It’s not just pampering – Massages offer Health Benefits


By Charlotte Libov….
This is August, which means it’s Miami Spa Month, when bargains on massage and other spa treatments abound. This should be reason enough to pamper yourself, but if you need another, think about this: Massage feels like pampering, but there’s growing evidence attesting to its health benefits as well.

Massage has been used for this purpose since ancient times, and it’s been popular across the ages, and in many civilizations and cultures ever since. In fact, massage is used for a variety of health-related purposes, including pain relief, sports injury rehabilitation, stress reduction, anxiety relief, the promotion of relaxation, and general wellness.

The government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, finds that an analysis of research studies show a single message session can reduce “state” or situational anxiety (a reaction to a particular situation), as well as reduce blood pressure, and heart rate, and multiple sessions can help alleviate general anxiety, depression and pain.

Nicole Gaynair, a licensed message therapist at the Spa at Equinox South Beach, strongly agrees. “The physical benefits of massage affect every age group and every body type. Massage has also been shown to increase endorphin levels (the body’s natural painkiller), provide greater joint flexibility and range of motion, foster faster healing from sprains or strains, and reduce swelling and pain and the formation of scar tissue after an injury.”

“Massage is no longer a luxury for this who can afford it; therapy is becoming a necessity for all of us who experience the trials of daily life,” Gaynair added.

Here’s a primer from NCCAM on a few popular types of massage from NCCAM

Swedish Massage: Long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping

Sports Massage: Similar to Swedish massage, but adapted for use on athletes

Deep Tissue and Trigger Massage: focusing on myofascial trigger points, which are muscle “knots” that are painful when pressed and cause symptoms elsewhere in the body

The NCCAM says massage therapy appears to have very few risks, but recommends it be done by a certified professional, but recommends seeking out the services of a licensed massage therapist.

For Miami Spa Month, Equinox South Beach is featuring a choice of either a 75- minute facial, or a 50-minute deep tissue massage or a massage with hot stone therapy for $99. For more information, contact Gaynair at 305-673-1172. To learn about the other great summer deals at Equinox, contact Membership Advisor Andreas Heuser, also at 305-673-1172. To learn more about Miami Spa Month, now in its fourth year and hosted by Greater Miami and the Beaches, check out

Charlotte Libov writes books and articles on health and other topics for a variety of national, state and local publications. She is also a professional speaker on the topic of heart disease in women. Reach her at 305-333-8844 or

Charlotte Libov is a writer and photographer whose work appears throughout South Beach, including in Ocean Drive Magazine, Florida Travel + Life, and many more publications. She is also the South Beach Culture and Events Examiner for In addition, is also the author of five books, including “The Woman’s Heart Book,” which was made into the groundbreaking PBS documentary “Women’s Hearts at Risk.” She speaks both nationally and locally on the topic of preventing heart disease in women. Contact her at

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