Friday, July 03, 2009


It's been about 16 years since my last massage. I don't know why, just as I don't know why it took me so long to hit the gym and the riverwalk. But there it is. Time slips by, and you're left with a bad case of "WTF?"

Evidently, my body was quite unused to being used; shortly after my first two workouts, things started knotting up badly. If it wasn't my lower back and right hip complaining, it was my neck, right shoulder and right arm, suddenly taking major exception to my days spent mostly on the computer with mouse in hand. I persevered two more times at the gym, but couldn't get beyond one mile on the treadmill and feared an unexpected twinge that might cause me to fall or stumble and embarrass myself. Wednesday I skipped a night, and yesterday I asked my doctor to recommend a massage therapist. I got an appointment for mid-morning, which meant I got to sleep in a little.

It was nice having today off; the timing couldn't have been better. A 30-minute massage was within my means (this week). The process was uncomplicated, and I'm so glad I did it. When I got out of there, I felt floaty, but noticed that my driving reflexes were just as good as ever, if not better.

The therapist said it took at least half the session to work through the surface tension in my shoulders. She strongly recommended coming back for at least one 1-hour session, or weekly half-hour sessions. I can't do that just now, but will certainly not let another 16 years go by before the next one. I'm hoping to be able to get in at least one 30-minute session per month going forward.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law Yolanda has been volunteering as a test case in the healing touch method. She's just as much of a skeptic as I am, but has been fairly impressed with the results. Before she even told me about what she's been doing, I noticed a distinct difference in her speech over the phone. Typically, her speech is rambling, scattered and disorganized, and it's sometimes a chore to converse with her. She will repeat the same idea several times in a row, attempting to summon just the right words. There are long gaps between words and sentences, as though she goes away for awhile, making it necessary to wait. If you cut in, she "loses her place" and starts over. She's suffered at least one small stroke. But this afternoon, she sounded very present, with a cohesiveness I hadn't heard from her in awhile. I think the healing touch therapy is beneficial to her, and for one simple reason, having nothing to do with chakras, vibrations or any other kind of woo-woo. It's the fact that she is in a room with one person, getting their undivided attention and interest. She's had a few failed relationships; she's been alone for awhile and tends to get her relationship needs met by spending her time with couples. She often complains about being the third wheel. So it must be nice to experience caring touch and a listening ear. I have no doubt that alternative therapies work, for this reason. And as long as it doesn't cause the user to part with ridiculous amounts of money that enrich the "therapist," or to get drawn into a cult or isolated from their normal life, it can only help. It's a stressful world out there. Trying to tough it out alone doesn't generally accomplish much.

Note: Just in case anyone wonders about the title of this post, it is a direct quote from an enterprising gentleman who greeted my son and me at the entrance to a NYC subway back in the summer of 2000, when we lived there. Good price, too: "Ten dolla."

No comments: