A Funny Story About Massage
Funny Story About Massage: How I Left with a Limp
Okay – I have a bad back – I also have a bad neck, bad arms and bad hands. But it could be worse! I attribute all the above mostly to overuse syndrome that I have achieved by working 35+ years in the profession of medical transcription. It is an unforgiving kind of job and the more you use, it seems ‘the more you lose'. Add to that a few athletic blunders (shocking considering I'm so buff) and I have always been a set up for painful muscles and bones.
All this said, over the years though, I’ve been fortunate – I try to keep things on an even keel by exercise, diet, braces if need be, and therapy. Surgeries have been recommended to me several times which I have politely declined. In my quest for obtaining relief, however, I found myself at one point being referred to a chiropractor. I wasn’t too keen on this recommendation because I have never embraced the idea of purposefully letting someone well – embrace me – and squeeze the living crap out of me while calling it an adjustment! It took many people a long time to convince me but I finally succumbed – and surprisingly I found my chiropractor Faith to be a godsend at a time when I could barely turn my head!
Photo Credit: WikiCommons Brunayur
I had been going to Faith for quite a while by this time and well - I guess you could say I had 'faith' in her! All kidding aside, one day she let me know in a nice way that she had done basically 'about all that she could do’. The problem was that I was a massive tight rock of muscles that simply were so overtaxed that they were refusing to let go. She sat down on the chair in front of me and looked me in the eye. She calmly said ‘it’s time, Audrey – whether you like it or not, you are going to have to go have massage therapy’.
I winced – I’m just not that kind of person. I am a rather bohemian girl - step up to the plate, drive through the pain, keep on going! That's me - not lying about on a table listening to goofy whale songs or flowers growing while inhaling incense! It somehow just didn’t appeal! I begged her – I pleaded with her. Why couldn't she just do more cracking – do it when I’m not paying attention. Now that I'd gotten used to it, I was convinced she could get my muscles to relax.
Well, she didn’t listen to me – she just wrote out a prescription for me to go to this other office in the next few days and have a massage. She wasn’t taking no for an answer. They were expecting me! Since my insurance paid for it, I really didn’t seem to have a choice and grudgingly I agreed.
I showed up for the appointment and filled out the paperwork. I remember there being a diagram of my body and questions about what I wanted worked on – something like 'show me on this paper where you want me to concentrate'. I quite DISTINCTLY circled (as the instructions indicated) my upper back, my neck, and my arms – you would think someone could read the stupid chart - HE-LL-O! This same paper instructed you to put big X’s where you did NOT want to be massaged.
I made a very conscious effort to mark my butt – and for good measure I marked my legs since the legs come from the butt. Okay - I admit it – I’m a modest person. I didn’t want some stranger working on my butt! As a second thought - god please let her be a woman and not some cute guy! Why hadn't I asked what sex this therapist was? Aside from the fear of farting, I just didn’t feel comfortable with any of this! It was after all my first time!
Well, they say you always remember your first time – I don’t care if it’s sex or massage – oh yes, you certainly do! I have to say I was very on edge. Again, I just felt like it was really weird going into a darkened room with candles burning, incense wafting on the air, waterfall music playing (and what’s with THAT? Don’t they know that that makes you think you need to pee?) and being asked to disrobe! Graciously Helga (I think her name was really Melissa but this just works better) introduced herself and told me I could leave on my panties if I wished (how magnanimous – since it was on my ticket). I felt like I was on a date without a guy in sight!
I truly think they should show you a video before you have your first massage – at least I would have known the protocol! I stripped down and grabbed the sheet off the table and then tried to imagine how in the name of heck I’m supposed to get up there – and what is that thing (called a cradle) at the end of the table? Hopefully my butt (that I don’t want touched) isn’t going in that!! Oy vey – I’m getting worried now – what have I gotten myself into, Lucy?
I can hear footsteps coming back towards the room - should I be face up or face down on the table - definitely go with face down on the table. Unfortunately, I've run out of time! She is coming and I'm all but naked! I just literally throw myself up onto the table (which was no easy feat swaddled in sheets) and hope for the best. Hopefully she won't notice that I'm now sweating! Luckily, my head landed in the face cradle - except that kind of freaked me out at first! I thought I might suffocate or something until I realized there actually was a ‘blow hole’. Now all I had to do was wrench the stupid sheet around me so that nothing was exposed!
She stopped by the table after she entered the room and asked if everything was okay – what the heck? Of course - it’s all good! I do this all the time – so I’d messed up all the sheets and had no clue where anything went – mostly my body – but hey – I’m good to go now! She sighed (not a good sign) and proceeded to unravel the sheets (much to my dismay as I’m sure she was seeing things!) and got me situated on the table. Then she proceeded to go get oiled or lubed up and come back to the project at hand.
