Sure people get massages for the spa-like experience of a stress reliever.
But nowadays more eastern Iowans rely on the rubdowns to overcome debilitating medical conditions.
In Health Plus, one woman who swears by her weekly sessions.
Denise Barr schedules her massages like a doctor's appointment-something she needs to stay healthy.
"I have fibromyalgia and I have my 5-6 and 5-7 fused in my neck. That chronic cycle of pain keeps the muscles tight, stiff," she says.
The 56-year-old Cedar Falls woman gets a weekly rubdown at Sartori Memorial Hospital.
For more than a decade the therapy has helped her overcome the pain of medical problems.
"Getting regular massages has kept me from having to take a lot of pain medications, muscle relaxants, a lot of drugs that I don't want to have to take on a regular basis."
Heidi Hansen has been Denise's massage therapist of choice for two years.
She customizes each session with everything from traditional Swedish to deep tissue techniques.
"We can do muscle stripping, trigger-point therapy, if you have knots in your shoulders and what not. Or if you're just wanting relaxation we can do a lighter massage or deeper massage," says Heidi.
Hansen says her clients are an even split of women and men.
"It's completely professional. You're covered by a sheet at all times. We can put a blanket on for extra comfort. We can use heating pads on your back and on your arms when we flip you over. Just a very professional setting," says Heidi.
As for Denise, she's already looking forward to next week's appointment.
"If I wasn't doing this, to be honest with you, I probably wouldn't be able to work. So this keeps me going," says Denise.
Three massage therapists are currently available through Covenant Monday through Saturday from 8:30 in the morning until 7:30 at night.
Call 272-7200 to make an appointment at Kimball Ridge in waterloo or Sartori in Cedar Falls.