My body has not quite agreed with my no stress policy on life as the muscles in the back of my shoulder had started ache. When I grit my teeth, the pain would shoot from my jaw down to my shoulder blade.) I thought this might be a good time to try a massage, something which I have always wanted but for which there was never an actual need.
With a Groupon coupon clutched firmly in my hand, I made my way through the front door of the Chinese spa. Chinese decorations and symbols adorned the walls, a gold and red cat with a wagging paw sat on the counter, and a petite woman in a kimono greeted me in words I could not quite understand. With the coupon in her hand, I was reassured that she knew what I wanted; a deep tissue massage!
Led into a small, dimly lit private room, a comfy massage table awaited me. I considered which end of the table to get on; one end had a place I later learned was for my face and the other end had a rolled towel which could loosely be construed as a pillow. I took off my clothes, careful to leave my underwear on. (My bra had to come off because fixing the muscle pain on my shoulder would be hindered by the strap.) I sat in the middle of the bed, legs dangling off the side, sheet wrapped tightly around my body, awaiting the instructions the massage specialist would give me. Another petite woman, she motioned toward the end of the table without the towel and I started to lay on my back with my head falling backwards. She giggled a little, then motioned for me to turn over on my stomach. OH! So THAT’s how it works!
It is incomprehensible to me how a woman with such tiny hands could invoke such muscle pain on me. Every spot she touched hurt, but her delicate fingers kneaded the pain away. It was both an excruciating and relaxing experience all at once. When she finished with the bulk of my body, she pulled out my arm to massage. “Reacts” she kept telling me, (which I proudly interpreted to mean “relax.”) As much as she tried to shake out my hand, my fingers remained stiffened as a board. She giggled again, and after much coaxing on her part, my fingers finally loosened a little with the ends of them bent down into a claw shape. That was as close to relaxing my hand I was going to get!
My favorite part was when she massaged my neck and head. How I loved the feel of her fingers raking through my hair; firmly, therapeutically, amazingly! I knew that the oil she had on her hands would affect my hairstyle, but my mind was beyond rationalization at that point, enjoying the experience. I was disappointed when she stopped and left the room, saying something to me on the way out. I thought the massage was over, so I stood up, naked, to get my clothes on. Both of us screamed when she came back into the room! She covered her mouth with one hand and squeezed her eyes shut, keeping a firm grip on the basket of hot rocks she was holding in her other hand. “I thought it was over!” I told her as she sweetly said “no, no!” Climbing back on the table, she completed the massage with hot stones, stones so hot they seemed to burn my back through the sheet material and I wondered how she could possibly hold them in her tender, gentle hands. But, OH what a wonderful feeling, loosened muscles and warmth on my back. It was a joyful experience! It was an experience for which I had waited my whole life!
When she was finished, she clearly said “Bye bye” and we both giggled, knowing that it actually was time to get up and get dressed. My limbs were floppy and lose as I awkwardly put my clothes on. I walked out of that room euphorically with a goofy smile on my face, all loosey goosey with my hair sticking out straight looking like Einstein’s. I was so relaxed I didn’t even care!