Monday, January 21, 2008

New Year's Massage

I don't know about you, but every time I get a massage, I think, (w)ow! this is great! I'm going to do this at least twice a month! After all, what could be better for your body than someone else's expert hands massaging it and working out its tensions and tight spots? (OK, don't answer that question.) Throw in some incense, aromatherapy, candles, and soft music, and you've got yourself a willing client!

Unfortunately, Caring for One's Body often seems to take a back seat (pun intended) to Everything Else One Needs to Do, and yes, there are budget constraints as well, conspiring to make that "twice a month" pledge more like "once in a while" (or, in my case, when my shoulders get so tight that I start developing an unhealthy lust for sledgehammers).

But today I was lucky enough to have a free massage, compliments of friends K and A (thanks guys!) at a local Chinese massage center, and my pledge has been (once again) renewed. Although I've had acupuncture and shiatsu in the past, this was my first experience getting a Chinese "tuina" massage, and I have to say it was just what the doctor ordered (or rather, didn't order, but should have).

Like most traditional Chinese medicine places, the overall set-up was pretty basic: folding chairs, massage table, small sink, old (but clean) blanket and pillow. No lavender candles or whale music here! After spending some time finding a pulse (it's pretty weak these winter mornings), the masseur told me what I already know (if constantly frozen hands and feet are a good indicator): that my circulation is very slow, and indeed my whole body is functioning on a low battery. A quick look at my tongue seemed to support his diagnosis. I tried explaining my whole hibernation theory to him, how I am actually a grizzly bear in disguise, waiting for the spring equinox to crawl out of hiding, but he just nodded and said very pragmatically, as if he was telling me he was going to change the oil in my car: OK, now we're going to stimulate your meridians and get your body's energy back (or something like that, I'm not good at remembering things verbatim when they're said in French around a massage table).

And that's when the sledgehammers came out.

No, it wasn't that bad. But it was intense, which I was grateful for, because my only complaint about a massage is when the practitioner's hands aren't strong enough . No complaints this time! After one hour of him pounding and kneading me like yesterday's bread dough, I could feel my kidneys waking up, along with a whole bunch of other organs and muscles that I'd sort of forgotten about recently (or forever). (Sorry guys! I wanted to say. I know this has been a stressful time for you, what with the holidays and all...)

When it was all over, he smiled at me in a very non-judgemental way (which was good, because I'd thought I'd be clothed, like in shiatsu massage, and I wasn't, and I felt terrible about how out of condition my body is) and he said that I was too "yin" right now, and I needed more "yang." Il vous faut du soleil. Hmm...apparently sunshine is yang, so perhaps I should book a trip to Provence?

Anyway, guess what? I have another appointment in 10 days' time. So maybe 2008 is gonna be a good year after all!


Blogger Angela said...

I am definitely more yin right now but it serves me well. Staying indoors, eating warm food and reading while curled up on the couch...rain and wind beating against the windows.

Hmmm. I'll need to write a blog entry on balance soon. Sometimes, it just ain't possible so why feel bad about it?

2:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home