When you enter you hear calming sounds of music as you lay beneath a soft blanket, sheltered in relaxing smells and dim lights. You immediately find your troubles slipping away as seasoned hands massage your back and shoulders. If you've ever been to a spa to enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage, you are familiar with this pattern. If you haven't, or feel that a massage might not really benefit you, read on and you will think differently on the health and mental benefits.
We interviewed Bill Rutherford Franchise Owner of Hand and Stone located in aurora on the major massages that will enhance people’s life

The first we talked about was the Swedish
It is for relaxation the goal is to relax the entire body and the muscle groups says Bill Rutherford. You are placed on massage table with a cutout for your face. It Begins on your stomach, with long, firm brush-like strokes along your back and eventually over your shoulders, arms, then down to lower back and legs. Halfway through the massage you will be asked to turn over, finishing the second half face up for the treatment of your upper shoulders, arms and fronts of legs. Massage therapists usually use either the flat palm or heel of their hand or a grouping of fingertips to deliver pressure to tight spots and also help loosen and lengthen muscles.

So why is it a popular form of massage

Bill responds “It helps just to relieve the stress of everyday life and in the Swedish massage it is just for relaxing there's really no pain involved unless you have tight muscles or if you have knots in your muscle group, but the primary reason is to come here for relaxation”
The forms of massage as a therapeutic or holistic health tool has helped the industry grow. For example, in just a few short years, Hand and Stone has grown from a few dozen locations to more than 200 nationwide. Fans of Swedish massage swear by its overall health benefits and, in fact, several studies have looked at the technique benefits for issues other than just stiffness or muscle aches and pains. Over the past few decades, a variety of studies have linked Swedish massage to a number of benefits, such as reduction in knee arthritis, easing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, lowering blood pressure, boosting immune system function, reducing headaches and helping to mitigate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Hot Stone

I asked Bill why is a Hot Stone Massage a benefit?
“The Massage Therapists use the heat of the stones as tools to provide deep penetrating effects. The stones have different sizes and shapes depending on the part of the body. The heated stones are used as an extension of their hands and with both tools it can benefit the muscle tissue not only to relax you, but it will help your muscles to flex better and release the toxins out of your system”. Bill Replied.

Hot stone massages can help relieve tense muscles. It is a natural therapy in which warmed stones are positioned on parts of the body to maximize the therapeutic benefit. The stones used are typically river rocks or other very smooth-surfaced stones made of basalt. These stones are heated in sanitizing water before use. The high iron content in basalt helps the stones retain heat during the massage. Hot stone massages are beneficial on both physical and psychological levels.

Pain Relief
While all types of massage are beneficial, a hot stone massage may provide greater relief due to the concentrated nature of the massage. Because the hot stones allow deeper penetration, you may find that a hot stone massage leaves you feeling physically better than a Swedish or deep-tissue massage that does not incorporate heat. It is important to let your massage therapist know if you feel that the heat from the stones is too much or that the pressure they are using is too harsh.

Muscle Relaxation
The heat from the stones helps your muscles relax, allowing the massage therapist to manipulate deep into your tissue. If you have tense muscles it can hinder the massage procedure, so if your muscles are extremely tight or stiff, the heated stones may provide the relaxation you need in releasing tension and easing sore muscles.

Improved Circulation
Typically, a massage therapist allows the heated stones to rest on trigger points in your body before beginning the actual massage. As the heat from the stones penetrates into your muscle tissues, your blood vessels open, resulting in improved circulation. Poor circulation can lead to exhaustion, which tenses the muscles, and a buildup of fluid and lactic acid in the muscles. Increased circulation delivers more oxygen, which can help ease aches and pains.

Mental Benefits
Massage therapy can result in mental benefits as well as physical ones. You may find that the relaxation from a hot stone massage will help ease some of your mental stress and tension. A hot stone massage may also help you fight some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. If you have a death in the family or just the daily stress it can be a mental and emotional release being in a dark room with streams of soothing music. While massage therapy is not a substitute for traditional medical or psychiatric care, it can be an important part of your treatment plan. Always check with your doctor before getting a hot stone massage; individuals with certain conditions are advised to avoid this type of therapy.


Sports Massage

The next form of massage I asked bill about was a sports Massage

“A sports Massage is really beneficial for the professional and amateur athlete. It is best for pre-event and post events. It helps prevent injury, keeps you relaxed and de-stresses the muscles. Plus makes you more confident and helps mentally” explains Bill Rutherford

Benefits Of Massage For Athletes
Professional athletes have undertaken massage therapy for years, going so far as to keep them on the payroll indefinitely. New studies and some backing by reliable sources, the benefits of massage are being taken seriously. And those benefits are not just for the professional athletes. They’re extended to anyone who participates in regular sports and exercise program.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage acts to improve functioning, reduce pain, prevent injury, support focus and shorten recuperation time. It works with two types of responses: a mechanical response as a result of the pressure and a reflex reaction where the nerves respond to the stimulation.

