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Flowers may be a popular and beautiful, but somewhat temporary, Valentine’s Day gift; and much has been written about the stimulating effects of chocolates, another traditional staple of the romantic February 14 holiday.
But those who feel they have been there and done that a bit too often to feel they are giving their beloved a gift that conveys one’s true affection may want to consider going hands-on this Valentine’s Day — with a gift of massage.
Whether giving the gift of massage in the form of a gift certificate or arranging for a relaxing and peaceful couples massage, the immediate and potential long-term benefits to the body and mind have been touted for centuries.
Numerous sources affirm that massage therapy dates back almost 5,000 years to the ancient China and Egypt cultures that believed in its medical benefits.
Today, countless massage professionals, including several in the Newtown area, say that the idea of couples immersing themselves in a massage experience together can be a perfect way to reconnect, replenish, and reignite passions that may have been somewhat dampened by the daily stresses of work, taking care of other loved ones, and the troubles of the world that may seem overwhelming, depending on the hour.
Vincent Manna at Massage Envy in Southbury says his facility was designed with couples massage in mind.
“We have an over-sized couples room for comfort, along with a second set of rooms joined by French doors, which can also be used for couples or even friends who want to attend together,” Mr Manna said. “These are often used for girls night out where clients get both a facial and massage without ever leaving the table.”
Mr Manna said that before he ever opened his Massage Envy practice at 775 Main Street South, he was a client.
“I was a Massage Envy member with my wife and we went for couples massages for about two years,” he said. “They are wonderful. Our couples massages rekindled the spark between us because it was our special time together away from the kids and work. Plus, couples receive a discount — the first person pays $65 and the second pays $55 a month for membership.”
At Avance Day Spa in the Village at Lexington gardens on Church Hill Road in Newtown, massage therapists Cynthia Campel and Dawn Turcott provide clients with more that a half-century of combined expertise.
Ms Campel says whether a client or couple is there for the first time or returning for services, she takes a few moments to start the session getting to know how she can best apply her skills for maximum effect.
“Even in a couples situation, each person has their own stuff going on, so I focus on that individual,” she said. “I actually consider myself an assistant who is there to help that person get into the best energy alignment they can to allow the relaxation principle to have its greatest benefit. Once that body and mind are relaxed, the tension and tightness from whatever it is they’ve been dealing with can just flow out and they can let go of it.”
Before she even puts her hands on most clients, Ms Campel says she likes to give them a few moments to relax, to get into the soothing music and therapeutic aromas that may provide additional ambiance to the session.
“I suggest to clients to breathe deeply and ‘come into you, this is the only place you can be right now, so feel as good as you can while you are here.’ The low lighting is also conducive to calming and I have aroma therapy scents I spray that also enhances calming,” she added. “Communication is also key if something I am doing is uncomfortable or not to their liking.”
Ms Turcott said couples who may either come out and take advantage of Avance’s Valentine’s Day specials or purchase a discounted gift certificate will depart feeling much better about themselves and each other.
“Especially if you are parents, this is a rare opportunity for them to refocus on their relationship — an hour or so when they don’t have to devote the bulk of attention to their kids and can actually put away their phones, be quiet and enjoy each other’s presence and be at peace,” she said. “You don’t realize how important that quiet time is until you’ve experienced it together.”
Ms Turcott said gentlemen or ladies who may prefer giving the gift of a massage can do so knowing their gesture will “help their body feel good, their mind quieted, and their spirit uplifted.”
“They’re going to feel invigorated, and they will depart with more energy to cope with the various aspects of their life,” she said. “For me, getting a massage feels good, but it also helps things roll off my shoulders more easily.”
When meeting a client, Ms Turcott will typically determine whether they are experiencing any stress or pain in any particular areas of their body.
“If they are very hyped up, we’ll start with something a little more vigorous before taking it down, sometimes acupressure to the neck and shoulders is good, or getting them out of their own head by focusing on their feet first is the way to go. Every session is different.”
After 21 years, Ms Turcott is not only seeing a number of clients she started working with over two decades ago, she is still seeing them regularly.
“Some every week, some every three weeks — they get to know their body and what they need,” she said. “Once you receive massage on a regular basis only then can you truly understand what massage can do for you — and you get to know how long you can go without it.”
Taking The Edge Off
Carley VanWattum of CVanwattum Therapeutic Massage, who performs massage exclusively one-on-one, including at the offices of Kara Acupuncture & Wellness at 286 Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, says giving the gift of massage in the form of a gift certificate, and actually making the appointment for that person, is the best way to ensure the one you love actually gets the benefit.
“The gift of massage is actually a gift of time for their loved one to take care of themselves,” she said. “It’s a great way for them to release their anxieties, reduce their stresses, their physical pains — when someone you love is in an uncomfortable place and you want to do something for them, giving them a massage is a really nice gesture.”
After more than 20 years in the profession, Ms VanWattum said she cannot recall how many clients have arrived thinking there is actually something physically wrong with them because of pain they are experiencing, only to find that pain melt away with their stress-relieving massage.
“That’s why I have so many regular clients,” she said. “They find coming in once a week or once a month takes the edge off and relieves their stresses.”
Mr Manna at Southbury’s Massage Envy says Valentine’s Day couples gift certificates are a perfect way to get started (or get him started) with massage, even if they wait a while before venturing in with their wife or partner.
“Often gentlemen will get a couples gift card and book an appointment weeks after Valentine’s Day,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be that same day. We provide a very nice gift bag that he can present to his partner on Valentine’s Day. Then they can book a day or night in the future. We are open seven days a week — most days from 9 am to 9 pm.
“Our couples massage starts at $55 per person anytime, and if purchased as part of our Valentine’s promotion that ends February 14, for $15 more per couple they get a coupon for a separate facial or massage to be used anytime you want.”
Avance is making every day in February Valentine’s Day, offering a 60-minute couples massage for $170, a couples Champagne pedi for $70, and 20 percent off any gift card of $100 or more through the end of the day on February 14.
Getting Through Breakups
Even individuals who may be suffering after a breakup, or the pain of losing a loved one, can find unique solace in massage according to Stephanie Besson, who recently opened her home-based Gentle Healing Bodywork in Newtown.
“Someone can gift one of my sessions to a loved one or friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one or is suffering from a divorce or break up,” she suggests. “I can provide a safe space for someone to process their feeling of loss without judgment.”
Ms Besson says, “Emotional blocks we hold in our body due to traumatic events are usually the underlying cause of how we behave and perceive the world around us and can be the cause of further illness and disease.
“Emphatically I can sense and assist individuals of any age in releasing their pain so they can live more fully,” she added. “By recognizing where emotional blocks are being held in our bodies and holding them with compassion and understanding, we are able to validate how we feel, which is the first step in being able to process, heal, and release the blocks naturally.”
Learn more about Gentle Healing Bodywork at gentlemassages.com, or call 203-491-7581.
Reach Avance Day Spa at 203-270-8911, or visit avancedayspa.com.
Learn more about Massage Envy of Southbury at massagenvy.com under the ‘Locations’ tab, or call 203-263-3689.
Reach at Carley VanWattum at Kara Acupuncture & Wellness by calling 203-470-7072, or visit: aculaura.com