Many years ago–about 20, to be almost exact– I had my first delicious experience with massage therapy. I don’t remember why I decided to go. The whole thing seems weird, doesn’t it? Getting naked in a tiny room with some potentially otherworldy music playing in the background while some person you’ve never met before is touching your body and massaging your buttocks… I know this sounds TOTALLY inappropriate, however massage has become a necessary treat in my life when I can afford it.
My very first experience with a masseuse was one of aromatherapy. I had no idea at all about essential oils (I’ll save that for a future post!). I remember the woman was legally blind and had a seeing eye-dog. She had me fill out a questionnaire about my trouble spots (um, my husband has said multiple times that it’s as if I have a ‘rebar‘ in my neck and shoulders). She asked me what I thought of different essential oils smells and we settled on a few that smelled both relaxing and invigorating to me.
She led me to a back room that felt a little warmer than I would have liked initially…until I realized that it was necessary because I was to strip down naked. Um, that was totally out of my comfort zone. I mean, I guess that’s the point, right? The masseuse has to be able to get to your skin and that’s a bit more difficult to do when you’re fully clothed! I remember undressing in about thirty seconds flat, leaving my clothes neatly folded on a chair. Nearly five minutes later, she knocked on the door to make sure I was undressed and under the covers.
The next thing I know, I’m in a shrouded in this heavenly essential oil cloud while having every bit of stress rubbed out of my body. I was hooked. If I had J-Lo’s paycheck, I’d have weekly (daily??) full body massages. As it is, I aim for one every few months.
Here are some pointers. First, there are a TON of health benefits to receiving massages. Read what the Mayo Clinic has to say about the benefits of massage.
Licensed massage therapists generally charge about $1 a minute. It’s not one size fits all–if you don’t like the masseuse you saw, don’t go to the person again. Be vocal about what you like…I tend to prefer deep tissue massage, but someone else may find this to be painful. You don’t necessarily need a full-body massage: many therapists offer specialized massage for just head and shoulders (for headaches) or reflexology (for hands and feet). Massage therapists are professional and generally prefer not to speak during your session. They’re concentrating on how your muscles are moving and reacting. Also, if you are talking, chances are, you are not fully relaxed. I usually tip the masseuse, so you can see why this adds up quickly. You will want to drink water throughout the day after your massage because toxins will be released and need to be flushed out.
Getting a great massage can be steep financially at times–especially if you go all in for the 90 minute sessions like I do. But it is worth every penny. Indulge yourself on your birthday and see how much better you feel afterwards!
CJ Heath is a massage-addict, though she keeps it within her budget. She’d like for you to try out–just once!!– to see how you like it. Look online for therapists in your area with a 5-star rating and book that appointment. And I warned you about getting naked, so don’t like you didn’t know 😉