Blind Massage

Today I went and got a massage with one of Troy’s coworkers, Asmaa. She and I went for massages several weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so we went again today. We actually decided tonight that this is going to be our weekly Thursday night outing because we both really like them.

The first time I went, I really did not know what to expect. I’d seen a few places down the street while Troy and I had been driving around (in circles, actually. haha), but she took me to a place I’d never seen before. It was a very interesting experience. I’ve had many massages in my life, so it wasn’t like the massage was new to me. I’m just used to massages in the United States where everything is pristine and tries to look expensive. These two places (we went to a different one tonight) were clean, but very very simple. The waiting rooms were just a couple of chairs with thin padding and semi-bare carpet. The chairs looked like they could use some cleaning, but other than that they looked fine. No decor on the walls or candles burning. They did have music at this place tonight, though. The last place didn’t. The other different between the two places was the lighting. At the place we went to tonight, the rooms were moderately well-lit and we could see everything. The last place, the rooms were dark! Darker than the massage rooms I’ve been in in the US. Oh, and the rooms weren’t private. The last place had two beds to a room with a sheet hanging from the ceiling to separate them, kinda like how they do it in the hospital rooms. The place tonight was the same, except with three beds to a room.

The lady that massaged me last time was interesting. She didn’t talk to me for quite a while. I kinda just assumed she didn’t speak much English because the lady who was massaging Asmaa was talking up a storm to Asmaa. But then Asmaa asked me how my massage was going and I said, “Eh” and then my lady started talking to me. She had asked me earlier how the pressure was and I told her it was fine. She was just rubbing up and down my back and I assumed she was going to get into the massaging after doing that for a minute. 20 minutes later and she was still doing that. I had asked her if she would use more pressure, but she just kept doing what she was doing. Needless to say, I was not so impressed with the massage. Once I responded to Asmaa, though, the lady started talking to me. She told me if I wanted something different, I should speak up. So, I asked her again if she would use more pressure. NOW she started doing an actual massage. And talking. lol. She was cracking me up with all her comments about how rubbing my back made her feel like she was washing clothes on a washboard and how she didn’t want to massage too hard because she was afraid of breaking me and that I am too skinny. lol. It was pretty funny. Every time she would rub my back (quite often) she would tsk tsk and make a comment about washing clothes. lol. Even so, she did massage harder, so that made me happy. At one point she was massaging my hip and said most people can’t handle the deep pressure there and I was thinking, “really? this isn’t so bad” and then she went DEEP. Oh my goodness. It hurt. I flinched and she laughed a little bit. She said, “See? Too deep.” I kinda wonder if she did it on purpose. She was nice, though, and told me to be sure to speak up and tell the masseurs what I like. I guess I’m just used to things being different in the US.

Speaking of different. So, they do put a towel over you when they are massaging you, but they don’t much maintain the whole modesty thing. I guess it’s because they are blind and can’t tell that they have pulled the towel down to your waist or completely off of you. That was definitely interesting. I kept grabbing the towel and pulling it back up to my shoulders or wrapping it around the front of me when she had me sit up so she could rub my shoulders. I guess they don’t pay attention to that part if it because they’re blind and can’t really tell that they’ve made you indecently exposed. Thank goodness it was so dark in there.

The lady that massaged me tonight did a better job at keeping me covered up. When she was massaging my legs or my arms, she didn’t just flip the towel around like the other lady did. She moved part of the towel over and would tuck it under my other leg or under my side. A few times she pulled the towel down too low and I’d have to pull it back up, but I guess that’s to be expected when the towel she was using was a child’s bath towel. Or maybe it’s because I’m tall and everything here is made for tiny people. With my head up against the wall, my feet were hanging off the end of the massage table. When she went to massage my legs, she felt my feet and felt the table and felt my feet again. She said, “You must be very tall. Are you 5’7″ or maybe 5’6″?” I told her I am 5’8″ and she said I was very tall and said I must have very long arms and legs. lol.

I actually get the height thing quite a bit. In the US, I am of average height, but here I am taller than just about everyone I see. In Thailand, one lady at a temple we were touring made a comment about how I have a ‘very long body’ and she said I must be a basketball player. lol. It made me chuckle a bit.

