“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” – Westley (Princess Bride)
I am about to tell you yet another milestone (however minor) in my life. Wait for it. You sure you can handle it? Here goes: I got my first massage yesterday. When I say “massage” I mean “my first legit, professional, with-results massage” EVER in the two decades plus three years of my life.
I just have to say how much one learns about your body in a massage. I didn’t just get messages from my masseuse but from my body. I was soundly chastised from both parties enough in just a mere hour.
Before I went into the massage, one of the questions I was asked was: “On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your stress?” — Uh, hahaha, ok. I don’t mean to turn all “Rachel” on you here, but isn’t that sort of relative? How about if my version of 5 isn’t their or someone else’s version of 5? And do they mean my stress median overall or how stressed I was at that moment? I mean, seriously? Come on. Save the vagueness for most of the messed up relationships out there. But I progress…
I loved my masseuse. She was a middle-aged, braided pig-tailed, bright-eyed, cheery woman named, Darci. I instantly liked and felt at ease around her. She called me, “Sugar.” Ummmm…haha. Guess I am sweet. I just don’t like being perceived as just a sweet personality with a pretty face. I mean, there are worse things, but there’s much more to me than that.
Darci led me to a room that had ethereal (what I fondly like to call “Lord of the Rings”) type music croning softly over loudspeakers. The room was dimly lit and smelled amazing. The massage bed thingy-ma-jig (whatever it’s called) looked enticing to my weary body. She slipped out of the door and gave me time to undress in the dimly lit, cool room. Oh my goodness, the bed was more amazing than I originally conceived it to be. I was immediately embraced by and sandwiched between the contrast of crisp, smooth and cool sheets and the soft, padded, heated bed (like a giant heating pad). It was such a liberating experience to be naked between the awesomeness of all that; yeah I just threw that out there. Roll with it.
My requested massage was a half sports (involving hip and leg stretching) and half Swedish massage. The first few minutes into the massage Darci said, “You should have scheduled a longer massage. You need a lot of work, child.” Hahahaha. Oh my. Then she scolded me (half jokingly) for not stretching before running. To sum it up: I was a knotted mess. Still am. But I’m going back monthly for the next six months for the sake of my health. Yeah, you heard me.
I learned so much about blood flow and muscle suppleness, etc. I didn’t know you could get so many knots in your neck! It hurt like the dickens. This almost turned into a torture session and not a massage. Darci pointed out that I was badly dehydrated. I asked, “How can you tell by just touching my skin?” Her eyes delightfully crinkled up as she smiled knowingly and said, “Sugar, by the way your skin is zapping up my lotions.” But I learned something unique about myself that’s rare in most people: My knees have amazing flexibility and rotation abilities. My masseuse laughed at the discovery. Darci had to keep telling me to relax and to take deep breaths. She’d cluck her tongue and I would laugh because I was trying my hardest to relax but my body just has these natural defenses and urges. At the end of the session, Darci said, “Next time, Sugar, you need to have a whole glass of wine or some major muscle relaxant so I can work even more on your body.”
Darci (no she’s not African American even though she called me “Sugar”) was awesome, but seriously I am in a ton of pain today and I groaned as I attempted to crawl out of bed this morning. The way I slept I probably undid all of her work. Oh well. Next month I’m letting her give me just a sports massage; wants to work more on my legs and hips. She said my glutes were really tight, which in turn puts a lot of pressure on my lower back. Of course she said a lot of the tenderness in my shins (because I told her I don’t get shin splints when I run) and my hip issues had to do with my love for high heels. Yeah, she clucked at me for that too. Guilty.
Rachel B. Duke