28 September 2015

Relaxing Massage

Last Tuesday I did something to my left shoulder. I still don't know what it was but either I had sat awkwardly on the couch or I slept weirdly. Either way, if I reached out with my left arm I was in agony - enough to wince each time. 

If I sat still for too long, as soon as I moved it would hurt. Putting my hand up in the air or waving it around felt OK though so I carried on going to yoga. I was talking to my Pilates instructor after class Wednesday, who suggested I try a massage at either KP Grande or Maneechan hotels. I mulled this over for a day and decided to do it. I picked out the Maneechan because I thought more foreigners would stay there and I was more likely to get a western style massage.

Having been warmly welcomed at the front door, I headed to the Reception desk to make my request. Funnily enough, they had a large list of massage services right next to the desk no, not those sort of services, this was legit and I duly advised I would like a head, neck and back massage. I was lead through the hotel, passed the pool which looked lovely and to the room on the other side of the complex. There were about six mattresses all at floor level. That seemed a bit to caring and sharing for my liking but I was the only one there so didn't think anything more of it.

Alarm bells did still not go off when I was given a fetching little outfit to put on. I've confirmed with the very nice lady who did keep calling me madam which I hate but hey that I want my head, neck and back massaged. I've done this by also including hand signals pointed out my head, neck and back. She's nodded and directed me face down onto one of the mattresses. And, by the Gods, then it starts. Without a drop of oil in sight.

Have you every had a Thai massage? I can't say I recommend it. Sure, some people love it. They think this is the original massage which we should all have. Quite frankly, this is not my opinion. By the time she turned me over yes I know, why on earth do you need to be turned over when you're having your head, neck and back done all sorts of thoughts were going on in my head. 

My first thought was - I wonder if anyone has ever gone for a massage, fully functioning and come out the other side a paraplegic? I kid you not. This woman was pulling and pushing me for all she was worth and not just with her hands. Oh no, she had a foot firmly planted on various bits of me and went to places that not even Mr John has been to in twelve years. Not only that, but every now and again she would punch, yes punch, the soles of my feet. What the ...... insert expletive of your choice...!

My second thought was - do you have any formal qualifications for undertaking this "service"? Health and Safety is, well, not very healthy or safe in Thailand. The general "sabai, sabai" namely chill out, relax, whatever approach coupled with a Buddhist belief that when your time is up, your time is up means that the Western obsession with your own personal safety just gets in the way of living life so best not to bother with all that.

One of the problems with all of this is that as she's working on one part of you, the rest of you has tensed up waiting for the inevitable surge of pain that's about to head your way. If you've already got a part of you that's tense, this sort of massage can surely only lead to other parts of you felling tense? And why do I have to roll onto my back when I'm only meant to be having my head, neck and back massaged? And what do you mean, sit up??

By the time she was jamming her chin into the top of my skull I was ready to run out screaming assuming I wasn't actually paralysed. I had been breathing so deeply and exhaling so dramatically think pregnant woman, labour pains whilst face down that I'd left a damp circle on the sheets and presumably they'd have to get a hair dryer or some equivalent to the mattress so that it was dried out for the next victim customer

I get up off the mattress. This was only achieved by rolling myself onto my knees and gingerly, one foot at a time, raising myself up. I lurched to the bathroom so I can change out of my "massage outfit". I feel like I've been 10 rounds with Mohammed Ali. I'm offering up all sorts of promises to the Gods that I'm still able to ride my motorcycle home and will not be stuck here until Mr John finishes school.

Then 300 baht (about GBP £5.50 / AUD $11.80 / US $8.30 / EU 7.40) plus a tip what was I thinking later, I'm on my bike heading home thinking I should have tried the KP Grande. To be fair, it's feeling a little better but I'm not sure whether that's due to the skills of my masseuse or just time passing remember, this was no serious injury. I somehow suspect it was the latter.

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