Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Anatomy of a Massage

I had my freebie the other day. Went to the salon to de-stress. Only I felt more stressed than I normally do. What if this masseuse in training didn't know what he was doing? And suddenly I was unable to get off the bed because he screwed up my back and I missed Abby's graduation from kindergarten? And so the neurosis began...

Him: "Nice to meet you. I'll have you lay on your stomach with your head in the cradle. Take off as much as you feel comfortable. I'll knock before I come in."

Phew. If my Gaydar is correct, he'd much prefer my husband than me so that pressure is off - not like I thought he'd fall in love with me during the massage - but something about a strange, heterosexual man's hands roaming all over me was throwing me for a loop. Oddly, my OB/GYN is a guy...but I digress...

Here I go, under the covers. Heating pad under the sheets is sure to send me into a menopausal flash session. OK, head's in the cradle. I can't breathe. Literally. When I put my head into those little toilet-bowled shaped "cradles", all the blood rushes to my head, stuffs up my nose and I can't breathe. Should I tell him? Crap. What am I doing?

knock. knock.

"All set?"


Except now the blood has started to rush to places other than my nose and I'm feeling like Lisa Rina - why do my lips feel like they are instantly expanding on my face? Breathe through your stuffed nose. Relax. Cold hands. Relax. Listen to the music. Relax.

I'm so NOT relaxed. Am I the only one on the planet that isn't excited about oils being rubbed all over my back while soothing, meditation music plays softly in the background?

About 10 minutes in (I guess) I started to relax a little more. Kept readjusting in the cradle to be sure I didn't pass out. Thought about writing this blog the whole time so that made me a little uneasy. I'm sure he didn't expect me to be having a full-on internal dialogue in my head while he worked on my VERY tight left shoulder area. After he would tell me my range of motion there is pretty limited - I blame having lived in Maryland on that problem spot, but that's a different blog.

Pressure wasn't too hard, or soft, until he started leaning in on my back. With his forearm. And maybe elbows? Not sure. Losing a sense of exactly where he is by the table. By my head? On the right? More pressure. Oh no. Say it isn't so. Not now. Gas? Seriously??? Oh God help me.

And he did - by making them silent-ish. But it happened 4 times in all. I'm sure my whole body tensed up. I bet he knew. I bet I'm not the first. That helps me relax a bit.

The hour seemed to go by quickly but I don't think I ever reached that place where I was completely comfortable or relaxed. Maybe I'm just too self-conscious in general and that vulnerability was too much for my little psyche to handle? Maybe I prefer for another day? Maybe I have to practice what I preach and just relax every now and then and let go.

As I scooted out the door I realized that I will probably stick to manicures, pedicures and haircuts. That's enough touching for me.


Julie B said...

Hi C, I totally love this post, honest and true!
I wish I could let myself get a massage.....

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I always request a female masseuse - too much pressure (in my head) otherwise!