Massage or Torture?


If this is massage therapy, I’m a can of tomatoes.
Like any other modern day baby boomer, I’m a lover of massage therapy. I’ve come to appreciate a deep tissue pressure that will soothe my jangled nerves without registering a single bruise to my, um, baby soft skin.
This was not the case.
The guy was smooth, strong (too strong) and obviously hadn’t completed his zen preparations that morning. Perhaps I should have told him that I would support the political rebels in his country. Perhaps it was his way of slowly but surely punishing all Americans, one client at a time. Perhaps he had a rough childhood. I apologized for my existence. I pled for my life. I still came away mangled.
That was Washington DC. The next time, I sagely thought I’d retreat to the rarefied air of New York City’s upper west side. That should have been perfect, right?
Wrong.
I blithely assumed such a therapist would be used to soft, wealthy, overly sensitive types and adjust their treatment accordingly.
Thus soothed, I walked straight into the arms of my attacker.
You know how, in the comics, they write the words: POW, BANG, SLAM, and WHACK, are written really big in the middle of the cartoon frame when someone is being pulverized for blowing up some unknown metropolis?
My massage therapist must have believed I was about to blow up her city.
Thwack!
Slam!
Boom!
This little, teeny, tiny viper almost had me in tears. “Honest, I didn’t do it!” I wanted to scream out to her, my voice horribly muffled in the little toilet shaped pillow. Perhaps she was jealous of my big boobs. Perhaps she wanted to get back at me for being a foot taller than she was. Maybe she was Batman.
Every once in a while she’d ask if I was okay and all I could do was whimper.
It was to no avail. She wailed on me like I was an evil, bloodsucking, alien from space. The only other time I saw that kind of violence was when a gardener at an apartment building found a snake. Even after killing the poor thing, he continued to hack away at it, making sure not only his body was dead but his spirit too.
Bruises covered my body. And it was only a half hour session. I wonder how many cracked ribs I might have had if it was a full hour. The bigger question however, was why didn’t I just get up and walk out or “massage” her for a minute or two?
Finally home from being mugged on the massage table, I was now in fear of ever being touched by a masseuse again. However, the need for more physical abuse called to me. In fact it begged for another dose. I succumbed to its insistence, represented by the firing sciatic nerve running down my leg and went in for another round in the ring. This time however, not wanting the next available clinician, I waited days on end for a therapist that I had trusted in the past.
“Bob,” I said, when I came face to face with who could be another possible karate masseur, “I was tortured AliBWbefore. I am a victim. I apologize for my semi-affluent station in life. I am respectfully asking for an hour of your time to perform your magic on my ailing middle-class back. Please don’t hurt me (especially my hands – you can break my nose if you want, then I can get that nose job I’ve always wanted)!”
It worked, apologizing must be the key. He not only didn’t mangle me, but he helped my sciatic. I asked him if after all the new age music he listens to day in and day out, did he go home and turn on Foo Fighters and Queens Ryche, or did he yell and scream until he got all his frustrations out? Because maybe those other two were just sick of Celtic lullabies and bamboo flute music and just took out all their repressed heavy-metal-head-banging energy on my body? He said yes. He would scream, rock out and generally shake, releasing his own tension at the end of the day.
Well then, that’s it – no more sado-masochism for me. I’m making sure whoever claims to be a massage therapist, has had their dose of Metallica and Iron Maiden before or session. Maybe I should offer to massage them first to calm them down? I think Bob might be the answer.

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