Monday, January 25, 2016

what to do when a foot rub is more than a foot rub and not necessarily in a good way

When I am writing on deadline, my back and hips seize up and
have me hunched over like Quasi Moto.
For the past five years I have tried a variety of tension relief methods.

I roll out my muscles on a foam roller,
I do morning and evening hip stretches,
I lotion up and oil down.
I have gone to physical therapy, back pain classes and
have regularly seen a therapeutic massage specialist.
I ice.
I do hot showers.
I sleep with a body pillow to keep my back properly aligned.
There is a lot of muscle maintenance going on up in here.

When my friend, Jenn, told me she had found a place
that I could get a one hour foot rub for $30
and it was more like a back rub and foot rub, I said,
"Sign me up!"

My sister, Jenny, has a similar place that she goes when
her back is bothering her.
But she gave me a tip, "Tell them to go easy."
I told, "I have no problem telling people what I need."
This is a lesson I had learned when experiencing someone doing
a deep tissue massage on the tendon near my armpit...
I did not need that. I don't think anyone ever does.

Jenn and I were led into a room lined with low massage tables and benches.
There was low lighting and soft music playing.
As I settled onto a bench,
 I told the lady that would be massaging me that I would need the
massage to be soft since I was sore to which she said,

Once we established that every muscle in my neck and shoulders
were tighter than piano wire, she did an amazing job of relaxing me.
It was truly beautiful.
Until the kind lady who was massaging me had to switch out with another

He took over when she left off. Massaging my arms and hands.
Which was least until he got to the tips of my fingers
which he proceeded to snap between his fingers like the end of a some secret handshake.
This was jarring. And I wasn't sure quite how to respond.
No, thank you, secret handshake.

This was followed by a staccato type slapping up and down of the arms.
Another unnerving experience.
Must we slap during a massage?

My thoughts on  the snapping and slapping?
Let's keep these up tempo movements to the enjoyment of lively music,
not the relaxation of my overly tense muscle groups.

At this point, he motioned me to turn over on my stomach.
Which I took to mean, "Put your shoes on. You are done."
Because I didn't have my glasses on. I am blind.
He got very agitated when I tried to put my shoes on.

We were dealing with a slight language barrier.
He kept pointing to Jenn who was laying face down on the next massage table.
But once again, you should know that I can barely
determine blobby, rounded type shapes without my best.
Finally, I figured it out and recognized what I though were the backs of Jenn's feet!

As I lay on my stomach,
the kind gentleman proceeded to karate chop my legs from the ankles upwards.
I had the fleeting thought, "Surely, my rear is off limits to the karate chopping."
I had a split second to think,
He karate chopped all the way up over my rear and back down again.
This was unexpected to say the least.

Luckily, he left the karate chopping there and he began working on my feet.
My feet have more knots in them I care to tell you.
He found one so tender that just him grazing it with his hand
made me want to weep.

He pressed into with his thumb as if he wanted to push it out
of the top side of my foot.
Here I drew the line.
"NOPE. That is too hard."

The pressure eased a little but still was making me want
to send my heels kicking back into his stomach.
(I may have violent tendencies when I feel pain.)
I said this with some force.
Mostly because I wanted to be able to walk on my foot when the massage was done.
He obliged.
I was thinking at this point, "You could not pay me enough to come back here."
Not in a gagillion years.

But then he proceeded to put my left leg across the back of my right leg,
like a number 4.
He placed his elbow in the pocket created above my hip and leaned in,
putting his full weight onto a very tender portion of my person.
As he leaned, I felt 5 years of writing tension easing up and melting away.
All from a well placed elbow lean.
He repeated this move on the other side.
More tension relief.

At this point, I began to love him a little. Like a long lost friend.
Like someone who held the answer to the question,
"When will my hips ever stop hurting?"
To which he answered with his elbow, "Right now."
Best. Answer. EVER.

I forgave him the finger snapping.
I forgave him the arm slapping.
I forgave him the harsh application of his thumb to my foot knots.
I even forgave him the gluteus maximus karate chopping.

As the massage ended and Jenn and I got up to go,
my hip muscles actually felt better than they have in years.
I had a few tears of joy spring to my eye.
I told the man, "Thank you so much."

And then I looked at Jenn and said,
"Let's come back next week."
Done and done.

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