Go to Health! (Because Life's Too Short)

Issue # 21 March 24, 1998

About the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to
www.rendell-smock.com .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.

Massage Promotes Health

Part 1 of 2

Massage is a great way to manage pain, improve circulation, or relax.

Massage is something you either hate or love. I've never heard anyone say they can take it or leave it. Have you?

I remember my first massage very clearly. A back injury I had in 1991 resulted in months of chiropractic and massage care. I was a bit nervous, mostly scared of the unknown. . .so let me break down the mystique for you.

If possible, start with a referral for a massage therapist from your physician, or from a friend. You can also use the yellow pages to call and ask some questions (for example, In the U.S., Massage Therapists should be licensed by the state.) Ask if the therapist is licensed. Perhaps ask where he or she studied massage. (Some of the massage schools with the best reputations in the world are in Florida. But ultimately a person's gift for the job is certainly more important than where they were trained.) My two main questions are:

  • How long has he or she been in business?"
  • "What kind of massage does that individual perform?" (This is a biggie to me.)

If you look in the yellow pages, you can often learn the basics about a given therapist. In my experience (nine different therapists over eight years), the best ones evaluate your tight muscles with their fingertips and use whichever method will bring you the best relief.

I was satisfied with the first massage therapist I went to. But after I moved out of state, I found out what a massage should be like! If you come out thinking, "That was nice," maybe you should consider shopping around. Try several. Your body will tell you when you want to become a regular somewhere.

A massage should leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, stimulated, or more balanced. Don't settle for less.

What to Expect

During a massage, you lie on a special massage table, usually half the time face up, half the time face down. (An injured people can lie on his side while being massaged.)

Nudity is not necessary. You can wear as much underwear as you feel comfortable with. California seems to go more for nude massages. The more conservatives seem to leave panties on. You'll be draped with a sheet at all times, with the therapist exposing only the part they are working on.

A whole body one-hour massage usually begins with the person lying face up. The treatment begins with a light facial massage and moves down the neck, one shoulder, arm, hand, thigh, calf, foot, then back up the other side. Then you turn over and get the back worked on from neck to waist.

If you are going for a half hour, you may choose to concentrate only on the trouble areas. For me, that means the neck, back, and wrists (yes, wrists, from hours at this keyboard).


Depending on where you live, prices vary. Costs range $40-$60/hr. Some places offer a package of 3 or 4 massages, spread over time, for a slightly lower rate. You can also buy a half hour for roughly $25-$30.

Chair massages are performed while you are fully dressed, reclining frontward on a special massage chair, allowing the back to relax and be worked on. These massages can be fifteen minutes long and cost $10-$15.

Male or Female Therapist?

I didn't think I could relax with a male massage therapist. One day my neck and back caused a lot of pain. I couldn't get the usual therapist, so I tried a man who someone recommended. I was familiar with massage and knew what to expect from a therapist and from my body. I gave the young man a try. It turns out he was the head of a massage school who traveled worldwide teaching others this art. He made it easy to be comfortable.

Massage and physical therapies are effective alternatives for the health-conscious to consider. Some people have avoided surgery or medication by using these therapies. Others use self care, like massage and exercise, along with their medical treatments.

Next Week:

The Three Main Massage Techniques

Back to the top / Previous Issues / Latest Issue

Explore The New Sideroad

Part of the original Sideroad. Text © 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted and redesigned on March 24 , 1998. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at www.rendell-smock.com