Physiological Effects

As you relax through your massage it affects the cardiovascular system. Blood vessels dilate, which helps promote circulation. With the physical assistance it heartens the veins to flow blood back to the heart and thus enhances blood flow. With the increased fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue it promotes the removal of waste products and toxins. Credit to the relaxed state that the massage offers your heart rate lowers.

Your muscular system also benefits. One of them directly ties to the cardiovascular benefits. The improved blood circulation helps to relieve muscle stress, reduce pain and make for a faster healing. “With relaxed muscles you can start to experience an increase in range of motion and flexibility. Both of those benefits can lead to better athletic performance. It is also a good thing to have before going into any sport, group exercise class or competition” as explained by Bill Rutherford.

Psychological Effects

The sports massage study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness points out that athleticism in competitive sports, doesn’t rely solely on physical strength. “Tactical maneuvering in cycling or an ability to focus on a task can also affect performance. Therefore, the psychological effect provided to an athlete by an experience such as massage may be of importance in a non-physiological manner.” These benefits include reducing stress and tension and anxiety while promoting relaxation by activating your parasympathetic nervous system. So there will be increase in dopamine and serotonin levels and a decline in cortisol levels, which are directly linked to tension.

Types Of Massage For Athletes

Anybody who competes in sports or performs in physical activity will benefit more from a deep tissue or sports massage than you will a soft massage. The type of Sports Massage available may not always be comfortable. It often involves a faster more aggressive massage that involves stretching and other approaches. Depending upon the sport in which you par-take in your Massage Therapist will work your muscles accordingly. It can be customized to be used as a pre-workout opportunity to warm up the muscles or used as a post-workout massage designed to reduce pain, boost flexibility and lead to a spasm-free relaxed muscles.

The main massages offered for the individual who does physical activity are the Deep Tissue and Trigger Point massage. It often is recommended by massage therapists because it works on individual muscle groups you have problem on. They are applying heavier pressure on the layers of muscles and other parts of your deep tissues. Don’t expect to be comfortable throughout this massage. It’s designed to get into the knots and release stress the muscles may be holding. But be ready, afterward either type of massages can leave you feeling sore.
Deep Tissue
I had surgery and experience pain in the scar of the muscle. I heard about Deep Tissue Massage. So I asked Bill the benefits from this type of Massage?

Bill Explains “Not the most comfortable, as opposed to being relaxed from a nice soothing massage. This massage will focus on the deep layers of the muscle They will use strokes across the grain of the muscle and they target the knots and some of that chronic pain tension and sometimes it’s a pain at first, but feels good afterwards”

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Deep-tissue massage focus on the deep layers of muscle by using deep finger pressure and slow, firm strokes. The massage is used to care for a range of physical ailments. Recommended by many doctors as a treatment option.

Improves Blood Pressure
As with the other forms of massages, this also offers stress and tension release. People who had a deep-tissue massage saw their systolic pressure drop by an average of 10.4 mm Hg and their diastolic pressure drop an average 5.3 mm Hg, according to a study cited by the University of Maryland Medical Center. The massage can help boost the creation of serotonin, a hormone that encourage happiness and good feelings.

Reduces Chronic Pain
Deep tissue massage is more helpful and inexpensive for alleviating chronic pain than conventional medications. The massage increases the blood flow through the body, it helps reduce the inflammation that creates pain. It can also help ease muscle tension by loosening the tense tissue clusters.

Rehabilitates Injured Muscles
When you have injured muscles this can be effective treatment, because it eases the flow of toxins from the muscles and aids stretched or twisted muscle mass. The massage helps relax muscles and can reduce the pain caused by injuries. The massage is frequently used to recuperate from sports injuries.

Breaks Up Scar Tissue
Over time, the massage therapy can help break up scar tissue. It does this by improving lymphatic circulation and drainage to improve flexibility and series of motion in the affected area. Massage therapy is often suggested for those recovering from surgery.

Stress Relief
Chronic stress and all of its various effects like pressure headaches, stiff shoulders and tense muscles; the massage can be an assistance to alleviate these symptoms. During therapy you can let it all relax and give in to the massage. Once revived you'll be able to face your day more settled.

