Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Get What You Pay For

**This is a letter written to my aunt and friend, both of whom practice massage therapy, professionally and/or on a student level.

Hi Aunt Leslie and Lauren~

I figured I would let you both know simultaneously about the Chinese massage "experience," which I finally went to last night. I went with two friends, "J" who opted for a 60 minute foot massage, and "A", who opted for a 60 minute back massage because she was worried about her feet bruising as she has a big wedding to attend this weekend. Since I'm clearly the most intelligent of the group, I chose a 60 minute foot rub followed by a 15 minute back/shoulder massage. Epic fail!

The foot massage was tolerable. I had to tell the woman about 20 times, "Lighter!!" or "Owww," but the best way to convey the pain was to jerk my foot away and stare her down, non-verbal communication like a lion in the Sahara. That sixty minutes was definitely entertaining and I survived with my feet and legs intact and functioning. But around the time I was adjusting myself for my back to be massaged, "A" came out from the back room shaking her head in pain. She said it was "...really hard." I wish she could have been a bit more descriptive, because I would have cancelled my shoulder rub if she had spoken more specifically, as in "This will be the single worst shoulder experience you have ever experienced, and I don't know your experiences, and I still say that with confidence."

So there I am, staring down at this 15 minute timer while this small-ish Chinese woman beats me with her elbows as if I had stolen her first born son. (I choose to refrain from further description as to what could have made this woman more hateful towards me.) And when the timer ticked off one minute and showed 14 minutes left, I almost started crying. I said "OW!" and "Stop!" and moved and wiggled and darted and at one point I grabbed her right hand and pried her thumb out from deep within my skin, because I was pretty sure she was searching for my artery to rip open.

Maybe that's how you achieve true relaxation in China. You bleed out completely in a massage chair and you never feel stress- or anything- again.

By the time I went to bed, I couldn't pick my arms up over my head. I woke up at 6 am on my own, from throbbing on my shoulders and the back of my neck. I am currently wearing my bra straps around the tops of my arms, because not only do I have pain emanating from my bones, but also there is incredible soreness to touch. I can't look straight down, I can't straighten my shoulders, and I almost fainted in my kitchen when I stupidly flung my purse onto my left shoulder this morning.

I'm thinking of bringing my Dad there for Father's Day. What are your thoughts?



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