Therapeutic Massage

Your Health: The Merits of Massage

Your Health is a six-part series of short articles that explore various aspects of personal well-being, written by NEW JERSEY BUSINESS magazine.

Therapeutic massage offers a range of benefits including, of course, stress reduction and relaxation, but it also may facilitate circulation and improve posture, for example. NEW JERSEY BUSINESS magazine recognizes that: conducting business is intrinsically stressful; modern computers and keyboards wreak havoc on workers’ biomechanics; and, additionally, New Jersey is the most “stressed out” state in the nation, according to a widely reported analysis.  From Swedish and trigger point to deep tissue, a range of massage professionals can offer these modalities and more to those in need.

BJ Dowlen is CEO and founder of Bodyworks Enterprises LLC, “an elite sports writing and sports performance group founded in 1999,” which, among other endeavors, develops top-tier health and fitness products. Dowlen has been a licensed massage therapist for 18 years with a who’s-who list of clients, and she has served as a writer/subject matter expert for Massage magazine.

Regarding how to obtain a massage, she explains, “First and foremost, I would make sure the person has a license [to massage]. The State of New Jersey requires it. However, there are still storefronts that can get around it by offering strictly foot massage; there are many of them popping up.  There are also assisted stretching locations where you are being stretched by someone who is not a licensed massage therapist; someone who can take a one-day class for eight hours. I think there are intrinsic problems with that.”  Dowlen advises that prospective clients actually view their massage therapists’ licenses.

The license is not only a potential safety measure, but what much of the general public might not realize is that massage therapists are required to partake in continuing education. These professionals therefore may have specific areas of therapeutic focus, and, overall, those with career longevity might pursue ongoing paths toward mastery.

Dowlen suggests prospective clients ask their therapists, “’What do you specialize in?  What do you like most doing with massage?’ If you go to a chain or a franchise and you are not speaking directly to a massage therapist, I would ask the person at the front desk: ‘Here’s what relief I would like to get; here’s what’s going on. Who is your suggested therapist?’  If it is at a franchise, they have a list of specialties [at the front desk].”

She says business executives typically have financial resources and, “they can get someone highly trained to come in … I know two [massage therapists] who each have two Wall Street executives who pay them to work them every single day, Monday through Friday.  They even have a contract – they have a retainer – because basically all their [career] eggs are in one basket.  Not everyone needs the massage every day, but someone who feels high stress and has the financial means – they can go ahead and get it.”

Dowlen notes that in between massages, a person can avail themselves of Bodyworks’ line of products, including the BodyWorks Ball, a video demonstration of which may be found here.

Regarding massage in broader terms, Dowlen stresses its many benefits, concluding, “You find sometimes people are falling asleep within minutes of getting a massage. They say, ‘Oh, I never sleep, I never sleep.”  They get on the table, you start working and the next thing you know, they are asleep.”

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