Fifteen years ago I worked for a nutritional supplement company in the Quality Assurance Department. The perks of this company included having an on-staff massage therapist. We were a nutritional supplement company focused on health and well-being, so… the owner wanted the employees to focus on health and wellbeing, too. I loved seeing the massage therapist; she knew many varieties of massage but the one I enjoyed most were Deep Tissue, Trigger Point Therapy and Craniosacral.
She would work out knots the size of my fist from my upper back and shoulders, each location she worked on would cause an explosion of colors to shoot off like fireworks in my mind as I breathed through the pain because after the first session, I knew if I rode it out, I’d feel great afterwards. She reminded me to do a variety of stretches to help keep my muscles loosened up and I followed them for a while, but of course, when you stop getting reminders and fall out of practice of something that hadn’t become habit, then you stop doing what you were doing. For me it was the stretches.
Flash forward ten years and I started to request gift certificates for massage work through an Integrative Medicine facility. I got two massages there over the years and even though I wrote exactly what I wanted them to work on (strip the pecs, grind out the knots), they didn’t focus their work on the problem areas and I left relaxed, yes, but the issues were still there. They didn’t listen to me or perhaps just ignored my request since it was going to be a lot of work to crush out those nasty muscle knots.
Those knots have brought me a lot of moments of pain through the years, so much so that I’ve foregone working out some days along with other events that I would have enjoyed if I could have moved freely and not been in tremendous pain. I knew I needed to get in to see someone for some Deep Tissue, Trigger Point and Craniosacral work, but life was happening and finances didn’t allow it.
That brings me to the present. My new job allows for extra funds for massage. I was off working on a photo shoot a couple months ago with another model, Matt, who was talking about his massage therapy business and that he was trying to get it off the ground. I inquired what kind of massage he did and he started to rattle off the varieties he had been schooled in followed by his favorites, three of which were Deep Tissue, Trigger Point and Craniosacral. I stopped and looked him in the eyes and said, “I need you to work on me.” After the shoot we exchanged business cards and I’m happy to say that yesterday I had a blissful 60 minutes of essentially feeling like I was getting pulled apart.
A couple weeks ago I had reached back to massage a sore spot in a trapezius muscle and the whole area felt like bubble wrap beneath my fingers with its myriad of little knots. Yesterday, as Matt ground his fingers and elbow along my left shoulder blade I counted at least four huge chicken egg-sized knots, the right had two. My sacrum was so tight (and probably has been since I came off the horse and landed on the road three years ago) and had affected such a large mass of muscles and connective tissue that he worked those areas until his fingers gave out and I was seeing stars. At one point, he stopped and asked if I was “okay” because he knew that what he was doing had to be painful and I wasn’t making a sound. I responded I was good, and yeah, it hurt, but I was good.
I had forgotten what it was like to have body work done, and how everything is so interconnected in our bodies; for instance, as he worked on my back where my lower right ribs attached to my spine, it caused my right lung to feel like the wind got knocked out of me. So, with that revelation, he moved his fingers under the front of my rib cage, pulling it out and then pushed his fingers between the lower ribs, spreading them apart and it was like my lung filled with air again.
I had my pectorals stripped. I had my sacrum ground on until I saw stars. I had knots crushed beneath fingers, thumbs and elbows.
After the session was done, Matt asked me how I felt. I told him I felt like I’d just come off the horse and landed on the asphalt road, because I actually know what that feels like. I thought about saying “like I got hit by a truck”, but I don’t know how that feels, so I went with the horse/falling/asphalt situation. He laughed, made a little joke about how “if I wanted to come back after that” he’d be happy to take me on as a client. I made my next appointment before I walked out the door.
Today, I knew I would be sore. I woke up a little “twingey” but surprisingly mobile for the beating I took yesterday. Of course, he made sure to tell me to do some stretching to keep my pectorals from squeezing up again and reminded me to keep doing rows because it would strengthen my back, and to keep practicing good posture to draw my shoulder blades together. It’ll be good to have the reminders again, not to mention that I’m ready to go back for another round.
Yes, Sir. May I please have another, Sir?
Does that make me a Masochist for wanting to go back and endure more pain?
If you’re in the Madison, Wisconsin area and looking for a massage therapist – go see Matt, tell him Sarah sent you!