Massage therapist Megan Bowers provides a service that relaxes muscles and pampers bodies — and her skills go well beyond a soothing rubdown that one might get in a spa.
Bowers recently moved her practice from a day spa to The Personal Wellness Center on Milford Street, where she offers massage as an effective treatment for conditions such as pain, depression and chronic ailments. The career transition reflects an important change in how Americans view massage.
“Massage is a wonderful way to relax. But it’s also a research-backed treatment for people dealing with conditions such as fibromyalgia and migraine,” said Bowers, a licensed massage therapist with the Board of Chiropractic and Massage Therapy Examiners in Maryland.
Much like other consumers who now look to massage therapy as a part of a patient’s overall treatment plan, her clients also seek her out at The Personal Wellness Center for techniques based on Asian principles that heal their bodies.
The American Massage Therapy Association found in a 2015 survey that 85 percent of individuals interviewed reported their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical- (52 percent) or stress- (23 percent) related. Medical include pain relief, soreness, stiffness or spasms, injury recovery, migraines, prevention, pregnancy or pre-natal, and general well-being. In 2014, about 75 percent of people reported receiving massages because of medical reasons or stress.
Veronica Correa, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of The Personal Wellness Center, said that adding massage therapy was a natural extension for the center that provides holistic services for the mind, body and spirit.
“Many of our clients have chronic conditions, and we know that the healing art of massage can help restore balance in the body,” she said.
Correa said nowadays many people suffer from stress, which if prolonged, can wreak havoc on their emotional balance and raise the risk of chronic illness. Massage therapy calms the mind and reverses the body’s physical reaction to stress.
Chair massages are also becoming more popular with local employers who want to quickly decrease stress and increase productivity. Bowers offers an on-site chair massage that focuses on the high-tension areas of the neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands while employees are fully clothed.
Research has also found that massage therapy helps reduce stress, improve circulation, relieve headaches, diminish pain in targeted areas, alleviate insomnia and boost the immune system.
Bowers, who received her training from The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, Calif., offers a combination of eastern and western modalities including reflexology, shiatsu, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, aromatherapy, deep tissue and Swedish.
She is also one of the few practitioners in Delmarva to have training in shiatsu, an Eastern form of massage with origins thousands of years ago in Japan. Shiatsu combines acupressure, western massage and stretching.
“The shiatsu style of massage can apply either light or deep pressure, and both will leave you relaxed and energized,” she explained.
For Bowers, massage therapy helps people understand that their bodies comprise of thousands of muscles and nerves that cause discomfort when aggravated and but can be restored to a normal, healed state when massaged. She said that both massage therapy and acupuncture allow individuals to reawaken to the fact that the head and heart connect to their physical state.
She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in acupuncture at Maryland University of Integrative Health and hopes to add that to her practice at The Wellness Center late next year. Bowers also holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, giving her a deep understanding of how the body heals.
“In massage therapy, we understand that healing requires body, mind and spirit,” she added. “It’s an age-old holistic approach that we know works.”
To learn more about the massage services offered at The Personal Wellness Center, visit thepersonalwellnesscenter.com or call 410-742-6016