(Editor’s note: Today marks the second of three-part series of stories exploring the goals of Fitness Week sponsored by the Edmond Park and Recreation Department.)

There is touchingly good news from the fitness front: A massage can help you reach your health and fitness goals.

The better news is that you can learn to perform simple massage techniques on yourself and on family members during the Edmond Parks and Recreation Department’s Fitness Week, Feb. 6-11.

Michel Eisenhour, a certified massage therapist and owner of A Mother’s Touch, a massage service which caters to pregnant and postpartum women and infants, will teach several classes on the benefits of massage during that week.

Eisenhour said massage can prepare muscles for a safe workout, reduce the amount recuperation time from injuries, fight the aches and pains of arthritis and even prolong life by reducing stress.

During her Calling All Runners class on Feb. 9, participants will learn how to prevent common running injuries and how to run with less pain.

“Sports massage warms the muscles up to avoid injury and strain before activities,” she said.

Runners will learn some easy techniques they can perform for themselves or with a partner. Eisenhour said proper warm up can put a stop to Achilles tendon problems and heel bursitis, which can end a running career.

Massage can also reduce shin splints, a common ailment which can sideline an athlete.

“Runners hate to be out for even a week,” she said.

Eisenhour said massage not only promotes blood flow to the muscles, which limbers them up for an athletic performance, it allows natural healing for injuries and other pains.

She explained that increased blood flow also heightens the flow of natural antibodies, which aid in self-repair.

For these reasons, she added, massage is also helpful for the treatment of arthritis.

Arthritis patients can learn self-massage techniques that are performed while sitting — no need to get up on a table — and that use common household items, such as tennis balls.

Massage for the Stressed Out will meet on Feb. 7. Eisenhour said the techniques learned in this class will enable participants to massage away the worries that enter everyday life.

“This will be a hands-on class,” she said. “You need to come willing to work. This is something you can do for yourself or your spouse if you’ve had a bad day, screaming kids or a lot of traffic.

“Stress is a No. 1 killer in America,” Eisenhour said. “Stress in pregnancy can reduce fetal oxygen levels by 60 percent. It causes heart attacks and strokes. It causes diabetes when people are driven to stress eat. It doesn’t take much. If you can learn to distress for an hour or even half an hour, you’ll be healthier. You just need to take the time to do it.”

Although it is not part of Fitness Week, Eisenhour will offer Hush Little Baby.

She said studies have shown that infant massage aids in brain development, reduces stress in infants, promotes sleep, boosts the immune system, quiets crying and alleviates colic and congestion.

Other Fitness Week activities include courses on Mediterranean diet, Irish dancing, weight training for children, physical education for home schooled students and even a fitness course for your dog.

All classes will be at the Multi-Purpose Activity Center in Mitch Park on Covell Road.

For more information on classes or to register, call 359-4630.

The Fitness Week finale will be the 11th Annual Frigid Five Miler presented by the Edmond Running Club, at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 11 in Mitch Park.

There is also a one-mile fun run.

Call the MAC on 359-4630 for a registration form or e-mail runbobrun@ gmail.com for more information.


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