Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Deep tissue massage

I kept my appointment with Diane on Sunday; in fact, I was lucky that her 6 pm appointment cancelled which allowed me to go in earlier. Diane is so nice and generous! My 90-minute session turned out to be closer to 2.5 hours and she only charged me $85 (after a $10 discount!).

The session started after I had a shower – she highly recommends the Olay shower crème for its moisturizing properties, even noting that I probably won’t need a body lotion after that. Until that point, I never realized that my skin was so dry. Oh sure, I know about my arms but to hear her tell me I need to cut back on abrasive shower gels and load up on moisturizers was a different ball game altogether. I’m so glad that my Bangkok trip is coming up – I could stock up on Boots.

Back to my massage. Could I say it was a horrendously painful session? Diane began prepping me up for the session by applying pressure throughout my body; at this stage, no oils were used at this stage and she was using her palms, pressing on the towel on me. Diane started with my left calf and moving up to my quads, hamstrings and gluteus before shifting to the same muscles on my right side. The pressure was strong and firm and I was beginning to relax. There were a few sensitive spots i.e. where I could feel the pressure being more intense, not pain. One of these was the tendons on my inner thighs. Diane commented that I’m one of few lucky ones since only those who used these muscles would be able to feel the pressure in these spots. Lucky????? OMG! But I don’t feel lucky at all!

Next up was the back and shoulders. This was the most excruciating “sub section” of the session. I had always knew that my upper back and shoulders were tight but nothing prepared me for the 45-60 minute long agony Diane put me through as she wound her way to releasing the knots and muscles. She knew it was painful as she could see my back tensing up more than a number of times. As gently as she could to tell me to relax and let go of the tension and try hard as I may, it was still a very tall order. At one point, I could even feel the onset of tears especially at one sore point on my left shoulder. And to think I had to endure the same treatment on my right hand side!

The 2 hours passed rather quickly since we spent a fair bit of time chatting; Diane probably did it to distract me from the pain – not that it was working particularly well since my back and shoulders were too uptight. She mentioned about her 2 pm client who had earlier completed his first full marathon. A Navy guy who struggled to get up the stairs to the treatment room and again down the stairs after his session was over. She even did wonder if he got lost since he took a long time completing the task! It is not unusual for marathoners to not feel their legs or even have trouble getting up or sitting down for a few days after the event; after all, it is 42km!

My calves cramped up a bit after the session and Diane showed me some stretches to alleviate this. She also warned me that I may not be able to resume training at high or my usual level for a few days because deep tissue massages releases the tensions and knots deep-rooted in muscles, a bit like an awakening for these muscles.

True to the point, my entire body, particularly the back and shoulders were aching mad on Monday and Tuesday (I am still counting the days!). It felt like a truck ran over my body! In as painful as it maybe, I know that there is no other way out. This is probably one of those rare situations where the “no pain, no gain” mantra holds true. Deep tissue massages are supposed to aid in the recovery process and so far, it has been working, at least for my legs. I had earlier anticipated another round of shin splits like those from the Great Eastern Women’s 10K but at this point, the only soreness (apart from the awful back and shoulder muscles) are some niggles on my quads. I will probably book a session with Diane every time I am in town.

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