Relax? Don’t do this

Day 28. I’ve been waiting for this day to come for over a week. I rolled out of bed at 5 a.m. with a sleepy smile on my face because today was massage day!

I scooped up a $20 Groupon for 40-minute massage last month knowing that I’d definitely need it at some point during the challenge. In honor of the almost halfway point, and because my body is feeling a bit worn out, I decided to cash that sucker in this week. It’s been over a year since my last massage. I could not wait!

I didn’t know this particular massage clinic but their website looked fine. and I had to call several times to get a hold of someone to make an appointment.

I can’t say I was surprised to walk in and find an unimpressive space. To say it was lacking in the tranquility department would be an understatement. No one greeted me at the door–in fact, I stood in the chintzy lobby for several minutes before I saw anyone.

I had a gut feeling that this place would not be fragrant with spa incense or have a soothing soundtrack of crashing waves. I was right.

The massage room was large, chilly and looked more like a storage space for random bookshelves than a calming environment for relaxation. I hesitantly disrobed and crawled onto the creaky, flimsy massage table only to find it cold with sheets made of sandpaper. Apparently I was getting a bonus exfoliation.

I was ready to get the hell out of there–but I didn’t.

The massage itself was good except that the therapist was trying to engage me in small talk. I don’t like small talk anywhere. And in a massage? Forget about it! All I wanted to do was relax and have someone pummel the knots in my shoulders.

The talking eventually stopped and I tried to put the ambiance, or lack thereof, out of my mind. Towards the end I was comfortable and was even pleasantly surprised when the masseuse started putting pressure on my abdomen. I’ve never had those particular pressure points triggered but I found it really interesting and not painful, as one might think.

I felt a warm, tingling sensation in my stomach as the therapist manipulated around my abdomen. I could feel tension being released as my inner body shifted and undulated under the moderate pressure. It was an awesome and strange combination to feel so much movement in a place I so frequently ignore. Most days I walk around tightening my core, a.k.a. sucking in my stomach, not relaxing it.

The therapist told me that when you trigger those particular points on the body, it releases emotional build up. Now, I didn’t burst into tears or throw myself into a fetal position, but I could certainly see how that could be possible. I read that it also enhances digestion and can even tone the abdominals.

With all that being said, I am looking forward to a do-over massage–I’m talking incense, candles, water features, monks chanting, terry cloth robes. The works.

My mantra today: you get what you pay for.

*Images from massageblueprint.com and serenityschoolofcomplentarytherapy.co.uk

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