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I had the great pleasure of spending time recently with two very old and very dear friends. One of them is someone I hadn’t seen since high school. It was gratifying not only to recognize her after all these years, but to pretty much pick up where we had left off – talking about boys and clothes!
Since our reconnect coincided with my birthday, she and my other long lost friend decided they wanted to treat me to a Thai massage. I was more than a bit hesitant at first, but after they assured me they too would be getting massages, I acquiesced. I mean, after all, who am I to turn down some free and ever so relaxing body work?
As we drove to our destination, my friend Georgia started telling me a bit more about exactly what a Thai massage entails. She said the best way to describe it was that a very small Thai woman would spend an hour bending my body parts into positions that would ensure my juices were flowing. I hoped this wasn’t some sort of Thai shorthand for blood! I was delighted to learn we would be fully clothed, because the idea of being naked and twisted just held no appeal for me whatsoever.
Georgia is also a breast cancer survivor and is elated to have reached her five year cancer free mark. She realizes this falls far short of knowing she is cured, but is also a far sight better than having a recurrence or secondary cancer shortly after her original diagnosis. Every year we make it away from a diagnosis, the better our odds.
She and I agree that learning how to take care of yourself is essential for both good health and a healthy outlook. Georgia was actually diagnosed with what was deemed to be nearly a Stage IV cancer, so she is acutely aware of just how important her continued vigilance is when it comes to her future wellbeing. I was elated to learn she has taken some of what she has learned into her workplace and finds time to make sure her fellow employees do a bit of guided meditation every now and then, as well as taking the long lunch, the needed nap, and even the celebratory glass of bubbly when it’s warranted.
Upon arriving at the spa, Georgia, Susan and I were ushered into a lovely waiting area complete with calming fountains, beautiful carved wooden statues, and ethereal music. I immediately began to feel my tension (perhaps even a bit of apprehension) fade away. I couldn’t help thinking how great it was for the three of us to share this moment together after so many years apart. I know for a fact none of us ever thought we’d be getting a Thai massage all those years ago in school. As Georgia pointed out, we probably didn’t even know what a massage was back then.
We were told to change out of our street clothes and put on their massage garb, which in and of itself was pretty amusing. I have yet to find a “one size fits all” that lives up to its word. Fits all what? That’s my question.
The pants came with instructions, which assured I would find myself in some sort of dilemma since I hate following instructions. Once I’d figured out how to get them tied, I began attempting to get the miniscule tee shirt over not only my head (which was about all it did fit), but the remainder of my upper body as well. Once this task had been accomplished I resembled a stuffed sausage. Make that overstuffed! I recall having some difficulty walking up the single step to where my massage was going to occur because I could hardly move. I figured I was simply going to have to fall over when they showed me the massage table. Lucky for me (yeah, right) there wasn’t a massage table anywhere to be found.
The massage area consisted of a large mat on a platform, surrounded on all sides by flowing curtains. My masseuse positioned a pillow for me that was supposed to allow me to lie on my stomach without crushing my breasts. What it didn’t provide was a way for me to breathe. I spent much of my hour trying to figure out how not to gasp every few seconds in order to remain conscious for the duration. And there were moments where unconsciousness might have been a blessing.
Here’s a math problem for you. How can an itty bitty little woman inflict pain comparable to having an elephant stomp on you? I think I missed that class. I found it amusing, when I was able to think at all, that she would continually say, “Tell me if I’m hurting you.” Since my face was buried in the mat I’m sure it was hard to tell if I was screaming in pain or simply laughing hysterically. At some point due to lack of oxygen I may very well have been doing just that.
Since I was fully clothed, I do wish there had been a video of the entire thing because no one would believe some of the contortions I found myself in. Just think Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (only he had a nicer outfit) and you’ll have some idea of what transpired.
But here’s the amazing thing. When she was done, I felt like I’d slept for days. My body was so relaxed and refreshed I felt better than I have in ages. Granted, I looked like I’d been shot out of a cannon, but so did my two girlfriends, which made it a bit easier for me to tolerate.
Would I do it again? You bet! If not for the amazing relaxation this somehow forced upon me, I’d do it just for the cup of tea and other little goodies they leave in the room when they are done. Maybe this is what they mean when they say someone is a glutton for punishment!