Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stretch, Relax, Repeat to Make the Aches Disappear

Push your physical and mental limits with an orthopedic massage.




Photo by John Altdorfer

 

As has been the tradition, when everyone else is getting their holly-jolly on, every muscle in my body begins to coil around my bones like a boa constrictor. 
 
Gas bills that make me wonder if I’m heating the entire neighborhood. Tighter.

Blaring horns fighting over parking spaces at the mall. Tighter.

Forgetting whose turn it was to buy, thaw and cook the dang turkey. Oh, it was me? Tighter.

I seek out Elements Massage, where the client intake form wants to know what brings me to their Wexford location. “Please check all that apply,” it kindly asks.

As I begin answering — my back, my neck, my shoulders, my sciatic nerve — it dawns on me that my current list of ails sounds as woeful as a country western song. My saving grace is that for the next 60 minutes, I’ll be drowning my sorrows in Room No. 8. Face down on a heated massage table. Tucked under a crisp white sheet and a warm blanket. Lights dimmed. Music soft. A chocolate waiting for me on a tray.

“Can you feel that stretch?”
 


 

Licensed massage therapist Nathan Cook is midway through my Swedish-style orthopedic massage, slowly coaxing my leg to lift higher, like the tail of an airplane. As it reaches maximum altitude, I can feel the muscles in my quads and hips begin to uncoil. He continues the sequence — lift, cross, pull, lift, cross, pull — before moving on to my hamstrings, glutes (and then deeper into the piriformis), hip abductors and gastrocnemius muscles in my calves.

“What a muscle does to function is contract, or shorten,” he explains. “If a muscle is chronically tight or shortened, it is not as functional as it would be at its natural resting length.

Additionally, when a muscle is tight it can ‘pinch’ other tissues that run through or under it (including) blood vessels, capillaries and nerves.” 

I drift into a euphoric state of half consciousness, aware only that the hour is moving far too quickly as he begins untying the knots in my lower back. As he does, he remains keenly aware of any changes in my breathing; namely, when I wince over the tender spots.

“Five minutes left,” he tells me. 

“If you have one to spare,” I say, wiggling my arms out from underneath the blanket, “my hands are cramped, too.”

Verdict: I was a little sore the next day. The following day, however, after drinking plenty of water as directed, the majority of my aches had disappeared.

Elements Massage, 12085 Perry Highway, Wexford; 724/799-2593, elementsmassage.com/wexford. Sessions by appointment; 1 hr/$89; 90 min/$129; 2 hrs/$178. You can save up to $30/session with the Elements Wellness Program, a monthly massage subscription with no contracts or fees that can be used at any location nationwide.
 

Eat This Month

Phytosterols
These naturally occurring compounds found within plant cell membranes have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels up to 10 percent and LDL (aka "bad" cholesterol) up to 14 percent, says registered dietitian Jenny Nguyen. Find them in nuts, legumes, whole grains, fruits and veggies, although a plant sterol/stanol supplement packs the greatest punch. “If you are battling high cholesterol, the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends consuming two grams per day,” she says. 
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

The coffee house brings its international focus and welcoming atmosphere to the North Side.

The 400-Word Review: Mortal Engines

Another attempt to start a dystopian franchise can't deliver on its strong premise.

Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

The rideshare company collects data on just about every aspect of the rider experience, including the most frequently visited locations.

Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

In a season that remarkably could still go either way as Christmas approaches, we’re about to find out if Mike Tomlin still has the coaching chops that have allowed him to succeed at such a high level for so long.

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The quirky period drama starring Emma Stone is one of the year's best films.

My Favorite Room with Heather Abraham

Each issue, HOME goes inside the room of one of our favorite Pittsburghers.

Look Inside a Home That's a True Gateway to Pittsburgh

After 50 years away, Dick and Vicki Mallary returned to Pittsburgh and spent years painstakingly remodeling a condo in the heart of Downtown.

This Old Pittsburgh House: A Ghost in the Library

It's said that the mischievous spirit of Amanda Bayne Balph still haunts the red brick Victorian home in Bellevue.

“Trocking” Along: Living the Art-Filled Life in Pittsburgh

Patricia Sheahan’s home in the Brewhouse Art Lofts on the South side doubles as a gallery space showcasing her collection of art, antique finds and roadside treasures.

Down to Earth is the Hottest Trend at High Point Market

Get the scoop on the furnishing and decor trends to come out of the influential High Point Market trade show, including a return to natural materials.

Winter 2019: Things We Love

Here are the local gems worth obsessing over.

The Best New Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2018

Our dining critic picks the eight top openings of 2018 and suggests one more to keep an eye on.

A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

Guest blogger Sarah Connor helps college kids head out at night, whatever their birth year.

The 400-Word Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The animated wing of Spider-Man's movie world proves to be a groundbreaking step in animation.

New Venue To Serve as Downtown's Home for Magic

The intimate venue will offer close-up, "parlour" magic shows for small audiences beginning in February.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

The rideshare company collects data on just about every aspect of the rider experience, including the most frequently visited locations.

Comments

New Venue To Serve as Downtown's Home for Magic

New Venue To Serve as Downtown's Home for Magic

The intimate venue will offer close-up, "parlour" magic shows for small audiences beginning in February.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

The coffee house brings its international focus and welcoming atmosphere to the North Side.

Comments

First Look: Seasons in Etna

First Look: Seasons in Etna

David Bulman’s hyper-local, 12-seat restaurant has the potential to become a dining destination.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

We dove into the local artisan bread scene to find the best places that bake naturally leavened bread in Pittsburgh.

Comments


A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

A Guide to Under-21 College Nightlife in Pittsburgh

Guest blogger Sarah Connor helps college kids head out at night, whatever their birth year.

Comments

At Jergel's, It's Beers and Grub Near Some Rock and Roll

At Jergel's, It's Beers and Grub Near Some Rock and Roll

The Warrendale venue makes seeing a show feel like an easygoing night out.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

In a season that remarkably could still go either way as Christmas approaches, we’re about to find out if Mike Tomlin still has the coaching chops that have allowed him to succeed at such a high level for so long.

Comments

When I Realized the True Meaning of the Army-Navy Game

When I Realized the True Meaning of the Army-Navy Game

As Army veteran and Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva sees it, Army-Navy is football at its core in a setting that transcends the sport.​

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Mortal Engines

The 400-Word Review: Mortal Engines

Another attempt to start a dystopian franchise can't deliver on its strong premise.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The quirky period drama starring Emma Stone is one of the year's best films.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Overseas Adventures Lead to Pittsburgh Weddings

Overseas Adventures Lead to Pittsburgh Weddings

These couples made the trip that would take them from dating to engaged.

Comments

On Theme Weddings with Style

On Theme Weddings with Style

These brides went beyond a color scheme for their wedding day to work in an entire theme.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Historic Larimer Schoolhouse Will Graduate to Apartment Complex

Historic Larimer Schoolhouse Will Graduate to Apartment Complex

Federal funds will be used to turn to the vacant Romanesque-style building into 35 mixed-income apartments.

Comments

Allegheny County Could Pay You to Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace

Allegheny County Could Pay You to Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace

In the hopes of reducing air pollution and improving indoor air quality — particularly for those with asthma — the county health department is conducting a program to convert open-hearth fireplaces into vented gas-burning appliances.

Comments