I signed up for one of those subscription massage clubs where you pay a monthly fee for theoretically one 60-minute massage every month. I did it because I get migraines, and my primary doctor thought massages might be good to help loosen my muscles. Initially I thought it was an awesome idea because it sounded luxurious and relaxing. Plus it would be awesome to get rid of my headaches.
Instead, the membership has been a headache itself.
When I started the membership, I was referred to a few different massage therapists who were supposedly “miracle workers” for people who get migraines. The first woman spent the entire hour telling me how horrible my muscles are as she launched her elbow into my back. I believe the word she used — more than once — was “gristly.” She was also really intense about making sure I scheduled my next appointment with her, and that I only see her going forward. I suppose these are sales people and the more people who visit them, the more money they make. But she wasn’t getting my repeat business. I went to the next person on the list for my second massage.
Somehow this woman was worse. 1) She was a close talker. 2) She was heavy on the sales pitch. 3) She held eye contact for WAY too long during our consultation and final wrap up.
After those experiences, I took a break from the massages for a few months. Eventually I figured I better get back to it since I was stuck paying for it. This time I was referred to a woman who was maybe 20. I told her what I was looking for and she did a great job. “Finally!” I thought, “Someone I can keep coming back to!” But after three or four visits, “Annette” mysteriously disappeared. I’m assuming she was fired. The receptionist was really awkward about it when she told me. Either she was fired or she quit in the most amazing fashion possible. It was clear the receptionist was specifically told she was not allowed to talk about it.
The next therapist I was referred to was great, but apparently everyone else thinks she’s great too, because it’s nearly impossible to find appointments with her. I needed an appointment this weekend (I’m about 6 months behind and am hoping to cancel my membership later this month — I need to use those massages like it’s my job), and my go-to was unavailable, so I went with the only person open during a time that worked for me.
Speaking of times that work for me, that’s a challenge in and of itself. 1) I’m super lazy and noncommittal, so it’s really hard for me to schedule appointments and stick to them. Have you heard of winter? And have you heard how comfortable sitting on a couch can be? 2) On top of that, the stars have to practically align for me to get a massage. I prefer week nights, because I can go straight from work to the appointment and then lay low at home the rest of the night. My hair, face and body are always greasy after a massage because of whatever oil they use. It would not be acceptable for me to see anyone I know other than Dan. Poor Dan. If it’s on a weekend, I prefer it to be in the morning so that I have plenty of time to shower and go about my day. 3) I never know what kind of massage I’m going to get, even when I say I want something relaxing — sometimes they give me relaxing, other times they decide to do deep tissue. If it’s deep tissue, I’m sore the entire evening and most of the next day. It’s like a massage hangover.
If it’s on a week night, that’s fine because I very rarely have any exciting plans that start after 7. If it’s on a weekend, that can potentially ruin whatever plans I had for the rest of my two-day house-lounging-extravaganza.
The therapist I saw this weekend looked old enough to be barely out of 8th grade. She had really pointy teeth. I first thought that maybe she was getting in the spirit for Halloween, but that made no sense since the rest of the place wasn’t decorated, so….who knows. While my initial judgment of her was, “I don’t think this will be good,” I tried to tell myself, “Lindsey, she might be amazing. Stop being so judgmental!”
We started with a head and facial massage. It would have been good if she didn’t reek of cigarettes. I think she’s been smoking since third grade — the smell was seeping from her pores like it had been there from a very early age. Almost like her sweat had been replaced with cigarette stench.
But whatever, I can deal with it. I just won’t breathe as often.
After she finished the facial massage, she moved to my pectorals. I’m 100% confident that the pectorals are on my “do not massage” chart. I was incredibly uncomfortable, but too shy to say anything. So I suffered through it. Then she moved to my legs. I hate having my legs massaged because they are usually ticklish. But this time was worse because she did a lot of massaging of my knee cap.
(Am I the only one who hates knee caps? I have some paranoia that my knee cap can easily pop off. I know they are probably pretty securely fastened to whatever they’re fastened to, but yikes, it still freaks me out. And also, who massages knee caps?)
She eventually moved to my back. I don’t really know how to describe it. It was a technique I’ve never experienced before, massaging muscles that I’m not quite sure are even muscles. I think she was poking individual fingers into my back — is that a thing now? It didn’t hurt, but it felt weird. I kept involuntarily twitching because she seemed to have found spots whose automatic reflex was to twitch.
I was relieved when it was over. She walked me to the front desk to check-out, and after she left the lobby area, I asked if I could be scheduled with my favorite therapist for my next visit. “Not for three weeks.”
It’s going to be impossible to use up all my massages. I’m going to have to visit a lot of crappy therapists over the next six weeks.