The Gift of Massage
Regular massages helped Bruce Atkinson stay on a path toward a healthier lifestyle
When he turned 60 last July, Bruce Atkinson of Rochester, Minn., received a Massage Envy gift certificate from his wife. Massage started as a way for him to relax, but soon it became an integral part of Atkinson's health and fitness makeover.
"When I was younger, I was involved in competitive athletics," Atkinson says. "Then, I got married and had a family. And your focus changes-work and family take over your life."
He had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was taking medication for high cholesterol. "Then," he says, "I turned 60, and I looked at myself and said, 'You're going to have to do something to get back into shape or you're not going to be able to live the life you want to live when you get older.' "
Atkinson says he wants to stay active and travel. So it was serendipitous when his local YMCA called to offer a free two-week trial membership.
"I went for two weeks and gradually started to feel better," he says.
"Toward the end of that two-week period, I talked to a personal trainer," he says. The trainer gave Atkinson a routine to follow. That was last September, and ever since, Atkinson has hit the gym five or six days a week for 60 to 90 minutes a day. Through diet and exercise, he lost nearly 25 pounds in nine months.
Part of what keeps him going is his massages. The combination of Swedish massage for relaxation and deep-tissue massage for sore muscles helps alleviate Atkinson's aches and pains.
"I found that getting a massage every two weeks really helps," he says. "It's become a pretty important part of my fitness and wellness routine."
Atkinson, who is now a Massage Envy member, is grateful to his wife for a birthday gift with lasting benefits. "I probably wouldn't have been able to continue working out at the level I was or achieve my goals without the massages," Atkinson says. "It was a great gift."