Spa Owner Stephanie Knight Discusses The Benefits Of Massage Therapy

Most of us associate spas with relaxation and rest, but have no idea how much work and careful planning goes on behind the scenes to make us feel that way. Stephanie Knight, owner of Escape Wellness Spa and winner of local contest, “Best of the Coast” seven years running, takes us for a rare tour backstage in the field of massage therapy. Knight has been a licensed massage therapist for nearly 14 years now. Those familiar with the business will recognize the masters of massage she studied with, including Myoskeletal Alignment with Erik Dalton, Orthopedic Massage with James Waslaski, Postural Alignment-Body Reading with Thomas Meyers, and Thai Yoga Bodywork with Michael Buck and Blakely Parent. She is also experienced in medical massage, sports massage, and prenatal massage. Knight worked at The Mane Event Salon and Day Spa for five years as an independent contractor before deciding to open Escape Wellness Spa.

There are so many wonderful benefits of massage therapy. In addition to providing relaxation, massage can help to alleviate lower back pain and improve range of motion. It eases medication dependence and enhances immunity by stimulating lymphatic flow. Massage helps to stretch tightened, contracted muscles and can help tone weakened or atrophied muscles.  It can also help athletes of any level prepare for and recover from strenuous workouts. It helps to improve the condition of the skin, increases joint mobility and reduces spasms and cramping. Treatment also lessens depression and anxiety, promotes tissue regeneration, improves circulation, relaxes and softens muscles, releases endorphins, relieves migraine pain, assists with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers,  shortens maternity hospital stays and improves sleep.

What motivates someone to choose massage therapy as a career option? Knight says, “I have always intuitively known the benefits of touch and how much people need it.” She was inspired by her own Physical Therapist, as she had to go through physical therapy after shoulder surgery when she was 15 years old. Knight waited tables for six years at Applebee’s while she was in high school and in college working toward becoming an Occupational Therapist. She put her degree on hold to go to Pensacola School of Massage and ended up falling in love with massage therapy.  It became her passion and career and she quickly built an overflowing clientele.

Knight’s claim to fame is her eclectic style of massage that combines a little bit of everything, which includes myoskeletal alignment (muscle-bone alignment), structural/postural alignment, myofacial release, orthopedic, medical, sports, prenatal, Swedish massage, and Thai Yoga bodywork (otherwise known as assisted yoga, which is involves a lot of stretching). She works with many different clients from all walks of life, and has learned to customize each treatment to fit their individual needs—whether they sit too much, play a lot of sports or anything in between. Knight says, “My philosophy is that massage should be a ‘hurt good,’ helping feeling, not a painful, unpleasant experience.” (Readers, if your massages ‘hurt bad’ we do recommend changing spas).

Massage therapy is one of the few careers where you can see a transformation in a person’s entire demeanor and you are thanked every hour.  People who come frustrated, stressed and aching, leave with a smile on their face, happy that they can move more freely with less pain and feel so relaxed. Knight says, “I love inspiring my clients to take better care of themselves, but I’m also here for them when they fall off track. We just start a new day and keep moving forward.”

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