Monday, September 17, 2007

Hello? Are You There??

How to Get a Massage - Part 3

[Part 1] [Part 2]

Be Present

If you aren't present during your massage, you can't properly communicate your needs to the therapist. This is very important, friends. Contrary to popular belief, there is no psychic class in massage school.

I always begin a massage by saying, "If you get too hot or too cold, let me know. If you need more or less pressure, feel free to tell me. If you have any questions, comments or stories, feel free to share. If you fall asleep, I'll wake you when we're done." This lets the client know that it's OK to communicate. They can talk or not, it's up to them.

It's very difficult to communicate if you're plastered.

If you are going to have a celebratory Margarita lunch. If you are going to indulge in illicit (and/or illegal) recreational drugs. If you are on heavy painkillers....

Schedule your massage for another time!

Here's why:

If you've been drinking, massage is going to make you drunker, quicker. The increased blood flow that occurs during massage sends the alcohol through your system faster. Some may think this is a good thing, they don't need to drink as much to feel high. I can guarantee no legitimate therapist will agree.

The same goes with drugs. Even painkillers. I know if people are in pain, they're going to think massage will be helpful in relieving that pain. They are right. However, if they've just taken painkillers before their massage, they are not going to be able to feel the pressure properly, they are going to ask for more pressure then they need and they are going to feel like crap later. Sore and miserable. Usually the therapist gets blamed for this.

Another part of being present is being relatively healthy. If your therapist came into the room sniffly and sneezing or with a hacking cough that makes you think they should call a Dr., you'd be horrified. Again, like the unclean, it happens. All. The. Time. Being trapped in a small room with someone who is obviously ill (and possibly still contagious) is never a good thing.

I've had a few clients that I had to deny service to because they were obviously drunk. I had one guy who was actually imbibing while he was on the table! This was during the Gem show in Tucson. It happens every February, this Gem show. It's a huge deal and it's also a huge party for those who attend. This guy came for his treatment and obviously didn't want to be there (his girlfriend had booked them). He comes down the hall with a big plastic cup of soda, sipping through the straw. Once he's in the room, he looks at the radio and asks if we can get the game on it. Fine with me! It was the NFL Pro Bowl game and I was kinda bummed I had to be at work and missing it.

I left the room so he could get on the table and when I came back in, the cup was gone. I thought he'd thrown it out. When I finished with his back and started on his legs, I saw him reach under the table and heard him drinking something. He'd put the cup under the table and was drinking with the straw through the face cradle! I asked, "What are we drinking?" He said, "Long Islands." (plural, I might point out) To myself, I thought, "Drinking during the massage, well that's a first." The guy wasn't being inappropriate in any other way, so I let it go.

My friend, Grace, had a client that same weekend who was so wasted...
We didn't realize until too late. She wasn't slurring or anything strange, just a little glassy eyed. But she'd just had a facial and that's relaxing, too. Chalked it up to that. About halfway through the massage, Grace knocks on my door (it was ajar, I had that hour unbooked). Seems her client has passed out so hard, we weren't sure she was even breathing! She was. But, we couldn't wake her and we had to call security and an ambulance. Scary! This client was somewhat of a regular there. She was a drug rep and it seems she'd been secretly sampling her wares for quite some time. We had to call the police, too.

We eventually got the woman to wake up. We had to help her get dressed and the cops had to take care of her. The ambulance cleared her (the EMT told us, "She's not hurt, just a junkie") and the cops were calling a cousin of hers that lived in Tucson. They were telling him if he came to get her, they wouldn't take her in. I could hear the man on the phone asking, begging really, for the cops to take her to a rehab center. The cops explained how that would be a family matter and they, as police officers, had no authority to make that decision for her. It would amount to unlawful imprisonment and kidnapping if the cops took her to a rehab center.

Sad, really. Scary, too. She said she needed to get something out of her car, so I helped her walk out there. Her big-ass SUV was parked sideways across four spaces. Driving wasted. Fantastic.

In short, you want to be here for your massage. I mean, you paid for it, right? Why not be present enough to enjoy it!

More next week, Ruth!


knitnzu said...

Abso-friggin-lutely! I've heard about that gem show, but more in terms of all the cool stones...hadn't heard it was a party scene!

Quail Hill Knits said...

You know, if they were drunk by the time they got to the massage, how drunk were they on the way there? I sincerely hope they didn't drive.

kmkat said...

Although I have no immediate nor future plans to have a massage, it is good to know that, should I do so, I shall, thanks to you, be fully informed as to the associated etiquette. Promptness is not my foremost quality, and I would sincerely hate to pi$$ off the masseuse before she even began. Happily, she would be in no danger of my being under the influence nor of rubbing dirt balls off my back.

You are performing a public service here, you know, although I suspect knitbloggers are, on the whole, a fairly polite bunch and don't need a lot of coaching on this subject. Maybe you should post these things on a NASCAR or football site somewhere...

Romi said...

Yikes. It always scares me the people who are walking around, or driving around, totally screwed up. :P