I also happen to be a massage junkie. I need a 12-step program. For years I was massaged several times a week because I could afford it and I loved it. Then I became my own sole support and my schedule had to be modified. I didn't care for that.
Massage Envy is a business that pushes all kinds of my buttons. It's within walking distance from home. Membership allows one to pay a monthly fee, get one "free" masssage for that monthly fee and limitless additional massages at really bargain prices. Last night when I used the restroom there, I saw the poster that said, "Buy $200 in gift certificates in July and get 2 free massages!" I'm nobody's fool. I can work that out. I get the $200 in gift certificates for myself, get the 2 free massages, still have my monthly "freebie" and any others that I want at rock-bottom prices. I'm good at figuring this stuff out!
I have never had a male massage therapist and I don't think I will. I find it hard enough to start with a new female therapist, as I am not one who presents my naked body fearlessly. I typically bond to one therapist and stick with her, although attrition in their workplace sometimes forces me to look around for someone new and recommended.
It's been my observation that most of these good women are quite spiritual, have a belief system that is broader than average, are open to unusual ideas, are quite nurturing, and lean toward this modality or that method or the other approach. I'm pretty open to trying new things, and I'm not afraid to say, "No, that doesn't really do it for me, let's go back to our original model." I'm not shy about saying I'm too hot or too cold, or more pressure or less pressure. I'm comfortable on a massage table. I'm told I can take a truly brutal working-over with the best of them, and I like it for up to two hours at a time.
My first massage at this establishment was unremarkable, but I thought I'd try one more time. "Stephanie" was a nice name, so I booked with her. She is Danish/Swiss/American and she is good at what she does. From the beginning, I rated her an outstanding therapist. She goes after triggerpoints and pulverizes them! It's not always pleasant while it's happening, but the next day there is relief to be enjoyed. When she asked me if I'd like to experience some craniosacral therapy, I didn't know what it was. She explained briefly and I said, "OK, let's try it. " Cranio utilizes a very gentle touch and encourages the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord to ease all manner of ailments (so say its supporters). There is much disagreement about whether this therapy is real or mumbo jumbo. I can only tell you I felt wonderful after it, every time. Mother Badger loves it because it is effective for her and she doesn't have to disrobe. I raved about craniosacral until David finally said, "OK, give me her card." Off he went one afternoon and when he returned, he just kind of shook his head. "Didn't feel anything, Limes." I, however, remained in Stephanie's good care until she needed to go to Denmark to visit her ailing mother . . . .
I pooped around for a couple of weeks with no massage until I could barely stand myself. I called and took the first available appointment with a woman therapist - enter beloved Natascha. She's from France and she is a delightful woman who clearly loves what she does for work. Her accent made me giggle and she did outstanding work. It came to pass that I got all junked up (massage therapist insider technical jargon) with triggerpoints on and near my glutes. Yes, I had a pain in the butt - this can happen to walkers who also sit at a desk for hours each day. She worked me session after session. Finally one night as I lay miserably face down, she said something interesting. "Limes, move your arms. I'm coming up there with you." I didn't say anything, but my eyes opened very wide as I stared through the headrest at the floor. Huh?!?! She proceeded to get onto the table and then she proceeded to get on top of me! I won't go into what raced through my head. For a wonder, I couldn't come up with any words! But I trusted her. Mostly. And all of a sudden my pain began to ease.
Dear Natascha was into Thai massage. The moves she put on me made all kinds of sense, once she explained. You see, the triggerpoints were very deep in my muscles. Natascha's kneecaps covered a much larger area than her hands could cover. With her full body weight on me, the pressure went far deeper than anything she could do with her hand and arm strength. If only she'd said that before she knelt on my backside and wiggled all around. When I told the Badger, I said, "I imagine that's illegal in some states." When I told the home dudes, their jaws dropped. "Limes, you mean you're not dressed in there and she did that?" Yes, home dudes, a woman does what she has to do. I'd have stayed with Natascha forever, but she broke the news to me one evening. She and her wonderful "Ed-ween" were moving to Austin, Texas in two weeks time.
I've been suffering for about 6 weeks with a really messed up neck. I do not know what caused it. I only know that I am literally nauseated from the pain of it and it seems to affect my right eye for some reason. I've tried muscle relaxers that rendered me zombie for days, and then OTC pain relievers - old fashioned aspirin proves effective for an hour or two at a time. Finally, I returned to Stephanie, just a little mortified that I'd left her for another. She whammed me on Monday. I felt 75% relieved on Tuesday. She whammed me on Wednesday. I felt 90% relieved on Thursday and repositioned my dual monitors at the office. Now it is Saturday, and I seem to be 100%. For the first time in recent memory.
On Wednesday evening, Stephanie popped out some new language: "Limes, do you want to do some energy work?" "Ummmm, sure . . . " Even though I am not fully certain I know what "energy work" might be. She placed her hands in a horizontal position about 3 inches above my aching back. The electricity was amazing! I twitched. I resonated. She placed one hand under my back and one hand on my chest. "Do you feel anything, Limes?" "Yes, lovely warmth emanating from front to back and from back to front." "Where is it in your body, Limes?" "Right through my heart!" Stephanie: "What color is the warmth, Limes?" It flitted through my head to get up, get dressed and run, but instead I said, "Peach, Stephanie. It's peach colored." "And is peach a good color for you, Limes?" Yep, peach is a lovely color for me. "I saw it as slightly blue, Limes." "No, Stephanie. For me, it was peach."
In my ears right now: Pat Benatar ~ Hit Me with Your Best Shot . . . fire away . . .
Something that charmed me: Massage Envy became licensed to give hot stone massages. Some of the therapists became certified and some chose not to. Natascha got her certification and I was the first client at my branch of Massage Envy to get the hot stones. Natascha took them from a crockpot-type container and worked me for 2 hours. The next morning I had little burn marks all over my body, even though I had not felt even slightly uncomfortable while being massaged.