Massage therapy brings clients to life at Vive! in Park Ridge
Geri Balazs, owner of Vive! Therapeutic Massage, works on a client at the business January 2, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Vive! Massage
SPECIALTY: Massage therapy
ADDRESS: 1416 Canfield Rd., Park Ridge
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:07AM
PARK RIDGE — Unwinding after a hectic holiday season may sometimes take more than a quick trip to the spa.
Physical stress, after all, is a year-round issue. Sitting hunched over a desk for eight hours and constantly straining the neck to use cell phones and other electronic devices wreaks havoc on the body.
“Posture is a huge problem these days,” acknowledged Geri Balazs, owner of Vive! Therapeutic Massage, 1416 Canfield Road in Park Ridge.
Balazs pursued a clinical approach to massage therapy when debuting her practice three years ago in order to help patients improve their long-term health.
Vive! offers a range of techniques, including cupping and hot stone therapy, in addition to common massage modalities like the Swedish massage.
Balazs and a team of seven therapists determine the best methods for alleviating and preventing pain by assessing each individual’s routines and habits.
“We take massage to another level,” she said. “We see it as a great way for people to get healing in so many different ways.”
Balazs encourages patients to practice self-care by becoming aware of daily actions that contribute to discomfort. For example, over- or under-using muscles causes them to retract. Muscles full of toxins can’t breathe and become starved of oxygen and other nutrients.
Harboring tension causes further problems. Balazs said stress is related to the body’s natural “fight or flight” inclination as the body undergoes a chemical reaction when threatened. But a build-up of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, can have dire consequences in the long run.
“Stress in and of itself becomes a very physical problem,” Balazs said.
The key for massage therapists is to determine where pain originates and treat muscles in those areas, she said. Facial cupping, for example, can alleviate headaches and jaw and neck problems.
Over time massage therapy helps lower blood pressure, improve circulation, stimulate the nervous system and shift the body’s motor impulses to re-establish homeostasis, Balazs said.
“We kind of look at ourselves as troubleshooters.” she said. “Our goal is to bring those muscles to the extension that they should be able to acquire.”
Relaxation is also the aim, especially for those whose pain is stress-induced.
“Part of de-stressing is allowing permission for the session and time for yourself,” Balazs said. “Sometimes it’s the only time in a person’s day or week or month where they don’t have to think.”
Children with asthma, teenagers with sports-related injuries and seniors with hip and knee replacements have benefited from Vive! clinic’s massage therapies.
Professionals with labor-intensive jobs, like firefighters, visit regularly to maintain their wellness, Balazs said.
So, too, do chemotherapy patients who need physical as well as mental relief.
“People don’t have to live in pain,” Balazs said. “We do it because we really do care.”
She added: “We want to share our skills to help people lead more productive lives.”