June 28, 2010

Getting Rubbed the Right Way

Swedish, deep tissue, sports, reflexology and hot stone are all types of massage therapies that I have received over the years to combat high levels of stress, migraines, and a recurring lower back problem.  They've become a necessity.  I'll sacrifice a meal in order to squeeze in a session no matter what's going on in my world.  Tough to do when you're on the move but thankfully, massages are easily accessible with mobile spas, neighborhood beauty salons and even shopping malls getting on the feel good bandwagon.  To find the right kind of massage for you I would suggest you first check in with your doctor for a medical perspective.  Finding the right masseuse, one that creates a warm and comforting environment, understands that not every one has the same needs or intensity level desires may be more elusive.

MassageEnvy.com succinctly says "Therapeutic massage is the manipulation of the muscles and tissues of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, and stress" but I can't help but feel while the physical benefits are obvious, the longest lasting benefit of a good massage is the positive emotional state one can leave you in.  Now herein lies the "rub".  I've found that not all massage therapists care about how you actually feel.  As the timer begins on what you hope will be a 60-90 minute slice of heaven, things can go terribly wrong.  Any masseuse that doesn't take the time to ask even the most basic customer care questions, like "are you comfortable?", "do you have any medical conditions or injuries that I should be aware of?" or "how much pressure do you like?" has never seen my back on their table again.  There must be a certain sensitivity given to a person splayed vulnerably on thick white sheets.  The perfunctory rubs we get from our significant others are not meant to be any more than expressions of love but when you're aching, fried and opening your wallet to watch anywhere from $60.00 - $200.00 fly out, you should have certain expectations.  Incredibly high expectations.  

Doing your research pays off.  When I was faced with moving from a day spa where I'd had standing monthly massage appointments with for many years (my 2 favorite therapists moved away at the same time!!), I asked my friends for recommendations, read online reviews, even interviewed day spa staff members before I wrapped myself in any new towels.  My diligence paid off and I found a wonderful, no frills, full service spa where the masseuses don't treat you like a number and your comfort is of the utmost importance.  In soothing tones, they ask all of the right questions, expose only body parts that are being worked on while keeping the rest of me covered in warm sheets.  The cool glass of lemon water that I'm given at the end of my cathartic experience is a tiny, simple gesture that goes a long way in assuring my return.  And it's sheer bliss that the physical and emotional effects of a massage from this special place lasts for days.  I've pretty much guaranteed that I'll continue to get rubbed the right way for a long time to come.

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