I am going to start this post off with a disclaimer: last week I got a massage. It wasn’t part of any physio treatment but something I was offered to try at Marshall Street Leisure Centre and Spa. It was completely indulgent, very, very lovely (more on that later) and not something I have ever paid for before. And it got me thinking, are massages a waste of money?
Before my treatment I would have undoubtedly answered that question with a resounding ‘yes’. Why? They are too expensive and also a waste of time. And because I want to be as honest as possible, a little part of me didn’t think I deserved a massage; spending that much money on myself? No way. What’s the point of paying someone to loosen my muscles for me when my foam roller could do exactly the same thing?
I went to my treatment at Marshall Street (just off Carnaby Street) quite excited. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My treatment was initially going to be a back, shoulder, and neck message however as I was on my period it was recommended that I change that to a leg message.
First thing I learnt that day – back, neck and shoulder messages put pressure on reproductive organs and increase circulation. As bleeding involuntary is something I do every month with bad grace despite trying very hard to be more positive about my cycle, I was very happy to not encourage my womb to shed it’s lining even quicker. And as a runner getting a leg message has to be the best indulgence ver doesn’t it?
My therapist was Vidya and she asked me to undress and place a towel over my legs to protect my modest, which I did. I lay face down in a dark, warm room and waited for her to come back. The table I was lying on was heated and warm. I could feel myself relaxing and drifting.
When Vidya came back into the room, she started working on my right leg, and then the left. She kneaded and messaged my feet, calves, and thighs. As expected my calves and thighs were tight. Unexpectedly my feet were in excellent condition for a runner (she was very surprised at how soft they were). She told me a little about reflexology and what my feet are saying about the rest of my body, and how one leg is tighter than the other.
It was incredibly relaxing and I did not want it to end. When it did, and it sadly did, I was calm, revitalised, and ready for the rest of the day. Can that feeling be a waste of money? Massages decrease acute and chronic pain, improve flexibility, decrease stress, improves circulation, and floods the body with a sense of happiness and joy. The last one might be anecdotal rather than scientific!
So do I still think it’s a waste of money? No. But I did get this one for free so would I pay for one? Yes, yes I would and I plan to. But think time I don’t want to be on my period and want a full body massage, maybe even a sport’s massage too. Truthfully, I think I would pay a lot more for that blissful calm I felt after and for the zen like feelingly legs were channeling.
And you know what, I do deserve a massage every now and again. If you also have that little voice in your head, then you deserve it too.
Image copyright Anna Rachel Photography