Slice of Write

Stories & jibber-jabber by Janelle Parmer, Author of The Other Side of the Ledge & Chasing Calla Lilies

Some people prefer chiropractors, others may favor acupuncture or yoga for pain management.  I am not one of those people.  I have tried it all, and massage therapy seems to always benefit my neck and shoulder problems best.  Yes, I have turned into one of those people that happily steps on my soap box to tell any friends, family, or strangers within earshot how wonderful massage therapy is and how it has changed my life.

My first piece of advice is finding the right massage therapist.  See, I prefer to keep my eyes closed, not speak, and try and relax as much as possible during that fifty-five minutes of bliss.  In order to achieve my euphoria, I must avoid three types of massage therapists.

The first type is the talker.  Some massage therapists, albeit probably just being friendly and nice, want to tell me everything about their three kids to planning their mother’s birthday party next weekend.  These people are the equivalent of the passenger on the airplane that won’t shut up when all you want to do is put on your headphones and sleep thru the next five hours.  To the talker’s chagrin, I don’t want to hear it.  I have my own kids and my own mother’s birthday to deal with.  I just want my fifty-five minutes of uninterrupted quiet time, minus the Yanni music in the background, of course. 

The second type of therapist to avoid is the butcher.  My goal is to have complete relaxation; however, there are some therapists that pride themselves on forcing muscles, flesh, and bones into places they haven’t been in decades.   You feel like a piece of meat they are trying to tenderize in the most agonizing way possible.  A word of advice to those who don’t enjoy torture, if you happen to come across a massage therapist who cracks their knuckles before touching you, run fast.  Don’t look back.  Just run, because if you don’t, you are going to endure fifty-five minutes of the most brutal touching, pulling, and rubbing you have ever experienced in your life.  If you ignore that inner voice telling you to run, you will be grimacing and grinding your teeth throughout the next fifty-five minutes.  And, to make matters worse, those fifty-five minutes will feel like an eternity. 

The last type of massage therapist I avoid is the interrupter.  They are sneaky because they can be quiet for minutes at a time.  However, all of the sudden, usually when you feel like a blob of melting butter on top of a warm pancake, this person will cough, change the volume on the radio, move the table up and down, or put a blazing hot towel from hell on your back without notice.   Once is fine, but the interrupter has a tendency to do this at least three or four times during your fifty-five minutes.  I have come to the conclusion they can’t help themselves.  They are one step away from being a butcher.  Their abrupt actions become so intrusive that you are unable to fall back into your happy place because your reflexes have kicked in, and your body involuntarily tenses up to prepare for the next interruption.

The thing I stress to people most is, when you are lucky enough to find that elusive perfect massage therapist, don’t ever let them go.  If they change their schedule, you must alter yours.  If they move to another facility, interrogate whoever necessary to find out where they went so you can follow.  If you don’t, you’ll have to go through the whole process of finding your new perfect massage therapist.  Sometimes you may be lucky and score well on your first try; however, more often than not, you’ll have to go through at least one talker, butcher, or interrupter to get there.

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