and headaches:




What is your favorite population to work with?

One of my favorite populations to work with is postpartum moms. Childbirth and the stresses of breastfeeding and caring for a small child can contribute to stress, and chronic pain for new moms. Examples are:

 -chronic low back pain after an epidural

-chronic tailbone pain after labor

-numbness and tingling in the hands

-sore arms from carrying the baby 

-sore neck and shoulders from nursing, cosleeping or babywearing

New mothers go through a lot AND they can benefit greatly from massage, for a chance to be nurtured, to actually feel taken care of after many sleepless days and nights caring for someone else.  

A massage is the best thing to do for themselves to recharge, get some long overdue rest and pain relief.  

I have advanced training in prenatal and postpartum massage, was certified in bodywork for the childbearing year. Schedule your postpartum massage today!

Useful Links


Useful Links:


Handling Pain at the Trigger Point


Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals Bodywork Magazine:


Basic Self-Masssage Tips for Myofascial Trigger Points


5 Ways to Give Yourself an Awesome Massage


Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in human

Current Research on Massage Therapy


Multiple 60-Minute Massages per Week Offer Relief for Chronic Neck Pain


Study Determines Optimal Dose of Massage for Osteoarthritis of the Knee Pain Research


Massage Therapy Holds Promise for Low-Back Pain


 Massage Therapy for Lower Back Pain


Benefits of Neuromuscular Therapy


Cupping and Fibromyalgia


Benefits of Massage Cupping Therapy


The Power of Touch


‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine