I think our work attitude in North America is just not where it should be. I think we all work way too much and put way too much stress on people.” Stephanie Gaudet, who is one of the new massage therapists at Pinacle Health and Fitness in Elmira, treats the fallout from that stress every day.
The fitness club began the new service at the beginning of April as a way to add to their holistic approach to health and well-being.
Owner Barney Kuntze hired Gaudet after speaking with her while she was filling out a membership application at the club and learning she was a registered massage therapist. The second therapist, Adrienne Beatty, will be recognized by club regulars as having been on staff for more than eight months. Wanting to be an RMT since she was 12 years old, Beatty was promoted to the position after completing her exams.
“I was always the one giving massages in my family,” she laughed.
The therapists admit many people see massage as a luxury, but they insist it should be a necessity for a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s preventative maintenance,” said Kuntze. “Just like you would for your car.”
Unlike changing the oil in your car, knowing when its time to get a massage is less scientific.
“You feel it. When you feel things tensing up, you know when its time,” said Gaudet.
Gaudet treats problems ranging from muscle stiffness to constant headaches and fibromyalgia.
If left too long between visits, Gaudet said a massage may be painful for some clients.
“If you leave it so long that you’re too stiff, it can hurt a little,” she said.
“People think stress is normal, but it’s not,” said Gaudet. “When you really realize what massage can do for you, you realize it is something that you do need.”
Kuntze, who owns a Pinacle in Milverton as well as the location in Elmira, admits to being the type of overworked client he hopes to help feel less stressed out.
“I look at it as a little pit-stop in my day,” he said. “It just helps to facilitate so many other things.”
In addition to relaxing muscles and relieving tension, Gaudet and Beatty said it can target another symptom of stress: lack of sleep.
“I have so many clients that tell me the night they have a massage they are out like a log,” said Gaudet.
Believing stressed-out lives lead to serious problems, like anxiety and depression, Gaudet hopes her work helps clients to feel better physically and mentally too.
“It just really lifts your spirits.”
Seeing an RMT at Pinacle allows customers to coordinate their fitness and health care regimen. Trainers and class instructors communicate frequently with the massage staff and Kuntze thinks this will make it easier for clients to maintain the benefits of massage between
“I can talk to Adrienne in two minutes and tell her about a client,” he said. “Clients really like that we’re all under one roof.”
Yoga, pilates and stretch classes are also offered at the facility, giving customers a way to build on the holistic approach to maintaining healthy muscles. Gaudet said other keys to maintaining muscle health and extending massage benefits are small, but often overlooked.
“Staying hydrated is very important and stretching is a big one,” she said.
The most important thing Kuntze feels is key to maintaining tension free muscles is not to neglect getting a massage.
“The common mentality in North America is not to fix something until its broken, but usually when it’s broken is the time you need it the most,” he said.