Holy Massage, Batman!

Massage has always been a luxury for me.  K-man occasionally gifts me a massage voucher for a birthday or other celebration, but I would never pay for one myself unless I am in a far-away country where the price of a massage is less than the price of a moccha latte.  Until now.

My massage history has been a long investigation seeking the perfect experience.  I want to feel like something has happened to me, and yet be blissed out.  Here’s a run-down of the ones I can recall:

1.  Aromatherapy massage, North London.  My first massage experience, years ago.  The therapist was strong, applied beautiful essential oils, and didn’t waste any time talking.  I came out of there feeling odd, but happy.

2.  Antigua: reflexology foot massage.  I was expecting to see rainbows and butterflies.  My feet felt good, but there were no lasting effects.

3.  Sri Lanka: a room like an oven, where I spent my time trying not to dribble into the bowl of tropical fish placed beneath the face-hole for soothing purposes.  Less soothing, more worrying.

4.  India: Ayurvedic massage in some back-street room in Udaipur.  Barely any pressure applied, but all-in-all pretty harmless until the therapist asked me to turn over, before proceeding to massage my baps.   Downright alarming.

5.  Thailand: not for me, the overpriced Sheraton spa.  Instead, I walked down the street five minutes to a set of dingy rooms for a true Thai massage.  This is the closest I have come to what I seek – the tiny thai lady certainly applied her bodyweight to the issue.  My favourite part was when she said ‘relax’ before sharply twisting my shoulder and knee in opposite directions.  My spine made beautiful music.  Sadly, I also saw numerous dodgy white dudes hanging about outside, clearly hoping for some kind of happy ending.

6.  Viet Nam: Blind massage therapists, in a dorm room with hospital-style curtains between beds.  Hearing the ladies laugh with each other while they worked was the coolest thing.  Well, that and the super-strong methol heat-up-on-skin oil they used.  Not so cool: the rather insistent customer who wanted a massage from a woman, not a man (not the done thing in Viet Nam).

7.  Home town: Hot stone massage.  Soothing but dull.  No lasting effects.

8.  Home town: Swedish massage.  Basically pointless.

9.  New Zealand: a couple of half-decent aromatherapy massages.  The therapist told me I needed to keep going, but my working hours didn’t permit it.

I have enjoyed the non-UK massages more.  I think the therapists are less afraid of causing pain – UK holistic massage therapists are, in my experience, gentle to the point of barely present.

That brings us to today, and the holy grail of massages.  The Deep Tissue Sports Therapy massage.

I’ve been suffering from tension in my neck and shoulders for years, and have entered each massage with the idea that this would be the one that would make it all go away only to leave disappointed.  I talked to some people in the know, who recommended a sports therapy massage.   Initially I wrote it off, not suffering any kind of actual injury.

Don’t do it, my brother told me, it hurts like hell.  He had a back problem.

Did you feel better afterwards though?  I asked.

Well, yeah, but the pain, oh the pain….

I’m not averse to a bit of short-term pain for long-term gain.  But I am the queen of unrealised intentions, so I let it slide.

About a month ago the pain got noticeably worse.  It’s to do with my desk set-up at work, and if I work more than two days in a row, the pain is pretty bad.  After a full desk assessment it was concluded that I have an unusually long (very disproportionate to my height) shoulder-to-elbow measurement.   I’m a knuckle-dragger.

The only set-up that can truly resolve this (because I am also short, and to get the seat up high enough leaves my legs dangling, and my elbows still at an acute angle) is a height-adjustable desk.  Most places of employment, including my current one, won’t stretch to this expense for part time temp staff who have already handed in their notice.  I’m hoping my new employer will be amenable.

But in the meantime, my goal is to arrive at my new job pain-free.  So, I finally bit the bullet and spent a small wadge on a sports massage.  After an hour of seriously strong pushing, pulling, pressing, and rubbing, I’ve got a dim headache, but I can already see improvement in my (very poor) shoulder flexibility.  When I got up from the table I felt spaced out, not because I’d been relaxing – I’d been grimmacing and listening to chatter from the therapist – but because there was genuine muscle-release.

It did hurt, quite a bit, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  I do wonder how I’ll feel tomorrow, but so far it’s all good.

I think I’ve finally found it.

I’m going back in a couple of weeks for another hour.

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3 Responses to “Holy Massage, Batman!”


  1. 1 Jenn @ Juggling Life June 15, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I hope you have found it–and you wake up tomorrow feeling like a new woman.

    I got a massage once that left me feeling okay that day, but basically immobile for days afterward. I don’t think I’m doing deep tissue anymore.

  2. 2 Lavin August 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    For neck tensions massage is excellent, it is like a strecthing for the muscles that you cant reach yourself. I am an office worker with shoulder/neck/upper back “isues”. I did not want to rely on massages, sports therapy give you control over the situation. There is a real easy way that covers most issues. Rotator cuff excersises. 3×15 on each arm, outwards, inwards and over head. Finish w lateral raises w dumbar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpEBYilcV-Y Do it slowly and your shoulders really far back. Give it two weeks, 3 times per week and i can promise you will feel less pain. When you feel stronger you can cut it down to once a week.

  3. 3 massage naturiste February 22, 2014 at 3:09 am

    I am actually happy to glance at this web ite posts
    which includes lots off valiable information, thanks for providing these data.


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