Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Deciphering my first professional massage

So I had an experience this week and I need help processing how I feel about it. Not sure if it was a good experience, a bad experience, or just a bizarre experience. I had my first professional massage. I've said for years that I wanted to get one but could never talk myself into forking out the money to have a stranger lather my body in essential oils. Fortunately, Alyssa gave me a gift certificate for a one hour massage at a local spa, so at long last, I could try out this whole massage business. Well I tried, and as I mentioned I'm not sure what I think about it, so let me just walk you through the appointment. When I got to the spa, they offered me a glass, no a goblet, of water with lemon and lime slices. Very refreshing! One point to the good experience. They also called me "Miss Laurel" which I'm sure was intentional to make me feel pampered and special or something. I guess I did kinda like that so another point to the good. Next, I'm walked back to the "Quiet Zone" where suddenly everyone is only talking in whispers. I assume this was to promote a peaceful, serene feeling, but it was more of an eerie feeling to me. I think I have too loud a personality for tranquility. Minus one point. Next, I'm shown to the restroom and asked if I need to go. Weird. I've only had 2 sips of the fancy water. It didn't go through me that quickly. Maybe they were being thoughtful in asking me since I was to spend the next hour lying on a table. But come on, I'm 24 years old. I think I can take care of my own bodily functions. Minus one point. The next room, is the robe room. I walked into this room a little hesistant. Am I supposed to be naked under this robe? Why are the only instructions on the wall "Use your spa voice" and "Turn off your cell phone"? Those of us who are new to the spa world are left with the dilemna to wear or not to wear? Minus one. Next, was my consultation. This involved soaking my feet and getting them rubbed while small talking. Plus one for the lovely foot massage, minus one for the small talk. I'm not very comfortable small talking with a stranger while naked. Then, I'm asked if I have a favorite oil I would like to use. Ummmm….. olive? Apparently, that wasn't a choice, so I was brought three options to smell and pick from. The first one smelled like a wilted dandelion. (Pass) The second smelled like moldy berries. (I don't think so.) The third one had a delightfully subtle, citrus smell. (I'll take that one) Minus one for the odorous oils but positive one for the frangrantly acceptable oil I chose. Next, it was time to disrobe and crawl into the sheets. Thankfully, I was left alone for this part. Plus one. And then the main event: the massage! It was great for about a minute and then I realized it was a full body massage! I thought is was just for my back. Immediately, I'm embarrassed to realize I haven't shaved since…..well, since I don't know when! I tried to console myself by rationalizing that the room was dark so she couldn't see how bad it was, but honestly, who needs to see it when they have to feel it? So I spend the first fifteen minutes of the massage ashamed of my bushy legs. Minus one. Thankfully, we moved on to other body parts and I was able to relax more. The mood music being played made me think there were probably people doing Tai Chi right outside the door. This was neither good or bad, merely an observation. The back, neck, and shoulder massage was excellent! Just the right amount of pressure in just the right places. I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect. Plus 2 points! While that portion was fantastic, the face massage was a little strange to me. I generally don't have aches and pains in my ears and eybrows. I would have prefered the time spent on my face to be used to continue that blissful shoulder massage. Minus one.  At the conclusion of the massage, I am AGAIN shown to the restroom and asked if I need to go. Still weird, and still the answer is no. Minus one. However, all day today, my muscles have felt so good. Plus one. As I look back through my musings and tally the points, it appears to be a tie. Eight points for each. (That is, if I did my math correctly!) And so it is up to you, the reader, to help me decipher was this a good experience or a bad experience?


  1. Here are some points to consider.
    +1, the hair is only bad on your legs and not your back
    +1, it wasn't a man asking if you needed to use the loo
    -1, the undressing part never gets less ackward
    +1, now you know what to ask for next time. As much silence as possible :) Which parts to skip and where to refocus the time.

    Recalculating... scale has been tipped to GOOD by two points.

    But really, if it were a bad experience, you'd have walked out of there crying from either pain or embarrassment.LOL

    Keep stretching and drinking plenty of water to keep the mushy muscle feeling! Happy birthday present.

  2. Laurel,
    I get asked if I need to use the bathroom every time I get a massage, which when I lived in Scottsbluff was pretty often, you may have had a lot to drink before you got there and wouldnt want to have to go in the middle of your massage. :) my massage therapist and I are friends and so she was very chatty unless of course I was quiet. Anyway, as weird as it souunds the facial massage can have benefits you dont even think about. I suffer from regular headaches and the massage helps relax your muscles. It also helps if you have a cold or allergies. I agree with alyssa. if it was really bad you wouldnt need help deciding that.

  3. So... I am a massage therapist... and a few observations.

    The asking you if you need to go to the restroom part is incredibly unusual. And I've been in a lot of spas.

    If it makes you feel any better, no massage therapist with even minimal experience is going to care at all about hairy legs. It was probably barely noticed, and the thought was probably not even processed. It just doesnt stand out for someone who sees/feels hundreds of bodies each year.

    I think you make a good point about the lack of "initiation" for those new to massage.

    Overall, it doesnt sound like the greatest place for a first-timer.

    One thing I'd mention, in case you do ever get another massage, is that the therapist will not be offended if you say "I don't care to have my [ears/eyebrows/legs] worked on, but I love having my [shoulders/neck/back] worked on and wouldnt mind having extra time spent there."

    Most therapists want it to be a great experience for you, either for altruistic reasons, or simply because it means they are more likely to get a good tip. Don't be shy!! :)

  4. If you go through your math, you end up at zero points, so you're about even with the beginning.

    And at least next time you'll remember to shave and you'll know which oil to choose, which automatically gets rid of two negatives!

  5. Laurel reading your experience cracked me up. I have only had one massage myself (a gift as well) and had some of the same thoughts as you. Although mine was just an upper body massage. My analysis for myself was in the neg. purely due to my personality, professional massages are not for me. They are suppose to be relaxing but I just couldn't make myself. I know several people who love getting a massage so I think Im the odd one out this subject.

    1. I think I would definitely have to be on the negative side! The thought of some weird girl I don't know rubbing all over me naked, while trying to make it sound soothing would honestly just creep me out! BUT...having said that, I know MANY people who absolutely love massages, so apparently it is all about personal preference. My preference is stay home and get one from my husband for free!