GTPulse: The Gift of Healing Touch at Superior Massage

In a world where hugging is on hold, many of us are touch starved. A recent trip to the doctor proved this to me when upon feeling her cold hands on my back I didn’t bristle, but instead, basked in the sensation electrifying my spine. Why was a routine checkup giving me first kiss at summer camp feelings? Probably because I haven’t experienced human touch outside of a small number of people in awhile. A pat on the back, grazing past a stranger’s shoulder in a crowded bar, throwing my arms around my friends for a tight embrace, these are things that I haven’t done in almost a year now. I’m not the only one who misses touch, either. Beth Pawlowski, a Traverse City-based massage therapist says that it’s something she’s seen others experience too.

“I’ve been busier than I ever have this year. People have just really been looking for calmness and care,” she said.

Beth’s passion for massage therapy was apparent to her early. She participated in different sports throughout school and felt a calling towards helping those with physical ailments.

“I always felt I had a sense of healing. I played sports in school, and the human body has never been intimidating to me. I thought I was going to go to school for sports science or physical therapy, but I just didn’t know. So I started out with massage school so I could work my way up into doing the other stuff if I wanted to. But honestly, once I was in school I just loved it so much that I felt like there were no limits to where I could go with it.”

Beth has worked in spas, doctor’s offices, chiropractic offices, massage clinics, and now she works for herself through her own practice Superior Massage. She’s in her eleventh year as a massage therapist, which holds veteran status in her field. Because massage therapists spend long hours on their feet, their working years are usually shorter than those in other professions. Beth recently had a massage table made for her that will keep her working longer, and accommodate clients with limited mobility better too.

“They say 10,11,15 years is like a max for a massage therapist. After that, you’ve gotta slow down to look after your hands, your neck, your back. So, this new table I’m using is designed by massage therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists had a say in how it’s designed. It’s to help me with longevity, and to help me work smarter not harder with my clients bodies. It lowers to 16 inches, so it’s really helpful for clients who are in wheelchairs. The chest plate moves down so I can really open up a client’s low back more. There’s just so much I can do with it.”

While COVID-19 has had a negative impact on most small businesses, Beth has been in a unique situation. She has seen business rise throughout the year, which she believes is due to people making an effort to engage in more acts of self care.

Regular massage sessions, even once or twice a month, have health benefits. They’re effective at reducing stress and fatigue, easing sleep troubles, sports injuries, and promoting joint and muscle pain relief. They also help increase blood circulation and lymph fluid flow. Our lymphatic systems play a crucial role in assisting our immune system, aiding in production of immune cells, removing excess fluid from our body tissues, and transporting fatty acids to the circulatory system.

“Massage is great for stress control, tension headaches, lymphatics. Your lymph is what pushes junk out of your body, they’re what feel swollen sometimes when you feel sick. There are just so many things it can help with. It’s mind boggling.”

She’s found that alongside the physical healing benefits of massage therapy, there is also emotional healing too. She joked that massage therapists should also get a degree in counseling because people open up to her so often. 

“People feel safe and comfortable in a space like this. Touch can manifest a lot of emotion, we’re very connected to our emotions through our bodies.”

Because Beth has a private practice of her own with three separate massage rooms, following safety protocols has been fairly easy. After being disinfected, each room has ample time to sit empty before being occupied again. For those who don’t feel comfortable coming into an office at the moment, Beth travels for home sessions too. 

“As a massage therapist, my approach is to combine a lot of techniques into one. You know, on my website I have Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sport, and the list goes on, but I work with each client individually. Maybe a certain part of your body doesn’t need deep tissue, maybe another part does.”

Give yourself the gift of healing touch by making an appointment with Beth at

Categories: GTPulse