Heavy Metal Massage

>> Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Deep Tissue Massage: therapeutic spa treatment or the physical rearrangement of meanness? You decide.

I’ve had 6 massages in as many years and Sunday I had my first deep tissue massage. As I understand it, a deep tissue massage works deep inside the muscles to release toxins that form as knots. My “toxic knots” prefer the neighborhood of my upper back and shoulders and I looked forward to evicting the bastards once and for all.

I expected the experience to be painful, and indeed it was. Toxic knots don’t leave willingly... or quietly. It would all be worth it, I told myself, when I emerged relaxed, peaceful, and in love with the world. So I breathed through the pain and kept my moans to a minimum.

Afterwards, I was fatigued and grumpy. Tired I expected, but grumpy? Actually, grumpy is not quite accurate -- more like evil and ready for a fight. What happened? Is this normal? I knew I was in trouble when I found myself yelling at people before leaving the spa parking lot. My toxins were released, all right, and now everyone would pay. Which makes me wonder: is it possible that a deep tissue massage can make you evil?

Apparently I’ve been so tense because I kept the evil at bay for all these years, safely locked up within my shoulder blades. Now the evil toxins are running wild and snapping at everyone. You know it’s bad when you overhear your husband whisper to the children, “Mommy needs her space. Be extra nice to her and listen carefully.” Then they all look at you and wonder why you're yelling at the toaster.

On the plus side, my shoulders are quite relaxed. Actually, they’re so exhausted I can hardly raise them. But for some reason I can’t fathom, my abdomen is now incredibly tense. Because I am Ms. Silver Lining, I suppose I should be happy for the practically nonstop toning-affect that constant tension has on my tummy. But how could this be? Why my abdomen? Do evil tension toxins simply relocate to a different neighborhood?

If so, this makes my massage therapist more like an exorcist on a toxin raid.

“OK, everyone -- line up against the wall! It’s a raid!” she said, digging her elbows into my shoulder blade.

Toxins threw down their poker cards and headed for the exits.

“Not so fast!” she said and crushed them with her knuckles until they popped under the pressure like bloated ticks.


How’s the pressure?

Oh, it’s f... fine. Sorry. (Oh mommy, I think I’m going to cry.)

She nabbed most of them with a jab here and a thumb-press there and whisked them off to toxin jail where they were beaten into submission and now can only shuffle mindlessly in a circle and drool. But alas, quicker, tougher toxins escaped through the back door and headed South.

“Let’s go to her stomach, boys. I hear that flabby wasteland is completely unguarded. Let’s party!” So they headed out, shootin’ their guns, yelling at the children, and causing my abdomen to spasm.

I went to bed early last night. I’ll probably go to bed early tonight, too. Perhaps if I drink enough water, I’ll “flush the toxins away”. I’ve heard this before and it somehow makes me think of my body as a giant toilet. But whatever. I suppose it is.

Or perhaps I just need to take a slow walk and listen to my iPod.
The best part of my day so far was listening to Seek and Destroy by Metallica on our way to work this morning. I turned it way up, rolled down the windows, sang out loud, and made eye contact with people on the street. “Seek aaaaand... seek and desTROY!” Oh yea!

I felt a little better.

Who knew that an unexpected side affect of therapeutic massage was a renewed love affair with heavy metal music? (Like I said, I’m Ms. Silver Lining.) Or perhaps metal music is the sound that soothes the savage toxic beasties. Regardless, I want this toxic tension problem to go away. I’ll sleep it off, drink it off, heavy-metal-music it off -- whatever. I just want to be nice again. Oh please, let me be nice again.

Well, I gotta run. I’m off to Tap Class...

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