Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Are you in pain ma'am?

Sign posted at the head of massage table in the room.

I have had many great massages throughout my life, the most incredible therapists remove the tight knots without me even noticing. No pain, only relaxation ~ pure bliss!  Moving to Asia, I was expecting a lot of this at really low prices. 

My first massage was a little shocking when the therapist hopped up on the table with me, straddling my legs and putting her entire body weight into my back, massaging everthing not covered by the disposable underwear they provide. 

From then on, I have prepared myself for the moment she hops up over me, but I still tense for a brief second, as she invades my bubble.

The focus over here is much different than at home.  In the US, the therapist is willing to focus on my back, neck and shoulders, as requested.  Here, I go in demanding the "Back Breaker" several times, before proceeding.  Agreeing, the therapist still goes for the legs and feet. Why do you have this massage listed, if nobody knows how to do it?  If I wanted a one hour foot massage, I would have made an appointment next door at the Foot Reflexology hut for a fraction of the price.

Today, I particularly needed some extra attention on the knots in my upper back.  Requesting the "Back Breaker" 90-minute massage upon booking, again at check-in, again when the lady showed me to my room, yet again, when the therapist entered the room and asked how long and type of massage, she proceeded to start on the legs...okay, that's fine.  She'll be quick and move onto the area I requested.

"Are you in pain ma'am?"
"Yes, that does hurt a bit."
"Oh, you must have much pain, you very tight in your leg...."

(Well, considering I ran 6km this morning, half of which was at a steady, pretty steep incline, I would expect my calves to be a bit sore.  It's okay with me.  It's the good sore.  The sore you can grow to appreciate, because I know that eventually, this sore will pay off with results.)

"...I will have to use more pressure to make pain go away."
"Ummmm....well, I guess you can try a little more pressure." She proceeds to work my now, cramping, very tight calf.  "OKAY! that's enough.  That really hurts!"


"Excuse me???" I'm not sure whether to laugh or run. Did she really just call me a baby?  I laugh to myself, face pressed into the face hole on the table, as I always laugh in an awkward moment. 

Silence, as she moves to a different muscle with the same amount of deep tissue, times three, pressure.  I hear drums beating in a distance and suddenly a door slams.  Never mind...no drums, just the therapist next door performing his grand finale cupping/punching procedure on the poor victim's back.

Contemplating telling my therapist to just go ahead and skip the other leg, I keep quiet, afraid of her reaction.  She goes back to the calf.  It now feels like it may be bleeding under the skin from her persistence. 

"It will hurt now, but feel good later, lah."
"Right.  I'm pretty sure it won't, so you can just continue on to my back."

For some reason, I can't seem to find a massage house that will actually go easy on the legs and feet around here.  I don't know what it is, or who actually finds pleasure in the pain?  My legs were actually only a little sore going in, but quite cramped following the massage ...I don't get it? A massage that makes it worse?

I have come out of a session at a highly recommended massage hut a few months ago, with a few bruises on my legs and back.  Needless to say, I have never stepped foot in that place again.

"Would you like to top-up your membership ma'am?"

"No. No, I really don't."

Javanese, Balinese, Traditional, Thai ~ will someone PLEASE explain the difference to me!?

I will continue this quest in search of the relaxing bliss that I actually enjoy, but I really don't know how much more of this pain I can handle!


Amanda Silver said...

a professional massage is always like a rebirth for me... it brings me back all the comfort and relaxation so much needed after a hard week or a full day

Abby Slate said...

I know the feeling! I get Thai massages in my little town in Australia and they are wonderful slash nightmarish. I couldn't walk after a couple of them. I can't tell if I'm better off or not afterward! It goes from relaxing to excruciating in an instant. They are not afraid to show you who's boss!


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