Wellness Development


In April, 2016, New York Magazine ran a series of articles reporting on neurological studies of memory retention, improving cognitive performance, and finding relief from mental depression. These articles bring together a focus on the foundations of wellness development: Exercise and Meditative Relaxation. Practiced together as we age helps us sustain a healthy mind in a healthy body, and massage plays a key role in this.

“…About three decades of research in neuroscience have identified a robust link between aerobic exercise and subsequent cognitive clarity… new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan, and, so far, only one activity is known to trigger the birth of those new neurons: vigorous aerobic exercise…”  Read Excerpt

“Studies have already suggested that physical activity can play a powerful role in reducing depression; newer, separate research is showing that meditation does, too. Now some exercise scientists and neuroscientists believe there may be a uniquely powerful benefit in combining the two.”  Read Article

 “Regular sessions of massage therapy contribute to both the quality of exercise and the quality of meditation,” notes Heidi Johnson, owner and operator of Thrive Massage and Bodywork, LLC, or Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Not everyone knows how to meditate successfully. In the hands of an expert therapist, massage can induce a deep state of relaxation and meditation in a safe and secure environment to improve your wellness.

“Equally important, an expert massage can improve your recovery from exercise fatigue and help prevent an injury that would disrupt your physical program,” Heidi says. “You can’t grow neurons if you are sidelined with an inflamed joint or injured muscle.

Wellbeing is such a strong concept associated with massage that around the country many professional studios and spas have co-opted this phrase into their names,” notes the Ann Arbor licensed massage therapist. “But in the serious development of wellness, I prefer the term thrive.

“The benefits of regular massage with an experienced and expert massage therapist go well beyond any static sense of feeling well. When you combine regular exercise with equally regular relaxation and massage therapies to improve circulation, you have more energy, more patience, more empathy, better analysis and more creative ideas.

“In other words, you thrive. And that is what Thrive Massage and Bodywork is all about,” Heidi says.

“We work to support your exercise program, help prevent an injury which might sideline you, and enable you to discover a power within for deep relaxation for improved cognitive skills and better memory. This is what makes the neurological research so exciting to read about in the New York Magazine stories.

“The benefits of massage therapy have been understood for more than four thousand years. It’s rewarding for those of us in the profession to see the journalism of science catching up,” Heidi says.