Trigger Point Massage Therapy

I asked about the unique form of massage that is a Trigger Point. Bill responds “It is like a knot, it involves applying pressure to those tender muscle tissue to relieve the pain Some people find that they had knots that they did not know they had until they trigger them off”

Pain is a frequent ailment that affect the muscles. It usually does not occur in just one area, but can cause aching in areas away from the source of the trigger point itself. To know if you need this type of massage (also referred to as trigger site or a muscles knot) you will feel sensitive spots in the muscles that will cause shooting pain to other areas of the body when moved. Trigger points can make themselves evident in noticeable knots or in tense bands of your muscle fibers. Due to the sensitivity of these muscle groups, people often feel that the long lasting benefits this type of massage therapy are worth the temporary pain from the treatment.

Depending on where the pain is, the therapist will have you lie down in a way which is both comfortable and not aggravate your trigger sites . This will provide an easy way for the therapist to work the area. The therapist will then check the body to locate the area of where the knots are situated. After finding the trigger points, the therapist will use many finger techniques of varying pressure on and around the points to break down the knots. Depending on the size of the knots, it may multiple visits in order for the entire knots to be disengaged.

Once all your knots have been treated it is important for the guest to remain hydrated. The massage therapy breaks up the toxins that have built up and releases them into the blood stream. Drink plenty of water and healthy beverages allows for the toxins to wash out of the blood stream. Also, depending if you are allowed to by your doctor an Epsom salt bath will also help eliminate toxins and muscle discomfort

Prenatal Massage

Hand and Stone also offers Prenatal Massages and I asked bill about the benefits?
“It Meet the needs of the pregnant woman and their changing bodies. We won’t do the massage until their thirteenth week of pregnancy is over. Sometimes we will ask for a doctors note if they are having complications. When they come in they will rest on their side. They have a lot of discomfort within their legs, back and elsewhere. The massage therapists have specialized experience in what areas of the body to focus on depending on the woman’s needs are, They can offer various massages, such as a Swedish that will help reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains” Bill explained.

Massage therapist use their experience to focus on parts of the body during pregnancy to help reduce anxiety, depression, relieve pain and joint discomforts. The therapy also tackles many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts. All will help in general health and improve your labor outcome.

Studies done in the past have shown that hormone levels related with relaxation and stress are noticeably changed when massage therapy is initiated to women’s prenatal care. Those who received two massages a month for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol were reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased. These changes in hormone points also led to fewer complications during giving birth and your when your infant is born.

Reduce Swelling

During pregnancy growth of the joints occurs. It is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels. Massage stimulates the soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints. This also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.

The massages offered by your therapist can also significantly reduce Sciatic nerve pain that happens in late pregnancy.

Facial Massage

The final massage we touched on was the Facial.
“Some people love facial massages. When you have many facial movements during the day and night you get tension in the muscles. When you get a facial massage it will help work out the muscles and joints to break up the toxins that have built up. We also offer a stone cold facial massage, it is very soothing and relaxing and especially beneficial in the winter time as It hydrates the skin. It’s like a face lift in a bottle” Bill explained

The face is full of nerves and satisfaction points, so it makes logic that a facial is a pleasing form of indulgence. You get in a better mood and it decreases stress, plus improve a negative mood. With just a 45 minutes of facial massage it showed significant improvements in both mood and anxiety levels, according to the 2008 study.

The daily stress of life often fatigue the muscles in the face creating wrinkles. A schedule of facial massage can help loosen these tight and strained muscles, diminishing the lines that they form. Combine the massage with a hydrating moisturizer can also help minimize lines and dryness and help prevent wrinkles.

If you suffer from allergy symptoms such as congestion a therapeutic massage can help relieve allergy symptoms. Steam inhalation and mild massage helps to muster discharge, improve drainage and alleviate congestion.

And finally, face massages awaken the lymphatic veins and assists toxin removal. The lymphatic structure plays a prominent role in health. Lymph is a fluid that eliminate toxins. The lymph nodes filters through your muscles and travels into the bloodstream, where toxins can be removed. Facial muscle movement pushes lymph fluid through the body. A lack of moving your muscle can result in a lethargic lymphatic structure and a growth of toxins.
When To Schedule A Massage
It’s important to note that the therapists will know from analyzing your muscle groups how often to schedule a massage. Like anything, the more often you receive a massage, the more you’ll harvest their advantages. Ask your Massage Therapist on the proper scheduling for your individual needs. Hand and Stone delivers expert Massage Therapist to accommodate all seven at affordable prices. Additional service include a total of 14 massages, facial and hair removal services seven days a week for your convenience. Their expert Therapists and Estheticians will be delighted to customize any of their services to meet your specific needs. 
Our interview was conducted at Hand and Stone located at 6554 South Parker Rd. Aurora, CO. 80016 Ph# 720-644-9440


We tested the therapists out when I experienced aches and pains in the back. Since I never received a massage before, we had our doubt on the outcome. However my doubt was overcome within just 15 minutes my aches and pains where relieved.


Rated 5 stars for customer service and therapeutic benefits by Colorado’s Voyage