Perfect Post-Massage Lentil Soup

One of my favorite bits of wisdom shared in an old blog post about getting the most out of your massage was from our therapist, Justin. He recommended that clients figure out an easy dinner plan or have a meal going in the slow cooker so after their service, they don’t have to worry about cooking, dishes, or grocery shopping. I love this advice so much I’ve started doing it myself!

Last week, I made one of my favorite vegetarian (easily made vegan) crock pot lentil soups, inspired by a recipe from my favorite vegetarian restaurant, the Chicago Diner. I was SO GLAD this was waiting for me at home on massage day or I would have caved and picked up a super unhealthy carry-out meal because I was too relaxed to cook!

Perfect post-massage lentil soup

1 1/2 c. dried lentils

1 bay leaf

6 cups veggie stock (I use “Better than Boullion” brand concentrate. Trust me, this is the best veggie stock mix out there)

1 large carrot, chopped

1-2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 small red pepper (or whatever color bell pepper is on sale!) chopped

15 oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer the kind with peppers and onions, but pain is great too)

1/2-3/4 cup chopped yellow onion

Spinach (fresh)

Crumbled feta cheese (optional)

salt and pepper to taste




Toss all ingredients except spinach, feta, salt, and pepper into a crock pot. Set on low temperature for 10 hours (perfect if you’ve got your massage right after work!)  After 10 hours, toss in a few generous handfuls of spinach to wilt, add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a side of bread or a few crackers.

veggie-lentil-soupI’d LOVE to hear your favorite hearty and easy meals to enjoy on massage days! Need a massage day? Click here to book yours online!

Try massage therapy first for pain!

eastvillagespa-tishaforearmmassageWhen I was 22 (so, awhile ago), I turned my head funny picking a very unlucky penny off the floor.  My neck ached for a couple of weeks so, being right out of college and not having a doctor in my new town, I went to an urgent care clinic for advice. The doctor felt my neck, did some range of motion exercises, and declared that I had arthritis, wrote me a painkiller prescription, and sent me on my way.

Not once did this doctor tell me, an otherwise healthy and active 22 year old woman to consider massage therapy, chiropractic, osteopathic manipulations, or other conservative forms of pain management.  When I did seek out massage on my own and realized how powerful it was, I knew I needed to become a massage therapist to help others.

I’ve been researching the nation’s opioid addiction crisis and wondering why traditional health providers are still not more widely educated on the benefits of conservative measures of pain relief for non-specific pain (i.e. back pain that is not caused by an underlying factor such as cancer) when massage therapy has been proven in multiple studies to be effective in relieving many kinds of pain.  I can almost give the doctor I saw back in 2002 a pass because massage therapy wasn’t as well-researched as it is today, but I feel like with our current information, there are no excuses.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (

  • From 1991-2013, opioid (Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin) prescriptions rose from 76 to 207 million.
  • From 1990-2010 overdose deaths from prescription opioids tripled (and were more common than deaths from heroin or cocaine).
  • 14.4% of women are prescribed an opioid drug during pregnancy

eastvillagespa-juliemassagecloseupOver 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, 38 million of those need relief from persistent moderate to severe back pain (  Massage therapy has been proven effective in treatment of non-specific chronic low back pain (The Annals of Internal Medicine).

  • 401 patients between the ages of 20 and 65 who had non-specific chronic low back pain for at least 3 months (rating a minimum of 3 out of 10 on a pain scale) received either general relaxation massage, structural (injury-specific) massage, or traditional medical care for 10 weeks.
  • After results measured at 10 weeks after treatment and 26 weeks after treatment, participants who received massage fared significantly better than those who received traditional medical care without massage.
  • There was no statistical difference between those who received general relaxation massage techniques and those who received structural massage techniques.

Massage Therapy Magazine cites several studies showing the efficacy of massage therapy for various types of pain and proposes that massage therapy can be a major player in helping to combat the opioid addiction epidemic by offering a conservative first line of treatment for pain.

While pain medications including opioids certainly have their place in patient care and are necessary for many people, we need to find a way to educate traditional healthcare providers that conservative treatments like massage therapy are effective. One way to start is by discussing massage therapy with your primary care provider.  Last year, 16% of respondents in the American Massage Therapy Association 2015 industry study indicated that they discussed massage with their physician.  If you have had positive benefits from massage, let them know!  We also need to encourage teaching hospitals and massage therapists to continue to conduct sound research to further share what many people who get massage already know: It works!

Ready to try massage? Click here to book with one of our experienced and licensed therapists.


Massage Industry Fact Sheet 2015: American Massage Therapy Association

Massage Magazine: Can Massage Help Combat the Opioid Epidemic?

National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Annals of Internal Medicine: A Comparison of the Effects of Two Types of Massage on Chronic Low Back Pain. 2011.