Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Massage

For special occasions, my husband likes to get me creative presents. No chocolates and roses from this guy. He claims it's because I don't like chocolates or roses, but I do actually like chocolates and would be fine with receiving them as a present (not so much roses). Some creative presents he's gotten me have included a membership to the Lobster of the Month Club and a hammock for our tiny one bedroom apartment:



(Unfortunately, the hammock came to life during the night and tried to bring us back to its home planet. We had to destroy it with fire, its only weakness.)

Last year, he bought me a gift certificate for a massage at a spa. Sounds like a great gift, right? Unfortunately, I've never had a massage before and I'm a little bit terrified of them, mostly because I vasovagal kind of easily. When I was having a one on one yoga demo session, the instructor did some kind of massage-like manipulation and I almost fainted, and felt lousy the rest of the day. The same thing happened when an osteopath in my class did some kind of manipulation on my shoulders.

So I traded the massage for a pedicure and a wax, and I was happy. Yes, I preferred having hair yanked out of me by the root rather than get a massage.

I guess I didn't emphasize to my husband my feelings about massage because this year for our anniversary, he again bought me a gift certificate for a highly rated spa in our area. Except this time it was a spa that basically ONLY does massage and variations on massage. And it's a $200 gift certificate, so it's not like I can just toss it. I have to get a massage.

I feel a little stupid about the whole thing, because really, what woman wouldn't want a massage at a nice spa? But I'm seriously worried about fainting during the experience or something along those lines. And isn't part of the fun of a massage looking forward to it? I feel like this is going to become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

So here I am, dreading a massage (and also playing the world's tiniest violin).

16 comments:

  1. I'm with you on this. Can you re-gift it to someone else?

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  2. Just had my first massage ... It was great. Tell the massage therapist your problem and I bet it will be fine. Plus maybe you can split it up into a couple shorter massages so the first one is only 25 minutes and you can see how you do. Start with feet, perhaps. Feels great and less likely to make you pass out. If you faint, at least you're already lying down!

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  3. I would definitely agree with Anonymous about splitting it up. As an LMT and OT, I would say definitely let them know in advance; however, vasovagal responses tend to occur when one is upright, either in chair-massage or standing. When you were manipulated, were you supine or seated/standing? Part of massage is relaxation, but part of it is developing body awareness...and neural responses are malleable, just like many types of neuro-motor re-education. Perhaps you should try massage as a form of progressive desensitization over several sessions. Perhaps you guard too much and that's contributing to the vasovagal overreaction?

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  4. rlbates: I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. I don't think I can regift it cuz my name is on it...

    L: I was lying down during the yoga thing, but sitting up for the osteopathic thing. I do really want to try it, but I don't want to risk almost passing out. I'm also worried about them being too rough and being sore after.

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  5. Fizz- Very sweet gesture from your husband - he wants you to feel pampered. Agree with telling your masseuse beforehand of your sensitivity - and they can be as gentle or firm as you want. I love getting massages - such a treat. Highly recommend them!

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  6. Talk to the massage therapist! There are different types of massages. You probably don't want to go for one that involves a lot of manipulation and "work," at least not initially. Ask for a simple relaxation massage to begin with.

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  7. resell that gift cert and treat yourself to something you love :o)

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  8. What about a foot or hand massage? Those are wonderful :)

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  9. Kellie (General Surgeon)June 7, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    I love massages. Love them
    I support what everyone said, tell the therapist your issues with vasovagal. Foot massages are HEAVENLY. I know it sounds weird, but I almost always fall asleep during a foot massage. Being a surgeon, I stand in awkward positions and massage helps the shoulder and neck tightness for me immensely.

    If you end up not liking it, tell hubby so he can get you something else next time.

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  10. I agree with anonymous 1, split it up to see how you do, and talk to you massage therapist. You're not the only one they've dealt with that has sensitivity issues.

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  11. I love massage, but don't like any deep tissue or lots of manipulation. Talk to your massage therapist and let them know your concern. I'd start with a very gentle relaxation massage. Make sure that you are comfortable on the massage table. When the session is finished, take plenty of time to "wake up" and get up from the table slowly. Enjoy!

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  12. Well, you'll be lying down, so you won't fall if you do faint. But talk to therapist like the others say

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  13. I had my first massage at a student clinic. She whispered to me in the middle, telling me I had a tick on the sole of my foot. It was a birthmark.

    Despite that, I am a massage addict. You can have your chocolate, your diamonds, and your roses, just give me my monthly massage. I don't have a husband, so I give it to myself. I have a great therapist I've been loyal to for a couple of years. It is the best relaxation for me - and I read an article in NYTimes claiming it has great neuron benefits as well. As if I need another reason to indulge.

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  14. Massages are the BEST THING ever!! I am addicted to them. They're like crack. Once you try it, you can't stop.

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  15. Fizzy - Off the topic of massage ... just thought for your hammock. Since it takes up space in small apartment, you could (if you won't piss off your landlord too much) put hooks in the ceiling (into a stud!) and hang a couple chains so you could use the hammock or unhook it when you are not using it and lose the base.

    Sorry if that's an intrusive suggestion. There hasn't been a post on MiM in a few days and when I came back looking for an update I found I still had a few minutes to kill!

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  16. Anon: Thanks for the suggestion, but we sold the hammock a couple of years ago :)

    I will probably end up getting the massage. Maybe I too will become a massage addict...

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