I have to say at first (once I relaxed and she quit poking me and telling me to quit tensing up), I started to think maybe it wasn’t half bad. She was rubbing this and that in the middle of my neck and working down my back and actually, I think I could have turned into butter. I thought to myself ‘ya know – maybe this is going to work out okay after all and you could get used to it! It might even help!'
Roused from my near stupor (now I see why they add the music and incense, the soft lighting), I heard Helga mutter louder than she had been muttering before – only this time it was to me – I think. She said something like ‘You have giant KNOT in your shoulder blade – what you do?’ Huh? Doesn't anybody read charts?
‘Oh that – it’s just there all the time – you know – my work. I get a little tense and my muscles just don’t seem to want to relax’. I distinctly heard a grunt! Then some pressure – but not too bad. I did notice though that she was in fact ‘measuring’ the tenseness of my left side, which is at best rigid sometimes all the way down. The more that I tried to relax, the worse it seemed to get and now I was starting to get nervous. Helga was not liking what she was feeling and I heard more muttering.
Pretty soon, I feel a hand on the lower part of my back – really getting close to that butt thing there, Helga – remember where I had the big fat X on the diagram? What are you DOING? I got the ‘flavor’ that you were not supposed to talk much during massage so I was trying, really trying to be quiet, but I was starting to get freaked. I just don’t like strange people – especially women - rubbing my butt!
But - before I could whip my head up out of the cradle and say anything, she seemed to have sensed where I was going with my body language, and smacked me in the middle of my back so my head flopped back into the cradle. ‘Stay put! I’m going to work on this – this is even worse than the shoulder blade!' In all truth, I heard the translation even before the massage down south began ‘Me strong like ox – me fix this’! I so knew I was in hell before it ever started!
I kinda dozed off – or I think really I blacked out! I had no idea a woman could rub something THAT HARD! I have to confess though – I did not fart – I think if I did it must have happened so fast that all my organs were smashed at once and I never knew what happened or what hit them! It was unbelievable! I kept trying to raise my head a fraction of an inch to mention to her that this HURT – like really, really bad – but I wasn’t getting anywhere anytime soon. She kept smashing me back to the prone position while she kept on muttering. What was there to mutter about? So I had a bad low back (HE-LL-OO) and a bum hip – leave it alone! Didn’t you see the diagram???
Well – all I have to say is that Helga exerted about 40 G’s on my left hip via my butt cheek – if I had been able to see, I would have been able to verify that she in fact had her KNEE in my butt cheek grinding it as far as she could go but I have a feeling it was just her elbow! Holy crap – I was in agony by now – I have to say though that I forgot all about my arms and my neck! They didn’t hurt a lick. I had tears stinging my eyes and was just wondering how long this could go on before she started lifting me up off the table and slamming me back down for good measure. I got the impression she was tenderizing me somehow and preparing me for the BBQ!
All of a sudden – out of the blue – she stopped. OMG - the pain – but she stopped. I could seriously not feel my left foot and I had a headache from trying not to scream out in pain – but at least her hands were not on my butt! About this time though, she swats me on the butt and disappears out the door. Hmmm – what is this supposed to mean? I still did not know the protocol here but not wishing to take any chances that Helga would reappear – this time maybe with a mallet or some other object, I decided to slither off the table and try to pour myself back into my clothes.
Minutes later, I exited the door to find my husband waiting for me in the waiting room – as I walked towards him he says very innocently – ‘hey Chester – what’s up with the limp? I don’t remember you having a limp when you went in there.’ Yeah - hilarious big guy….. So I dragged my left leg all the way down the hall and made for the stairs before anyone could catch me! When Faith asked me a few weeks later how the massage went I brushed it off a bit but when she probed on further about it I said ‘well – to be honest – it was a bit brutal – I had no idea a massage could give you a LIMP’ (which I had for about a week I might add!). For some reason, she thought that was pretty funny.
Summing It Up
If anyone out there has never had a massage before, check it out before you go – make sure someone can vouche for the massage therapist and that she is not able to benchpress your weight – 50 times. Make sure that she has not grown up on a farm lifting cows onto a table to milk them! Make sure that she is not a woman on testosterone! Seriously – just check it out – and bring flash cards or aids with you to the initial interview and quiz them as to what the big X means - so that if you don’t want a certain part of your body massaged they’ll actually cease and desist!
I still can't get over it - What did she not get about the big X on my butt? Maybe she was illiterate though and she thought X marks the spot! Or that was my signature! Who knows! Ask if there is a video of his or her technique and take notes to find out if you need to take a double dose of ibuprofen (or Vicodin) before you have the massage!
Seriously – this being my first time, after this experience, I refused – flat out refused to ever have another massage – for another 2 years because I was so terrified that this is what they were like. I for the life of me could not understand why people were raving about massage therapy! I thought their credo must be ‘no pain, no gain’.
Well - they say your first time is special – wow – what an understatement! But of course, there is more - see my sequel.
The 10 Things to Avoid During Massage Therapy
My Naked Massage Comedy
Hubs on Massage
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