Benefits Of A Full Body Massage
My Body Massage Story Begins With a Gift Certificate
I am not in the habit of allowing my body to be pampered by hands other than mine. The first time I received a gift certificate for a body massage I procrastinated for so long that it became stale dated. It was a gift for my fiftieth birthday from someone quite dear to me. Typically the length to which I go in allowing myself to be handled stops at having my hair shampooed and dressed once per month and taking a pedicure also once monthly. I did a course in Reiki several years ago, and I sometimes practice the rudiments of foot, shoulder, hand and back massages when my daughter needs it. I mention this because one might suppose that someone who shies away from being handled wouldn’t herself be receptive to the idea of handling others.
My Christmas gift from one of my best girlfriends Yvon, was a gift certificate for a full-body massage from an establishment which calls itself ‘Sight & Vision – Gifted Hands’, with the suggestion that a few of us do it together as a girls’ affair. As one might imagine I was not excited but I thought – new experience; I’ll give it a try; I am on holidays anyway. We often meet for weekend affair – dining out, wine and cheese at the pool, birthday celebrations, etc. – so the idea became more and more appealing.
Saturday Morning Spa vs The Botanical Gardens
When you are given a gift certificate you are likely to have several weeks or months to redeem the gift so we hadn’t yet decided on a date. One Saturday morning, actually Saturday January 20, at about 8:00 a.m. I phoned Yvon to invite her to go jogging with me through the Hope Gardens. Hope is one of our old botanical gardens covering several acres of walking track which is used from time to time for 5K races. The environment is absolutely glorious though a bit inconvenient to get to, and so taking time on a Saturday morning to execute my exercise programme in the Gardens is always a treat. But suddenly Yvon remembered that she had booked our body massage for that morning. She had intended to call me but forgot that too. Despite my immediate confusion I mused to myself - seniority is certainly a derivative of senility, or is it the other way around? Whether I wanted to cop out or not I couldn’t justifiably do. The salon’s service operates on a strict booking system and they do not book multiple groups in the same time slot. The service is being put on at that hour just for us, 10:00 o’clock a.m. on Saturday January 20. My choice for the morning was thus made for me.
Hope Botanical Gardens
But I would be remiss if I didn’t describe the preliminaries. Yvon had booked only for us both. We didn’t know where this place was. I had never before heard of Sight & Vision – Gifted Hands and Yvon herself had only a vague introduction to them. Their mobile service had been contracted by one of Yvon’s colleagues at the insurance broking company at which she works and being touched by their operation she bought gift certificates.
We had an address and a general knowledge of the area but in these parts of the city road signs are missing, detours are in place, pot holes litter the road surface. This address was not in any business district. After being lost twice, taking a left turn one block too early and having to turn around, stopping at a roundabout and guessing the way to take, we finally arrived at the address – an old house in a slow neighbourhood converted quite adequately on the inside into a comfortable spa establishment. We were both happy to discover that we were only fifteen minutes late. In Jamaica that is within the limits of acceptability.
Inside The Massage Spa
My big surprise occurred within the first minute of entering the reception lobby of the massage spa. I stood in the passage as Yvon checked us in. Interestingly I noticed that the proprietor walked straight towards me, and into me. What is happening here, I thought. She stepped back and apologised then said – I’m blind you know. Well I certainly didn’t know because she does not appear to be. She went on to tell me that all the workers except her daughter were blind. Wow! I discovered later that they however were all highly skilled professionals, had been certified at our local HEART Academy in various techniques and that the establishment had been in operation for about eight years. I was truly happy that I had come and began to feel excited about the experience I was about to have.
The morning’s undertaking was conducted by three ladies and for the next two and half hours approximately, the massage spa was occupied by the five of us only. I chose to start with the sauna while Yvon started with facial procedure, so I went off with my masseuse Jodi.
Human Employment and Resource Training Trust - A national training academy for professional skills development.
The Sauna Steam Room
Peta-Gay directed me to the changing room where I undressed completely and robed my fully nude body in the waiting white bath robe. We then headed to the sauna steam room and with my assistance she set the temperature at 140 degrees and the time to 20 minutes. The sauna steam room is a small compartment for a single person. One gets the impression that it was once a shower compartment in a bathroom now converted to this purpose. I take the seat provided, a bench, and try to compose myself. I am not good at doing nothing for 20 minutes so having been recently drawn to the study of mindfulness meditation I decided that this would be a great opportunity to practice the principles learnt. Mindfulness is defined as the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, being aware, present, focused, embodied. Someone described it as being like a third-party observant of one’s own experience. Mindfulness practice is thought to serve as an effective enabler to developing positive attitude about ourselves and our world. I started with focusing on my breathing but then my attention drifted to the bubbles of sweat which formed at my pores an rolled down my face, my back, my arms, my legs, my torso. This became captivating and I began to recognise the moment that a bubble formed on my back or neck, noting how long it took to begin its journey down the body, and following it until it became finally absorbed in the cloth of the robe that I wore. My attention recorded individual bubbles of sweat rolling on their way down, becoming more and more engorged, and I found my lips smiling at the experience. It seemed that I was only sitting for a short time when suddenly the timer signalled the end to my sauna steam room adventure, and when Jodi asked how I felt I wondered what she would have thought if I said that I felt at peace, so I told her that I felt hot and clean, which was also true.
