Tuesday night MB and I got Thai massages.
If you didn’t already know, Thai massage involves deep tissue work and yoga-like movements. In the “What to Expect” section of the linked article, it says that it’s done on a mat on the floor (check), you’re fully clothed (check), and it’s about an hour long (check). But nowhere does it mention the excrutiating pain.
Unlike western masseuses who use mostly their hands, in Thai massage the masseuses use just about every other body part – elbows, knees, and feet. At times I didn’t even know what body part she was using till suddenly I felt toes wiggling through the blanket on my hand (that actually felt really good).
I didn’t know my hamstrings and IT band (those muscles along the outside of the thigh) were so tight till she started ramming her knees into them, or that my inner thigh muscles were so inflexible till she twisted my legs into a pretzel and pushed them against my chest. I guess all that running stiffens them up.
I winced a few times but I could take it. I could handle the lower back, even when it felt like she was squeezing my organs, but then she started on my shoulder blades.
I’ve had problems with my shoulders for years. My right one because of mousing, and my left because that’s where I carry my bag. Surprisingly my left side hurt a lot more. Like a whole mother fucking lot. Oh. My. God. She just went at it for such a long time. I could have asked her to lighten up, but I wanted the full benefit and thought maybe it’s almost over, and then she’d go on, and on, and on.
How bad was it? Imagine a 110-pound woman pressing all her weight through her knee directly into those nerve endings between your spine and shoulder blade. Not just pressing – digging digging digging. The room was cool, but I was sweating.
Finally, I had to ask her to ease up, and then it was better though by no means a soothing-potpourri-Enya experience like at some chi chi spa.
Then came the yoga-like movements. This involved her lifting me straight off the mat. She did one move that was painful to my right shoulder, but afterward it felt awesome. She lifted me into a cobra pose, and then to the left and right, which was great. I totally heard my shoulder pop. Then she rolled me and I ended bent backwards over her knees. Again, very nice. Then she punched me in the back.
Just kidding. She was a very sweet woman, apologizing profusely whenever I asked her for less pressure. But the whole time I was thinking I should take up serious yoga so that I’m in better shape for my next Thai massage.
Like I said, afterward I felt all loose and relaxed. The next day I was sore but in a good way, like after a workout, and I had a really good run. Six miles! It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that somewhat easily.
The experience is making me consider taking a yoga class. I do my own poses but I’m sure I don’t push myself hard enough. Plus I’ve been doing the same ones for years. Maybe I’ll try a yoga class at my gym. It’ll definitely be less painful than another Thai massage.