Anyways, the lady who massaged me today was a lot more talkative than the other lady. She asked me about where I’m from (the US), if I’m here for work or study (told her I clean the house now, but I’m starting school in January) , how long I’ll be here (October 2013), what I’m doing for Christmas (going to Cambodia), if I’m going back to the US for New Year’s (nope) and a bunch of other questions. She actually spoke English very well. I had a bit of a hard time understanding her, though, because she had a speech impediment. Probably because she was missing a lot of teeth. Kinda made me feel bad for her.

The massage she gave me was interesting. Probably one of the best, and most painful, massages I’ve had in a long time. An interesting thing they do with massages here is to climb up on the table and sit on your behind and legs while they massage your back. It’s quite interesting. I’m used to Troy sitting on me when he rubs my back, but before I moved to Malaysia, I’d never had anyone sit on me while giving me a professional massage. Very, very interesting.

Another unique thing about this lady’s technique is that she quite enjoyed using her elbow and pinching pressure points. She really dug into the pressure points. I’ve never had someone do that before. I’ve had people gently massage pressure points, but this lady really put on the pressure. Which is good, because I like deep massages. I get disappointed by most massages because a required question in the US is if you have any back problems or where most of your pain is. Then they ask you if it’s from an injury or misuse. I used to just come right out and tell masseurs that I have scoliosis, but then I realized over time that once they hear that, they automatically go gentle. And that does absolutely nothing for me, so I hold off telling them that as long as possible now. Or I don’t tell them at all if they don’t ask a question regarding a cause. Some figure it out after massaging my back for a few minutes and they will ask if I have ever been told my back is slightly deformed. Yeah, I know. And then they go gentle and I have to ask them to increase the pressure, which most will do a little, but some won’t because they don’t want to injure me. *sigh* So it’s hard to find a good masseur that isn’t afraid of my back.

Malaysian masseurs, though, don’t have that drawback. The only drawback to pressure (so far) was the first lady and her little quirk about thinking doing a deep massage was going to break a rib. haha. I’m glad we went to this other place tonight, though, because this lady did really really well. I was impressed. And now I’m in pain. lol. She said my shoulders are super stiff and tight and she really went to town on trying to get them to loosen up. She asked if I spend a lot of time on the computer because office workers are the ones with tight shoulders. Yup, I do. I used to spend 10-12 hours a day in front of a computer at work back in Oklahoma, sometimes longer. Now, I only spend about 3-4 hours a day working on my computer. I’m usually researching gluten-free recipes or how to get somewhere or where I can find certain things or things for Troy and I to do on the weekends. Or blogging.

Anyways, the massage hopefully did something to loosen up those muscles. Holy crap, I didn’t realize a massage could hurt so much. I felt great after she massaged my shoulders and neck the first time, but she really dug in with her elbow on my calves. And with her fingers on my collarbone. And her forearm on the back of my neck. I was quite proud of myself, though, for sucking it up and just taking most of it. After the pulverized my right calf muscle, she said she was impressed because most people say Ow several times and tell her she’s going too hard, but I didn’t say a work. She said I’m quite different from most people because I am so strong. Then she did my left calf and I told her it hurt. lol. That one REALLY hurt. Then she massaged either side of my shin bone on both legs and that hurt, too. Oh my goodness. I can’t even begin to list all the places that hurt. lol. She even massaged the sides of my big toes and THAT REALLY HURT!!!!!!!! I was proud of myself for not saying anything, but I certainly did writhe in agony. lol. I had my hands twisted up in front of my face and kept telling myself over and over, “there is no pain, there is no pain, this doesn’t hurt.” lol. I felt like such a pansy.

Usually, I like to think I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I mean, with having scoliosis, I have developed arthritis in my neck and upper back as well as having my spine press on the muscles on one side of my body as well as over-stretch tendons, ligaments and muscles on the other side. And there are some pinched nerves and a rib that tweaks from time to time.

So, I like to think I’m a pretty tough cookie most of the time. This massage, though, made me feel like a freakin pansy. lol. Man, that was the most painful massage I’ve ever had in my life. But I think it also might be the most beneficial. Every place where it hurt really bad, she said she could feel the knots and tension and then she’d dig, dig, dig and try to work it out. I’m a little scared I’m going to feel like I’ve been hit by a truck tomorrow, but if I do, I’ll still consider this a really great massage.