Thai massage

There’s a place in Saratoga Village called Shivaga and we see their sign for Thai massage every time we’re down there.  Every time Mark has seen it, he has longingly said he’d like to get a massage.  He used to get a massage once a month a long time ago, and he has back pain from the military that flares up every now and then, so he’s missed getting them on a regular basis.  We were down below running errands today, and on our way home, as we were passing Shivaga, I said, “Hey, pull over and park.”  He asked me why and I said, “I want to check about getting you an appointment.”

I thought I would go in and make an appointment for tomorrow or something.  I told the woman at the desk that I’d like to make an appointment for my husband, and she said, “We have time for 2.”  I said, “2:00 tomorrow?” and she said, “No, time now for both of you.”  I have been having a lot of trouble with my hips, and I looked at Mark and he said, “Come on.  You get one too.”  So I said OK.

Mark had written to his former masseuse and asked her if she knew anything about Thai massage, and all she had told him was that it was done on a mat on the floor instead of on a massage bed.  Neither of us knew what we were getting ourselves in for, but we are always willing to try new things.

We were taken to a back area where we were asked to remove our shoes and put on slippers that they provided for us.  Then we were put in adjoining curtained rooms on a raised floor.  It reminded me of eating at Bush Gardens, a Japanese restaurant in downtown Portland where each dinner party gets a separate room with a raised floor and lowered table closed off by a paper screen door.  The room had a straw mat on the floor and a futon covered with an ethnic sheet of rich colors.  There was a long strip of brown cloth hanging from a bar over the bed, and I found out later what that was for.  The woman who showed me to my room laid out a loose top and extremely loose shorts for me to put on (I had to hold them up).  Then she left me to get dressed.

Mark and I were able to talk through the curtains.  Two women came to our doors and asked if we were ready, and the one in Mark’s room asked if we’d like the curtain between us to be open.  We said sure.  The woman who was to work on me was able to speak some English, but she and the woman in Mark’s room spoke to each other in a language that I assume was Thai.  Mark and I had filled out papers showing where we wanted work to be done.  I had marked the hip area on my paper.  My masseuse was old enough to have a few gray hairs in her black hair, and laugh lines around her eyes.  She looked like a gentle soul.

She told me to lay face down on the mat and she started by taking my socks off and bathing my feet and lower legs with a warm wash cloth.  It was relaxing and I was thinking this was going to be nice!  Then she started working on me.

She poked and prodded and pushed and twisted me into shapes I’ve only seen contortionists get into.  If I thought I was in pain before, it was nothing to what I went through at the hands of this elderly woman!  Then she rolled me over for more torture.  She partially covered my eyes with a cloth and I saw her stand up and grab the brown cloth.  I thought she was using it to wipe her hands because she had been using eucalyptus oil on me, but instead she used it to steady herself while she stood on me to massage me with her feet.  She used her elbows, knees, fingers, thumbs and feet to find places I didn’t even know were sore till then.  Then she pulled me up into a sitting position, clasped my hands behind my head with my legs crossed, and pushed my face into the floor.

I could hear Mark going through the same groans next to me.  Then the women brought us a bowls with two wash cloths in them.  My masseuse motioned for me to put one on my face and it was hot!  She used the other to wash the eucalyptus oil off my entire body.  When she and the other woman left, Mark and I looked at each other and he asked, “How was it?”  I said, “I’m alive.  How was yours?”  He said, “I survived.”  We both laughed.  They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  We’re already thinking we might do it again sometime!

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