How do you feel when you lie down on a massage table, waiting for magical hands to begin kneading your stress and aches away? Or when you feel a hot towel on your face after a nourishing facial masque? Most of our clients admit they simply don’t want their pampering sessions to end, evidenced by involuntary “ahhhhs” or even an occasional light snore. Now THAT’s relaxation!
But did you ever stop to consider that these kinds of health treatments are not limited by age range? The other day Sally, a 90-year old great grandmother, came in for a facial, our session no doubt a gift from a family member. It was only a few minutes before Sally began repeating “Ahh, that feels wonderful,” followed by a number of other pampering-affirming statements of relief and bliss that occurred during her 90-minute session. But think about it: we all need the touch of another person, no matter what our age. I believe many of us mistakenly deem the elderly too fragile to enjoy the benefits of a life-affirming massage or pampering facial. Sally also received a neck, hand and arm massage, sending her into a delightful delirium of bliss, while relaxing with a masque on her face evoked more lovely involuntary sounds from a woman whose nine decades of life earned her so much more than one session like this. As she carefully rose from the treatment table following her facial, Sally said, “Okay. Now I’m coming back for a massage for sure!”
Extensive research by the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute reveals that human touch has wide-ranging physical and emotional benefits for people of all age groups, including lessened pain, improved pulmonary function, lowered blood glucose and improved immune function. Human touch is important for all ages, but did you know that by the time children reach their teen years, they receive only half as much touching as they did in the early part of their lives? Adults touch each other even less.
Just because an adolescent or teen is young doesn’t mean he or she is not stressed and achy. One of my favorite “regular” clients is an 11-year old girl who has been coming to me for massages for several years now. I clearly recall Courtney’s first visit. While reviewing the required intake form she had filled out before starting the massage, I was surprised to notice that she had checked the box indication she suffered from stress. I mean — what could stress out an eleven year old? “School,” she replied. When I really thought about the expectations piled on kids from academics to sports to a host of extra-curricular activities these days, however, it made sense. At the end of the session, Courtney was relaxed and recharged, but has continued to see me on a regular basis, admitting that massage has helped her to cope with school as well as all the other activities in her busy young life.
So when thinking of the ideal gift for a family member of any age, I urge to you consider enclosing a Healing Station gift certificate in a birthday, anniversary, graduation or Christmas card and giving the important gift of healthful, pampering touch. The hour or so your loved one spends on our spa table just may be one of the most memorable and generous gifts you have ever given your active ‘tween or teen, stressed-out spouse, sibling or friend or definitely-deserving senior.