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The Massage I Wanted To Die Of

massageAbout five minutes into my massage yesterday, I started wondering if I might actually die of pleasure. About 30 minutes into it, I started to worry that I wouldn’t. I’d have to get up off the table, straggle back into my clothes, and stumble back out into the bright, blinding light and noise of Real Life.

Getting rubbed and kneaded for the better part of an hour was pretty nice. If you’ve never had a professional massage, I highly recommend it. I also recommend being awesome, if you haven’t tried it yet. There is a manual for it. It is a blog called World’s Strongest Librarian.

But this is about a death massage.

After filling out an entire ream of paperwork, I was ushered into a fancy little room with a mural of a snow-capped mountain range on the west wall. The lighting was somewhere between birthday-cake candles and Cinemax film shoot. I got out of my clothes and lay down on the table, which was apparently designed for someone who lived in the 18th century when people were much smaller, probably due to all of the ducking they had to do in those days when the air was full of musket balls.

My masseuse came in and got to it, but not before pushing play on the stereo. A repetitive piano arpeggio began to ooze into my ears that was so serene I almost started slobbering. A while later when I turned onto my stomach, I did start slobbering. I watched the long, glistening filament of saliva stretching towards the floor through the round apparatus my face was stuck in, and I thought, I don’t care. And now it is time for me to leave this world. I focused, squinting, furrowing my brow, willing my spirit out of my body. No dice.

As she worked, she talked:

  • “And the toxins will…”
  • “And you should…water…weekly…”
  • “Knots…Triggers…”

And all I could think of was “Shhh…I’m trying to shake off this mortal coil.”  I was still alive. I began to panic. The mountain mural  was no longer serene. The peaks now looked jagged and menacing. I could feel the freezing snow.

Then she was done and the world came crashing back. I wanted to lash out at someone but I was too limp and lazy. I felt like I had to pour myself back into my clothes. Bones? What are bones? I’m a big tall pile of dough.

Why I went

“Good grief, you are stressed out,” said the Missus one night as I tossed and turned. “Go get a massage or sleep on the roof.”

Besides my devotion to her, and sleeping next to her, I also went because I sit in a chair all day, every day. I do my movement, I get my exercise, and I keep my body well-tuned whenever possible, but the truth is that I spend too much time sitting in chairs built for people who are 2/3 my size. I pick up tension that I carry in my neck, shoulders, back, and jaw. Sometimes I can release it on my own, sometimes I can’t.

And sometimes I’m just so freaking stressed out and rigid that I want someone to massage my troubles away.

It worked. I spent that night, and the better part of this morning, feeling like I had just downed a liter of cough syrup, but I wasn’t drowsy. I was just oiled up, the noise was all turned down, and life is good.

I had to interrupt this post twice to wipe drool off the keyboard.

Any massage fans out there?


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jeanie January 12, 2011, 1:42 pm

    This is exactly why I’m offering ninja massages at conferences for my friends. love massages, not licensed, but I’ve studied/experienced enough to make people pass out in bliss. 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne January 12, 2011, 1:52 pm

      do you perform ninja massages using a shuriken?

      • Jeanie January 12, 2011, 2:08 pm

        🙂 I could probably figure out a way, but…nah.

        I mean, eclectic, no specified time frame, wherever/whenever, just to Help people feel better type of ninja. I do use elbows/feet/hands.

  • Demond January 12, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Being a massage therapist by trade at the moment, I’m a big fan of massage. 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne January 12, 2011, 1:52 pm

      I can imagine. Does it wear you out? The lady who helped me was working pretty hard. I couldn’t imagine doing several sessions in a day, even with a Vulcan gripper:)

  • Boris January 12, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Huge huge fan of massage. Huge.

    I would go every week, but for whatever reason I do not.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 12, 2011, 2:54 pm

      I’m going to start going about every 10 days if I can make my schedule work.

      • Boris January 12, 2011, 3:09 pm

        That’s sounds perfect to me Josh – going more often than that might turn me to mush.

  • Daisy January 12, 2011, 3:16 pm

    I’m aiming for a massage soon. Stress in my life has increased exponentially, and a massage will help me relax a bit.

  • Lynn Taylor January 12, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Massage is the best therapy and keeps me off pain medication. I try to go every couple of weeks. It is sometimes very painful with the trigger points and other kneading that she does, but when I leave I feel so much better knowing that I should be more or less pain free (sciatica) for a few weeks. I LOVE IT! A good therapist is worth her/his weight in gold. If you can go oncew a month you will be amazed at the difference.

  • Blaine Moore January 12, 2011, 4:43 pm

    I’ve had 3 massages – the first two I enjoyed but could have skipped except I’d scheduled them ahead of time thinking I’d need one (one was after my first 50 miler, the next after a 50k I hadn’t trained for). The third massage I scheduled because I’d injured myself and wanted somebody to dig in and see if it was something I needed to bump up the chain of medical knowledge or not.

    They were all sports massages.

  • Allison Reynolds January 12, 2011, 8:25 pm

    I have a different massage story one that I wanted to die for a completely different reason. This is taken from the blog I kept as I backpacked around Vietnam in 2005. It was hot and I was writing in internet cafes so please excuse the first-draft writing.

    “The Vietnamese people have suffered terribly at the hands of westerners and the foot massage is how they return the favour..

    It started with an electronic footbath in clean water. When the machines were switched on though, what appeared to be pond scum floated to the top. The small girls then bought out a bucket of what appeared to be semi processed sewerage and tipped half into each bath. This placated Dawn as she could see that that explained where the pond scum came from. I, on the other hand started to freak out. I had hurt my foot on the way to the beauticians and though I had had a tetanus shot before coming over, there is more to be caught from raw sewerage than just lockjaw.

    We asked the ladies what was in the bucket and they bought out a small pack of secret Chinese herbs and spices that in Chinese said something about to be used for feet. Hurrah the scum was legit!

    Next it was into the back room for the massage proper. I like to think I can handle pain but agony in the name of relaxation is beyond me. Now I was prepared to give the girl the benefit of the doubt. My feet and calves were quite tender from walking around in the heat, that could explain the pain right? I peeked over at Dawn to see if she, too was suffering. She lay there serenely, maybe even smiling a little. I gritted my teeth and decided to endure in silence. The massage went on and on. The gritting went on and on.

    Finally it was over.My pain brought on a nice endorphin rush and as I stepped through the doors of that House of Pain and Beauty, I started laughing. To my surprise Dawn did too. What I had thought was almost a smile was actually a grimace. She told me she was reciting a mantra of “go to sleep body, go to sleeeep” to survive.”


  • Kim January 13, 2011, 8:12 am

    There are two massage therapists in my family – I’m a big fan. However I’ve only had two massages, which makes me a little sad. I will definitely have to resolve that!

    My workplace does offer 15 minute chair massages, which I greatly enjoy. I spend all day behind a computer (like most of us, I’m sure) with bad posture, and the tension builds up in my right shoulder and neck; sometimes to the point I can barely move. The woman I go to really knows how to work the kinks out without being too aggressive – I bruise VERY easily, but after telling her about it, she’s mindful and finds ways to work the knots out without hurting/bruising me.

    Thanks for the reminder – I think I might make it a belated birthday present to myself!

  • Todd@Phitzone January 14, 2011, 9:11 am

    Massages are the best. They would never kill you though–they want you to come back for more. It’s like the crack of the health & fitness world.