The very word “massage” conveys a feeling of relaxation. Can’t you just see the softly lit spa, hear the soothing music and get heady imagining the delightfully aromatic oils?

Although these elements are a welcome part of a massage experience, this ancient healing art often transcends the pampering to focus on pain relief and other physical benefits.

“Massage therapy is beneficial for maintaining health and well-being,” said Sarah Freese, massage therapist at Yampa Valley Medical Center’s Integrated Health. “Massage is not just a luxury or something to do on vacation.”

Steamboat Today, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Aug. 5, 2013