Massage: sybaritic pleasure and good medicine

By Karen D. Lorentz

Two years ago I received a gift certificate for a massage at the Killington Grand Spa. Having put it in a safe place so I wouldn’t lose it, I kept forgetting I had it. Then last month I was visiting the doctor for a neck injury and headache sustained in a freak accident last November. (I was tub-diving for a missing sock and the wide heavy lid came down on the back of my head.) In addition to prescribing Naproxen, she said it would be good to have a massage but health insurance probably wouldn’t cover it.

“No problem,” I told her, as I remembered the gift certificate.

Following “doctor’s orders,” I finally visited the spa.

When the masseuse asked about any problem areas, I added my sore right leg to the request for a “little extra neck work.”

The Grand Spa is a restful and peaceful place, and with a heated table and blankets, it didn’t take much for me to totally relax and let those miracle hands do their kneading magic.

My headache is finally gone, my neck doesn’t bother me, and the leg got better—I tested it on soft, silky spring snow at Pico recently and, thankfully, experienced no return problem.

I have had all of four massages—all at ski resorts—and always felt great afterward, but they were always part of getting away and relaxing on a trip. Somehow I never thought of getting one in life’s “normal” (read: busy) routine, nor for an injury.

I clearly understood the sybaritic aspects—the wonderful relaxation and renewal—but never had connected to the more physical healing part.

Clearly behind the times, I asked Spa Manager Nicole Kolesnik about some of the newer treatments offered and how they came about.

Treatments evolve to include kids, moms-to-be

Q&A with Nicole Kolesnik

The Mountain Times: How did the Young Adults massage come about?

Nicole Kolesnik: The Young Adults massage metamorphosed from the classic Swedish massage. Many parents were booking Swedish massages for their children so we thought, why not add something more conducive to kids? This massage is suitable for small children to teens. All of our massages are customized for each person, as is this, with attention placed on making the child feel comfortable, safe and helping them to relax, which for a kid isn’t always easy. This massage is great for young athletes to help reduce muscle tension and for kids who suffer from autism and ADHD, as certain pressure points help reduce these symptoms.

MT: And you now offer a manicure and pedicure for children?

NK: It’s something for kids to do when mom or dad are in treatments or to join mom.

MT: How do prenatal massages help pregnant women?

NK: Prenatal massage helps relieve inflammation and tension in weight bearing areas and joints. It also helps women to relax, which is an essential component for a healthy pregnancy. In addition to the medical benefits, it offers something for [pregnant] women who are on ski trip but can’t ski.

MT: What’s the most popular treatment?

NK: The Warm Maple Sugar Body Scrub offers the best of all worlds. It is made fresh here at the Grand Spa and the wonderful aroma of pure Vermont maple sugar helps people to relax. The Sugar Scrub completely exfoliates and the rehydrating body butter completely rehydrates your skin. We recently added an 80-minute scrub to give clients the option to receive a 50-minute full body massage after the scrub. The 50-minute scrub provides a 25-minute full-body massage. People walk away feeling soft, relaxed and nourished.

MT: Do doctors refer patients for massages?

NK: Many people living with chronic pain or injuries work with doctors and physical therapists who recommend massage as part of their treatment plan. Massage speeds the recovery process by activating relaxation hormones that are essential to the healing process. Our bodies don’t heal without these hormones, so a wellness practice that includes massage is very important.

MT: The first few times out skiing some of us find our legs ache—can massage help?

NK: Massage increases circulation, reduces inflammation and brings lactic acid to the surface to be flushed out so people feel better faster. Massage is like an all-natural Ibuprofen. People who get massage regularly will feel the benefits longer than a person who gets a massage once in a great while. It’s best to go regularly for a shorter massage time rather than going once every three months for a longer treatment.

MT: Do competitive athletes and serious skiers (who are presumably in great physical shape) come in for massages?

NK: All the time!

MT: Facials and scrubs seem to be very popular today. How do they work?

NK: Our sugar scrubs have natural glycolic acid to break down the skin to promote new skin growth and are great for people with sensitive skin. Our salt scrubs do the same but instead of glycolic, salt contains minerals that help pull toxins from the skin. There are many benefits to regular facials. As we age our skin thins and our oil production slows down. A regime of regular (monthly) facial exfoliating, whether from manual stimulation or a microdermabrasion, aids in the shedding of the tenacious skin cells and reveals bright new skin cells beneath. Once the skin is prepped and properly exfoliated, the hydration process can begin with the addition of carefully chosen products by your esthetician.

A gift that keeps on giving

With spring skiing’s softer snow demanding a little more work from our legs, a massage could be just the ticket for aching muscles. Ditto for remedying sore backs from spring yard and garden work.

With so many benefits to treatments (wraps, scrubs, facials, and body, scalp, and foot massages), it is not surprising that there are several spas in the Rutland Region where certified therapists can not only help melt tension away but also rejuvenate body and soul. The Inn at Jackson Gore at Okemo offers spa services, as does The Woods Spa in Killington and Signature Day Spa, Five Elements Salon and Day Spa, and the Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center, all in Rutland. Appointments are recommended.

Whether for relaxation, muscular healing, skin renewal or all three, you will find that a gift certificate for someone special or yourself may be just what the doctor ordered!

Mountain Times Newsletter

Sign up below to receive the weekly newsletter, which also includes top trending stories and what all the locals are talking about!