Saturday, October 18, 2014

Massage and monkey brain

I got a massage last night, after nursing a migraine for two days. Ibuprofen hadn't helped much, so I thought that getting a massage would help me sleep better and better sleep would fix the migraine.

Lying there on the massage table, as the lady kneaded the knots on my shoulders, I remembered how much I hated my first massage, done by a blind person with firm but gentle hands.

If I wasn't stiff, I was ticklish -- which made me stiff! All my muscles were tense, so the massage hurt like hell. The masseuse kept asking me if everything was okay, and I lied and said yes because I didn't want to hurt her feelings.

The massage after that wasn't any better. I still couldn't relax, perhaps because I was expected to, and when it became painful, I wondered if there was something wrong with me that I couldn't appreciate what many people loved.

Was there something wrong with my body? Were my muscles incapable of relaxing? Did I have a super low tolerance for pain?

A few more massages later, one that involved hot volcanic stones on my back and another that had me bathing in milk, I learned to tell the masseuse how much pressure I wanted. I learned to tell her when to press harder and when to stop. Most importantly, I learned to shut my brain up.

Last night was all about stopping and shutting up.