WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     westbrook  — Are you suffering from achy muscles, lower back pain, body aches, or just plain tired of winter blues. Then you might want to visit the Peaceful Spirit Massage located across the hall from The Recipe in the newly remodeled former bowling alley in Westbrook.

    Penny Danner had been doing massage in the Thrifty White Pharmacy building. Danner started school in 2007 at the Sister Rosalynd Gefre school of Massage in St. Paul. The one year 900 hour course was an in-depth study of massage techniques.

    Danner learned specific techniques of massage including Swedish Massage, Muscle Therapy, Myofascial Massage, Pregnancy Massage, sports injuries, and Hot Stone Therapy.

    Danner said, “I got into massage, because I wanted to get into the medical field — but didn’t want to go to medical school. So in massage I still had to learn Anatomy, physiology, Pathology, and Kinesiology (muscles) that fulfilled my medical interest. But she really wanted to work with people and make them feel better.”

    Danner does several types of massage including Swedish Massage which is a general relaxation massage. Myofascial Massage is more of a therapeutic massage involving specific muscle groups. She also does pregnancy massage after the first trimester. Women who are pregnant often have lower back pain, leg cramps, and general tiredness, this concentrates mostly on the lower back  and  legs.

    Hot stone massage combines heated stones which are used to apply heat to the massage area. The stones are smooth flat stones of various sizes. They are heated in water to 125 degrees and then laid on a towel over the area to be massaged. She also uses the stones in her hand using the heat from the stones to accent the massage from her fingers.

    She does Essential Oils Aroma Therapy. It uses plant extracts of lemon grass and Marjoram oil. She puts a drop of each on her hands combined with a jell lotion,  then massages the area with the hands. She said, “it is particularly good for muscle spasms.”

    There are a variety of gels and lotions that can be used, “I prefer the gel, it gives good coverage and reduces the pull on  the skin,” Danner said.

    Danner also uses essential oils, lemon, orange, and tangerine, all have relaxing scents. But if a person is looking to be energized she uses peppermint or other oils to revitalize. She also has to be aware of what types of oils should not be used with persons with specific medical conditions.

    Another area she works on is Reflexology which is done on the feet. Massaging different areas on the foot will correspond with different parts of the body including internal organs.

    Danner couldn’t stress enough that if massage is done correctly there should not be any pain after the massage. Although she said some people might experience some minor discomfort, but drinking water afterwards will reduce it. She  said if people are having pain during the  massage they should tell her so she can modify the pressure she uses during the massage. Drinking water afterward will help to flush out toxins that are released during the massage.

    After doing a massage she puts a warm towel on their back and does compressions on  the calves, thighs, and back. She then gives them a bottle of water to encourage them to stay hydrated.

    When she gets a new customer she has them fill out a health form describing ailments and other treatments they are receiving. She then discusses with them what they are looking for in a massage.

    After the first session, she fills out a form she calls S.O.A.P. form which is a detailed plan of what she did during the session. She uses the form to review what she did in previous sessions so she can follow up at the next session.

    She has people who  come in weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. She only does massage by appointment. Her sessions are 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes. She does four to five sessions a day depending on the length of the sessions. She also has gift certificates available. “They are nice for special occasions — Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, Father’s Day, any other occasion or just because,” She said.

    Danner will be holding an open house to show off the  new business place. It will be Friday March 1 from 10:00 a.m. to  2:00 p.m. Stop in for a visit with coffee, cookies, and door prizes.