Body Massage – Step One Exfoliate
My next experience was the body scrub, cleaning in preparation for the body massage. After being advised to de-robe and lie face up on the couch provided, I became in full appreciated of the virtue in being serviced by a non-sighted professional. The room was dimly lit with a display of scented candles. Peta-Gay applied a scrub mixture to my body starting at my feet. I can’t recall the type of scrub that was used though I am sure Peta-Gay told me, but I was surprised at how mild it was. I had expected something at lease as abrasive as the scrub that I use on my face to exfoliate, but this was quite gentle. I also discovered that Peta-Gay is known as the gentle handed masseuse unlike her counterpart Tameka, with whom Yvon was scheduled to work. The body scrub took about fifteen minutes. Peta-Gay scrubbed every inch of my body - almost. She explained that the exfoliate procedure was intended to remove the millions of dead cells from the top layer of our skin. This allows the application of massaging oils to penetrate deeper into the skin thus creating a more fresh and healthy appearance.
Full Body Massage – Step Two
Next I showered to remove the thick mixture from my body and I returned to the couch to enjoy my body massage. Through this entire exercise I am totally nude but this is of little concern as I am the only sighted person in the room. Peta-Gay chose a coffee based massaging cream with a faint orange aroma. The procedure started with my toes and then the soles of my feet. Peta-Gay explained that she had been taught reflexology by her boss Tameka but that she is not yet certified in this particular skill. I felt that she was good enough for me. My feet have suffered from misuse for many years of bad shoes and walking barefooted so almost any tender loving care leaves them feeling supremely grateful.
Peta-Gay's hands rubbed pressed and pounded my entire body for possibly an hour. To my surprise I was completely relaxed as I gave over my body to Peta-Gay’s hands. She pulled at my joints, rolled my ankles, massaged my shoulders to remove all tension, pounded my upper back, rubbed my abdomen, pressed into my leg muscles, and more. We talked about her life as a masseuse, her son, overcoming the challenges of blindness. It was obvious that she was proud of her accomplishments and this made me proud of her. I discovered that Peta-Gay likes to talk and I have always known that I am a good listener so I asked her a number of questions one being - why the name Sight & Vision? Here is what I understood from her explanation - that the title is a play on the concept of inner vision as true sightedness. The non-sighted tend to develop a high degree of inner visioning and communication. Peta-Gay told me that all the scrubs and ointments were made at the Spa by the masseuse team under Tameka’s guidance. Tameka has studied chemistry and has significant knowledge of the local herbal properties.
I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. My first experience of a full body massage left me thrilled, relaxed, proud to have met this team of ladies, wanting a repeat experience.
Having completed my full body massage, the next experience was to be my facial massage. Before taking on this next adventure I stood in front of the mirror for a number of minutes observing my oiled body, and simply enjoying being in the moment. I did not remove the oil as I dressed in readiness for my facial. Maybe I wanted to hold on to the experience for a bit longer, it was that good. Tachelle who does the facial is the only sighted of the three so I thought it appropriate to dress for this operation. Actually, as anyone knows who has done a facial, only the face needs to be uncovered. Having had the experience of the past two hours or so, I expected a good job from Tachelle and I received it. At the end of the experience she expressed surprise at the quality of my skin – ‘I can’t recall anyone else that I have treated recently who has had no sign of acne. Even with the use of the magnifier I have not been able to find a single pimple’, she exclaimed. I asked her how old she thinks that I am and I was more than pleased at her answer.
Make This Your Unusual Valentines Gift
As we drove home I thanked Yvon once more for this unusual gift. We discussed our experience and she told me that her masseuse had not been Peta-Gay but Tameka. Whereas Peta-Gay is called ‘the gentle hands’, Tameka is the ‘rough hands’. Before leaving I learnt that the Spa offers special rates for Valentines’ Day and naturally I have started to plan for my next full body massage. I am now trying to decide between the gentle Peta-Gay and rough Tameka who would offer a new experience for me. We’ll see.
So here is my suggestion for an unusual Valentines’ Day gift for him or for her. Purchase a spa experience for two.