If It Feels Good …

I spent all day Saturday giving half-hour massages at a clinic on Nine Mile Road. It was a great experience, despite the two no shows.

And I can’t really imagine that – not showing up for a massage. Sure, miss your procto exam, totally space that two-hour root canal thing, forget you agreed to meet your life insurance agent for coffee, but not show up for a massage?

You get a massage because it feels good! Doesn’t it?

I’ve never had one that didn’t. Even amateur massage feels good; even when Sean used me for a test dummy for Sports Massage class and twisted me up like a pretzel and did something called the Peanut Grinder on me, even THAT felt good once I decided he really didn’t intend to leave me permanently with my left foot behind my right ear.

Intentional, therapeutic, goal-oriented touch feels good, and it’s good for you.

But unfortunately there’s a pseudo philosophy or quasi-ethos whose main principle is that what feels good probably isn’t good for you, and conversely that in order to feel good one has to first feel bad. Sometimes the espousers of this philosophy are correct, though not always.

Alcohol and recreational drugs, and even prescription drugs, make you feel good but they really aren’t good for you. Junk food makes you feel good for a bit, but definitely isn’t good for you. (I do draw the line at Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream, which, if taken in moderate doses, will in fact make one immortal.)

Then of course I could talk about sex, or TV, or films, or trashy novels, or the internet, all of which have abuse potential, along with the potential to make us feel good, if only temporarily.

And then there is medicine, and the practice thereof. Its entire reason for being is to make us feel good, or to get us back up to functional normal. But a lot of the stuff medical doctors, chiropractors, psychiatrists, acupuncturists, dentists and so on do to us in the course of treatment doesn’t feel good at ALL.

They tell us it’s just a pinch; there may be a bit of nausea/swelling/discomfort; when I shoot this in you may experience something similar to burning napalm in your rectum; this may taste exactly like toxic factory waste, but it’s for your own good!

It’s as if the more horrific the treatment, the surer the cure, and I just don’t buy that.

Sure I get down deep in clogged up, jacked up muscles, and sort them out. Every therapist I know does. You should hear Ted’s clients yelling some mornings. But they love him and they come back week after week, and frankly I think the yelling is just to reassure Ted that the client appreciates what he’s doing, and that he’s on target.

But feeling better can feel good right from the start, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You don’t have to suffer, or feel bad in order to feel better. The protagonist’s descent into hell and subsequent renewal is great as metaphor and as story device, and some really good authors have used it.

Only you don’t have to. Go find a massage therapist and tell him or her, or me for that matter, that you want to feel better NOW.

Chances are he or she or I will sort you out straight away, and send you off a bit drained but all smiles.

That is all.

Mark out.


Controlling The Muscles

Today I worked on another therapist. She had been working three months without getting a massage and was really feeling it. I could feel it too, in her back and shoulders and arms, and she seemed a lot better when I got done.

But I was SO pleased because just before she got off the table she said, “I really like the way you take control of the muscles.”

I think that’s the nicest compliment I ever got about my work, from other than my girlfriend, and it made me feel really good.

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend!

That is all.

Mark out.

Clinical Massage

All the massage I do is more or less clinical, as opposed to spa massage. I work at Emerald Coast Massage Specialists which isn’t a spa although it has somewhat of a spa atmosphere – quiet, nice pictures on the walls, low lighting and good music.

But even when a client asks for relaxation massage I always find out, or simply find, that there is something that needs therapy, some muscle not acting right, some painful area, some reason to do more than fluff and buff.

And then this past Saturday I worked in an actual clinic. I was supposed to simply shadow Sean, watch what he did with clients referred by their physicians, but I wound up doing 5 half-hour sessions.

Obviously these folks have clinical problems, and their doctors prescribed massage therapy to treat whatever is going on. Some are car crash victims, and some just folks who have ongoing muscle issues of one kind or other.

But regardless what the client is there for, it’s my job to make him or her feel better, even if I have to make him or her feel worse for a few minutes. Very often treating muscles that hurt requires hurting them in a good way, a retraining and restructuring way, to help them respond and rejuvenate.

And honestly, if done right, it really does feel better when it quits hurting.

Then there are times when no matter how deep I dig into someone’s muscles, the client responds with, “Yeah, that’s good,” or something similar. These usually are people who are in pain all the time, and even just a different sort of pain for a while seems a relief.

Anyway, my point is that doing what I do makes people feel good, or at least better, and that makes me feel better.

That is all.

Mark out.

Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!

Somewhere among the hamburgers and the corn on the cob and the cold beer and the fireworks at the fairgrounds grandstand, take a minute or two and remember what and who this is all about.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Don’t disappoint your founding fathers, much less the guys in the video up there. Heroes every one, they are doing their best to make sure you have Liberty. You’ve got Life or I would be very surprised to find you reading this. So go get some Happiness.

Call your massage therapist first thing tomorrow and book an appointment. And do it proudly, whether you’re an American or not.

Americans love to share – happiness, C-rations, relaxed muscles, whatever we’ve got.

That is all.

Mark out.

Getting Onto the Table

One thing massage therapists need maybe even more than anyone else is massage therapy. Our business is physically intense, so naturally our muscles get lots of wear and tear, and need to be worked on. Last week and this week both I worked on one of the other therapists here at ECMS, Clary, and then a fellow student from Pensacola School of Massage Therapy called Saturday with fairly serious muscle issues she had trouble coping with herself.

Miranda dropped by my apartment in the afternoon and I worked on her, and then we had a nice long visit catching up with everything that’s been going on since we graduated. She asked how long it had been since I’d got onto the table, and I had to admit it had been quite some time, so she urged me to call her and let her return the favor.

So I gave her a ring Wednesday and asked if she had time Thursday morning, which she did, so I drove out to Head to Toe Spa in Pace, and she gave me a good working over. I hadn’t been hurting anywhere in particular, or didn’t realize I had, but my neck felt SO much better after she stripped a few muscles and gave me a good bit of torsion with a folded pillow case.

And just so you know, therapists don’t charge each other. That’s why I was able to work on Miranda in my apartment – just a friend massaging a friend at home. Otherwise one gets into things like establishment license requirements and so on, and I’m not ready for that yet.

So this afternoon I have my second ever real, paying client, whom I will work on at ECMS. And now that I’ve not only practiced this week but been practiced on, I feel more than ready to help my client with whatever she needs.

That is all.

Mark out.