Jessica King gives Michael Wang a therapeutic massage at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy.
Jessica King gives Michael Wang a therapeutic massage at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. ( Zak Wood )

There are many different places in Boulder go to for a massage. And we`re talking about the normal, legal type of massage, not the "happy ending" kind you hear about in movies and TV.

Many of the apothecaries in town offer them as well as many of the spas.

First time?

Jennifer Condon, a certified massage therapist with her own practice, Blessed Be Bodyworks, offers the following suggestions for people new to massage:

1. Be sure when picking a therapist that after his or her name are the letters C.M.T (certified massage therapist) or R.M.T (registered massage therapist).

2. When receiving massage, be sure to voice your opinion. Don`t be afraid to say something is uncomfortable. (A therapist wants nothing more than for you to enjoy your massage.)

3. Trust your own judgement, just as in any situation. (If something doesn`t seem right, it probably isn`t.)

4. You can always ask where the person was trained or just do some of your own research.

5. Make sure the place is reputable but has the atmosphere you`re looking for. Check it out in person before making an appointment.

Boulder Bodyworks is located off Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder a bit past Foothills Parkway and offer a full array of massage therapies, as well as plenty of other services.

Lorrie Trussel is the general manager of Boulder Bodyworks and has had massage therapy many times while working there. She said her personal favorite reason for getting it done is for headaches, but she also likes to get the longest massage available: 120 minutes.

"It gives the body more time to unravel," Trussel said.

Trussel also said that some of the main reasons people come into the shop range from lower back pain to shoulder pain. Also, the majority of people get a 60- to 90-minute massage, depending on the person`s "patience level" for working out their issue.

Good for students

Mia Upton is a massage therapist at Boulder Bodyworks and said she sees many students in her work.

"Oh my goodness, the stress those little bodies go through," she said.

Upton said that some of the reasons students come in for massage therapy range from headaches to stress, "mock" carpal tunnel (not the permanent kind, but from sitting and studying for long periods of time hunched over a computer) and also digestive issues.

"Integrating the mind, body and soul is good for invigorating those students working so hard," Upton said.

In a "pitch" for why students could try massage therapy, Upton said, "It can really help their attention, sleep, digestion, motility, motility and mobility; it`s what our life forces work for, moving things through the body. Our job is to 'clear the dam` in the river that is the life force."

She also recommends that students look for and seek out alternative methods of reducing stress.

Career choice

A personality test in a career class in high school told Jennifer Condon she`d be good in a "helping career." With this information, she chose massage therapy.

"I had always really loved to give people massages and help them with their aches and pains," she said.

After taking the test, the students in her class were able to then shadow a person in that field for a day. Condon chose to shadow the only local message therapist in her hometown with a private practice. Since then, she`s wanted to be able to help people heal and be in business for herself.

Condon went to the Boulder College of Massage Therapy to get registered through the state of Colorado and then took a national exam to become nationally certified as a massage therapist.

In the state of Colorado, 500 hours are required for certification and registration as a massage therapist. These regulations are new to the massage therapy field in Colorado as of last year. Before then, there were no regulations on hours logged, people practiced on and things of that nature before becoming certified.

"I think regulation is a good thing," Condon said. "It helps clients have piece of mind to know their therapist has been trained and has enough experience in ethics of practice, anatomy, and hands on training."

Decreasing stress

In conjunction with the reasons people go into Boulder Bodyworks, Condon said that the decrease in stress levels is the best medical effect of massage. Stress in your life can exacerbate some pre-existing conditions, promote anxiety and become unmanageable. This type of thing is why many suggest massage therapy.

"I think it is great to live in Boulder for the reason of there are so many options of therapists and often they specialize in a certain form of bodywork," Condon said. "It`s a great idea to try different types of massage to decide which form works for you."

Massage therapy definitely isn`t for everyone. (Especially those who cannot stand being touched.) But according to the ladies from Boulder Bodyworks and Condon, it can relieve some serious stress and other ailments.

Oh, and as for those "happy endings," Condon said: "Therapeutic massage is not associated with any sort of business which involves sexual services, and should not be confused with such. Sexual services go on everywhere, so I am sure Boulder is not excluded."