Want to take your massage to the next level? Try these five
The scent of Play-Doh. The crunch of fresh snow
under your feet. The sound of a music box.
Our senses are powerful, and they affect all our experiences.
And engaging multiple senses simultaneously makes for richer
experiences and more enduring memories.
Massage may be the ultimate when it comes to the sense of touch,
but it, too, can be enhanced by involving other senses.
"When other senses are engaged during massage, it tends to be a
more enjoyable experience," says Anne Williams, a massage therapist
and director of education for Associated Bodywork & Massage
Professionals. "Enhancers add a wow factor-a richness that might
not have otherwise been there."
Here are five ways the senses can be heightened during
It's no secret that a soothing environment makes for the best
massage. The table, sheets, room temperature and body position-all
factor in during a therapy session. "If you're not comfortable for
any reason, you won't have as good of an experience," Williams
says. "Definitely speak up if you're too hot or too cold or if
something doesn't feel right. Don't hesitate to ask for what you
The sense of smell is closely linked to mood. "Aromas are
emotional. When you inhale a particular aroma, it can have a number
of different effects, including relaxation or alertness," Williams
Massage Envy now offers the option to engage your sense of smell
with its new AromaTherapy
massage enhancement. Choose one of four blended scents (see
sidebar), unique combinations of four to six different oils, that
your therapist will mix into your own custom massage lotion. Pick
your favorite based on desired mood or aroma preference. You'll
derive the benefits of the essential oils through inhalation and
massage is phenomenal," Williams says. "It involves applying
heat to specific muscles in a very specific way." During hot stone
massage, the therapist will position hot stones over areas of the
body by placing the stones over a towel. The warmth penetrates
through the towel, relaxing tight muscles and increasing local
circulation. The therapist also may hold the stones as he or she
applies massage techniques. The stones increase circulation to the
area and relax muscles. "They allow for deep releases without the
discomfort that sometimes accompanies treatment work," Williams
says. Hot stone therapy also helps relieve stress, pain, insomnia,
muscle spasms and more.
Humans have a wide range of reactions to various sounds. "When
people hear music they don't like, it has a negative effect that
can be anxiety-inducing," Williams says. "On the other hand,
certain music makes us feel very emotional, capturing your sense of
Most people respond well to peaceful sounds. "Melodious,
noninvasive music can put you at
ease," she says. During your massage at Massage Envy, your
therapist will play quiet, relaxing music or, if you prefer, no
music at all. When you're at home, you can play similar music to
help you return to a state of relaxation.
Deep Muscle Therapy
If you require a deeper massage because of chronic pain due to
athletic training, repetitive movements or overuse, Massage Envy's
new Deep Heat Relief Muscle Therapy might be for you. The service
includes the use of warm towels to heat the affected area, heating
oil, specific focus work on the lower legs and feet, the back and
neck or the hands and arms, and then cooling and pain-relieving gel
at the end.
As with hot stone therapy, the heat used in this treatment
increases blood flow to the area and softens the muscle, allowing
for a deeper massage. The cooling gel applied at the end of
treatment is designed to release tension, decrease pain and leave
the muscle feeling invigorated.