Once or twice per month I get a Thai massage.
Tonight my husband and I walked in to our usual place for our appointment. Standing there were two massage therapists. “Hm, I hope I get that one,” I thought. “That one” indicated the one that looked more gentle.
I believe you usually get what you need, not what you want, so of course after I undressed and laid face down on the table, when the therapist walked in, it was the other one (the one I was slightly afraid of).
Her body type was like mine – boney, and she had a look that communicated, “I don’t give a F.” I knew she would kick my ass and stab me with those boney-ass elbows! She proceeded to stand on the table holding the two bars hanging form the ceiling. She stepped on my back to the point where I wondered if my shoulder was going to dislocate. Should I say something? Nah. Just breathe.
There was nothing gentle about the entire hour. My favorite part was when she was done. Normally they do that clappy-prayer-thumping thing on your back, put their hand gently on your shoulders, and then whisper in your ear, “All done. Thank youuuuu,” while quietly making their exit so you can get dressed. This lady gave zero fucks. She punched me on my back, said, “Finished,” jumped off the table, and walked out the curtains like a gangster.
*I have to note that despite what I’m describing above, she is a 100% certified trained Thai masseuse and knows what she is doing. The “roughness” is simply her style.
As I type this my body is sore and I am happy. You know why?
1. Getting hard massages teaches me to not resist. Yoga has helped me tremendously with this as well. It hurts but it’ll be 10x worse if I tense up or stop breathing. Breathe through the discomfort… it’s not bad if you breathe.
2. It teaches me to not be in control all the damn time. This is why I never request a specific therapist. What will I get tonight? Let’s roll the dice.
3. Pain is good for you. The kind of pain that comes from undoing knots is good for you. No one grows from being comfortable all the time. Go outside where you normally would. It’s a confidence booster. I pushed past what I thought was my limit? My calf muscle is still there? Oh goodie.
4. It teaches me to be adaptable. The more often you’re in a controlled comfortable environment, the less flexible you are training yourself to be. Then if something is not how you usually like it, you’ll likely get more irritable and/or freak out because you’re uncomfortable. Flexibility + adaptability = good life skills. Roll with the punches, and in this case I literally did (she kept punching my butt).
5. It’s good for the nervous system. Anytime you freak out, scream, jump, resist – it is a voluntary response. If someone tickles you and you start moving uncontrollably, that is actually voluntary and you can train yourself not to do that. You may get to a point where something still feels ticklish, but your response isn’t explosive. Training the mind is much harder than training yourself to be physically strong, and that’s what I like about it.