Beauty and Style

Massages: the good, the bad and the ugly

January 21, 2015

Massages: the good, the bad and the ugly | Everyday30

I love massages – I would ask who doesn’t, but I know Rachel isn’t a fan (there’s always one…). However, whenever I’m asked what I’d like for my birthday, a massage is usually at the top of the list. It’s the ultimate indulgence – a way to schedule a whole hour of down time for myself, with the added bonus of spacey music, scented candles, and a professional working away at the knots in your back.

Apart from the physical benefits, and the mussed-up hair and pink glow you exit with (usually only achieved through a roll in the hay), there’s something about the dynamic of a good massage that I find irresistible.

First, there’s the giggle factor: you are naked and a stranger is lifting and contorting your limbs into alien arrangements, occasionally clasping your fingers or thrusting their greased palms towards your groin. Sometimes, your hand tightens unbidden around theirs. Awkward! At other times, you contemplate just how unsightly a particular body part might look at that moment. All the while, convention dictates that you should remain not only straight-faced, but preferably Zen-faced – and this requires a fair amount of concentration from someone who is ostensibly there to relax.

Then there’s the pleasure-pain continuum. I like a pressure that borders on masochistic – some of the best massages I’ve experienced have had me gasping and yelping while mentally egging on my torturer. There’s nothing worse than getting  15 minutes into a so-so treatment and realising you’re receiving the massage equivalent of a limp handshake. From then on in, all you can think about is how best to manage the situation – should you speak up or grit your teeth?  Inevitably, you leave the treatment room more stressed than you entered. Likewise, a talkative masseur breaches massage etiquette, which dictates that half the pleasure comes from the opportunity for peace and quiet – I now tell the therapist I’m likely to get so relaxed I’ll fall asleep, thereby excusing myself from conversational attempts.

I’ve had some cripplingly embarrassing massages – top of the list an ayurvedic cringe-fest that bordered on foreplay; I went back to Juan with that uneasy feeling you get when you dream you’ve cheated on your partner. I found myself lying on a gym mat in the pitch black, face upwards and naked save for some flimsy paper knickers, with a strapping Italian bounding around me on all fours and vigorously rubbing various limbs. At some point warm oil was squirted onto my belly without warning. There was – I think – something that felt and sounded like toe-kissing (in the darkness it was hard to be sure). It was hideous – and anything but relaxing.

However, the majority of massages that I’ve experienced have been amazing. There was the post-wedding full-body workover in a Thai temple that left me stinging but walking on air. There were pregnancy massages that soothed both me and the baby. There was a session by the sea that restored my posture after three weeks hunched up in a hospital bed. And there was a full-body pummelling that should have required a safe word but was all the more fabulous for its ferocity.

So next time you have £40 to spend, resist the urge to hit up the high street, blow it on a blow dry, or treat yourselt to dinner out – instead, book some you-time. A massage is the quickest and least invasive way to knock five years off you; the laziest, least sweaty manner to get the endorphins pumping; and a physically relaxing chance to chisel out some headspace for yourself. Basically, it’s the best-value beauty (and mood) booster money can buy.

What have been your best – and worst – massage experiences?

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  • Reply Rose January 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I don’t like them either!!

    • Reply Nicky January 23, 2015 at 11:01 am

      You two are crazy 🙂

    Reply HonestMum January 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve had a few bad ones too! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts, please link back and add my badge. Thanks

    • Reply Nicky January 26, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Sorry to hear that, but agree that a good one is worth suffering the occasional bad ‘un!

    Reply Laura Evelyn Bee January 24, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Oh no your bad massage sounds awful!!!!!
    But I agree, a good massage is just amazing and if I can get it in a spa (maybe a spa day) its heaven 🙂 x

    • Reply Nicky January 26, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Yes it was highly embarrassing, but I didn’t want to be the stereotypical uptight Englishwoman so tried to be all Continental about it – probably a mistake 😉 Thanks for your comment x

    Reply Hannah Mums' Days January 29, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    OK I love a good massage but the ones I like kind of have to be painful! I’ve been in a few massages where I’ve fallen asleep and woken myself up snoring. Not cool 😉

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

    • Reply Nicky February 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Ha ha, I’ve not done that… yet. I agree it has to hurt to feel good. Masochistic much? Thanks for your comment x

    Reply Kaitlin October 20, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I can say that as a massage therapist of 4 years, you never know what kind of client you are going to get either! And from my point of view, I can tell you that the client that falls asleep is my favorite! Yes, I do laugh at you all who snore. and then I get to laugh at how massage drunk you are when I’m done helping you to relax. Massage drunkenness is a real thing, ask any massage therapist, they’ll tell you! My least favorite client is the one who talks… and then there are the clients that think not listening to me is cool. Let me tell you, when I tell you to remove all clothing EXCEPT underwear and get under the sheets face-down, LISTEN to me. I don’t want you on top the sheets in the raw!

    • Reply Nicky October 20, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Love this comment! Thanks Kaitlin, so funny to hear it from a massage therapist’s perspective. I do often wonder what it must be like massaging people all day – it must be so tiring and you must have biceps of steel! Great feedback 🙂 x

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