Sunday, August 18, 2013

Knead to relax

We moms don’t get enough time off our feet. We’ve been chasing after our kids since the day they were born, and boy, are our feet tired. So for my birthday earlier this month, I knew exactly what I wanted to do — get a foot massage.
I’d seen signs at a local spa advertising “foot reflexology.” My only other foot massage experience until then had been a quickie rubdown while getting a $20 pedicure, so the thought of someone noodling on my feet for a whole hour sounded like just what this mom’s feet needed.
Just walking into the spa was relaxing. The lights were turned down. That anonymous New Age “spa” music floated through the air. The sound of a waterfall trickled in the background. There may have been some kind of aromatherapy thing going on as well.
OK, so I was at a strip mall, not Sedona. The waterfall was a Costco-type plug-in model, and the music was canned. I didn’t care. Someone was going to spend the next hour exclusively devoted to my feet, no questions asked.
Unlike the guy at the walk-in nail salon who quizzes me about my job while he does my toes, my foot massager remained completely silent. Fine by me. I didn’t want him to get distracted. My feet were not there to make friends.
I lay back in a cushy recliner, but to my surprise, the foot massage started at my head. My scalp was rubbed. Strong fingers pushed down hard on my temples, as if to inspire deep thoughts. Or squash them. My neck and shoulders were squeezed and pulled. My arms and hands got a thorough massage as well, which anyone who spends 40 hours a week typing will really appreciate.
Flipping me over like a pancake, Massage Man grabbed and twisted the muscles on my back and shoulders like he was kneading bread dough. He cracked my back. In one move I call the “mugger,” he grabbed my shoulders and arms like he was about to shake the sense out of me, but then quickly let go. Grab and release. Grab, release. I didn’t know whether to laugh or brace for impact.
The foot part of the massage included plenty of rubbing and prodding. Massage Man played a reflexology version of “This Little Piggy.” He gave the soles of my feet a knuckle sandwich. He slapped the bottoms and the tops of my feet as if to say to them: “Bad feet. Baaaaad feet.”
All of this poking and prodding was starting to give me the giggles. I realized I was paying good money to be completely manhandled by a stranger in a dark room. I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain this to Mr. Huffman.
After my appointment was finished, I floated to the front desk to pay.
Feel good? asked the receptionist.
Mmmmhhhhh, was all I could say.
You’ll be back, she said confidently.
Yes, I thought. My feet will be back.

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