Many people are over-stressed and don’t even realize it. After all, we live in a world full of deadlines, responsibilities and demands on our time.

This stress can cause physical ailments - from headaches and nausea to feelings of panic and anxiety. Stress can also cause behavioral problems such as irritability, moodiness and nervous habits.

It’s important to let go of some of that stress in order to feel rested and relaxed.

Massage (sometimes called bodywork) is one way to do that.

Jay Manda, licensed massage therapist, has spent 21 years helping clients relieve tension and feel better physically.

“You’re sitting at a desk all day at work,” he said. “Then you’re sitting in traffic with your hands clenched on the steering wheel. When you live like this day after day, you begin to develop pains and aches and tightness in your body. Massage, especially deep tissue massage, can relieve many of these symptoms.”

In fact, massage has been shown to offer many benefits, including:

- improved sleep quality

- decreased anxiety

- more energy

- more flexibility

- improved concentration

Perhaps the best proof of massage therapy’s effectiveness is the fact that the health care industry is using it more and more.

Aside from basic massage, Manda also does sports massage aimed at athletes in training, and medical massage for patients in rehab or pain management programs.

Massage is much more than pampering yourself. If you’re interested in incorporating massage into your self-care plan, do your homework.

“A lot of therapists have a license, but you need one who has experience as well,” Manda said. “And get referrals. Before you choose someone, talk to someone who has had a good experience with that therapist.”