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The Gift of Massage Relieves Holiday Stress

By Ty Walker

The Gift of Massage Relieves Holiday Stress

“Everybody deserves a massage,” and the Carson Bodywork slogan rings true, especially during the busy holiday season.

You’re in a rush, stressing out, running around Christmas shopping. It’s a mad dash for just the right gift. Your old injuries are acting up. Your bad back is killing you.

You’re worn down mentally and physically. You need a break. You need to relax. You need to chill. So does everybody else.

If that describes you or someone you know, maybe massage therapy is what you need for Christmas. Gift certificates from a local massage therapist make perfect stocking stuffers.

Two therapists with studios on the mountain come to mind: Kristi Carson of Carson Bodywork and Karen Hangsterfer of Karen Hangsterfer Massage Studio. Both practices are in Welches.

“I love making people feel better in their bodies,” Carson said. “I do a deep tissue massage with kind of a spa flair. I call it therapeutic pampering, where I really bring in nice deep pressure that’s not necessarily painful but alleviates pain and has a nice relaxing feel to it.”

A licensed therapist for over 13 years, Carson also trained in traditional Thai massage in Thailand. Her services include massage, facials, skin care and sugaring, a form of natural hair removal similar to waxing.
Hangsterfer has run her own massage studio for 32 years at the same location, just north of the Welches Post Office. She has built a large clientele mainly by word of mouth.

She sees a strong connection between the body and mind. Massage relieves tension buildup in muscles and relaxes the mind.

“I’m a body geek,” Hangsterfer said. “I love all the things about the body. I really think massage is helpful because the tension in our bodies is always building. The body and the mind directly affect each other. Body and mind are not separate organisms.

“Massage flushes the stagnation from muscle tissue, your tendons and your organs. Massage flushes the stagnation from that, which in turn opens up channels. They are invisible channels that allow our breath and energy to flow unimpeded.

“So we can receive life on life’s terms, and integrate things more easily. Things don’t seem so overwhelming. When you get a full body massage, all your internal systems get addressed at the same time. That results in a deep state of relaxation.”

Massage therapy is good for pain management and can improve your overall mental and physical health. It increases your range of motion, improves your sleep and addresses overall wellness. It reduces muscle tension, stress, anxiety and depression. It improves circulation, skin tone and mental alertness.

Karen Hangsterfer Massage Studio is located at 24403 E Welches Road in Welches. Phone 503-622-4388 or 503-380-1158; email

Carson Bodywork, located at 68296 US Highway 26 in Welches, is by appointment only. Phone 503-453-6248 or email

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