Today I treated myself to a back, neck and shoulders massage. Having trained in massage many moons ago, and loving a massage I ‘know my onions’ so to speak when it comes to both massage type and quality.
Over the years I’ve probably had a couple of hundred massages, and my conclusion is that there are a few truly brilliant massage therapists and many therapists are just running through the motions, rubbing their hands aimless up and down your back as they plan their shopping or rest of day. I would place myself down the end of the scale, whilst I enjoyed it and found it very grounding for me, I don’t think I was that good, and neither did I put in the practice to improve. In short I would rather receive than give a massage.
Since moving to a new area I have been trying to find good local therapists, these are the people who help to keep me and my body on the straight and narrow. And 11 months in I’ve had limited success, but there’s always hope …
The first lady I went to was a Thai therapist and exceedingly skilled, but she insisted on talking all the way through the treatment, which might occasionally be ok if you know them well, but her conversation (or should I say monologue) was a toxic rant about men, and at total odds with the promoted promise of a ‘blissful, relaxing treatment’. This was one heck of an angry therapist. I’ve never returned.
Attempt number two was a therapist working in a small fabulous converted lodge, with large windows leaning out over the Lake District Fells – big tick. The place looked, felt and smelt good. However the treatment was sadly lacking, the therapist was at the start of her career. I later found out that she had done most of her training during Covid, and my treatment felt as ‘virtual’ as her training probably was.. it was almost as if she was fearful of touching me.
My third attempt was much better, a Hotel Spa booking provided a short Scottish lady who applied all her inner might to tackle my knots, it was good, but at more than an hour away, and hotel spa prices, this was unlikely to be my regular treat.
But today walking up the hill to the treatment room I had a good feeling and I began musing over ‘touch’ as a ‘gift’. I believe we all have a special ‘gift’, some are clear what theirs’s is and enjoy it through fun, hobbies or as their career. For others its a mystery, unknown or hidden from the world as Marianne Williams put it’
our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous’ .
The gift I admire most in others it the ability to make you feel truly seen, a combination of real listening, emotional intelligence, warmth, empathy and genuine interest – I have one fabulous friend who naturally does this. The other gift, the one I would have for myself, if we got to choose, would be the ability to sing. For me singing, in tune singing, is an expression of the soul and love. I have an inkling of my gift, and I will share that in a future blog.
I continued up to the therapy room, a dedicated room in the local community centre. The building has big rooms, small rooms and shared toilet facilities filled with posters about sexual health and child line. Perhaps not a promising start. But as you enter the treatment room, your worries, the outside world and your shoes are left outside.
Inside the room is a haven for relaxation, ‘rest, relax and restore’ imagery and scents of ylang ylang and patchouli.
45 minutes later and I’m writing this from cloud 9. The treatment was bliss, no other words required.
When I thanked Maya at the end and said how good she was, she replied I love it, its my gift. My respect for and connection with her deepened.