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M-A-S-S-A-G-E Spells Relief

By Kent Lewis

For Valentine’s Day, my wife gave me a special treat: a gift certificate to one of Portland’s hottest new businesses catering to men. Hair M specializes in pampering men with a variety of services ranging from massages and manicures to haircuts and waxing, all in a comfortable environment complete with an assortment of magazines, flat-screen TVs showing ESPN and complimentary frosty beverages.

The certificate offered me an opportunity to experience personal grooming services I would never have dreamed of trying any other time. I got my first manicure and scalp massage ever. I felt like a king (or at least Donald Trump) for about two hours as the professional (and coincidentally attractive) women expertly refined my appearance.

The pinnacle of the visit was most definitely the massage. My previous experience with massages had been very limited, and unremarkable. The masseuse at Hair M was professional and amazingly effective at pinpointing, then relieving, various knots and tension points. Maybe I’m different from most folks, but I view massage as bodywork, not a relaxing experience. I feel I get more out of a massage if I feel it for a day or two afterwards. That was certainly the case here.

Within minutes, the masseuse was able to tell that I sit in front of a computer all day, and that I must not stretch much when I work out. The amount of tension in my shoulders and calves caused her some concern. She pointed out that my lack of flexibility led to poor posture, forcing my back to do most of the work, instead of sharing it with my chest. The full hour of working out knots seemed like just a start; it was going to require a regular regimen of massage sessions to get me back to where I need to be: limber and knot-free.

Not only did my masseuse offer me temporary relief and motivation to change my habits a bit, she gave me some excellent advice, which I will pass along:


  • Stretch regularly – not only is it important to do after workouts, but it also helps in the morning and evening to improve circulation and flexibility.
  • Incorporate flexibility training into workouts – mix up your usual traditional weight conditioning and cardio with strength and flexibility training exercises that work your body’s secondary muscles.
  • Sit up straight – not only does good posture reduce tension, it also burns a few extra calories a day.
  • Hydrate – this is critical, especially after workouts and massages, as toxins are released into the bloodstream.
  • Schedule regular (monthly or quarterly) massages – this will help work out long-standing knots and tension points.

Next time you’re feeling tense, need a haircut or want to lose the monobrow, stop by Hair M in downtown Portland. I guarantee it will be one story with a “happy ending.”



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