The Gift of Massage
Recently my brother-in-law gave me an affirmation. I saw him minutes after I had just received an awesome massage and he said, “You deserved that.” I accepted it as a compliment but then I thought: what does one have to do to “deserve” a massage? Why was I more deserving of a massage than the next guy?
Years ago I went to a complementary medicine practitioner for several sessions. She was a former masseuse and she shared with me that in her new profession, her main focus was guiding people to a point in their lives that they wouldn’t “need” a massage. Huh? She pointed out that by the time most people get a massage, they are so tense and are in need of manipulation that the first half hour is spent just decompressing. The other half hour, in my case, is spent sleeping. Although many people leave their massage sessions feeling better, it’s not long before we pile on the very same things that causes the stress which led us to getting the massage in the first place. Of course no one wants to have stress in their lives. No one purposely harms themselves in order to “deserve” a massage. We don’t set out each day to get so tense only to pay someone weeks later to take the tension away. Although I really love the practitioner’s advice to live a slower life, free of stress, I am not there yet so I “need” massages.
Most massage therapists will tell you that getting a massage is not a luxury treatment, it is a necessity. Ideally, everyone should get massages often because massages promote healthy circulation and moves the muscle tissue in our bodies in hopes to prevent build up of tension from stress. Unfortunately, affordability and time are big culprits in preventing many of us from getting massages regularly.
While on vacation this year, I gave my sister-in-law the gift of massage for her early birthday experience. For the second year in a row, we went to a beautiful spa. We had a chance to relax and spend time together (no kids!) experiencing wonderful smells, food, wine and services. I really cherish these memories together.
Continuing on with the massage theme, since we were celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary while on vacation, I gave the hub the gift of massage. Even though he had a massage earlier on our vacation, I knew another one would do him good. Of all people, the hub should have regular massages because not only does he work out every day but he works hard for many long hours every day. I know that once he is back to his regular work schedule, there is no chance that he will get another massage until next year. But I thought maybe if I gave him this thoughtful pinch, he may see/feel the benefits and try to squeeze in more massages before then.
Feeling thoughtful while still on vacation, I thought why not make it a trifecta? I gave my other brother-in-law a gift certificate for a massage. We had to give him his birthday thoughtful pinch early so he could redeem the gift card while he was still in Costa Rica. It is only redeemable from a therapist who performs her massages right on Flamingo Beach at The Palms. I hope my brother-in-law continues to get massages regularly now that he started off his new year with a birthday massage. He is on such a roll of taking care of his health that massages could help him stay the course.
Look, I know I sound like an elitist - claiming massages make wonderful thoughtful pinches. Massages cost a lot more than just the usual Dollar Tree gifts that I usually write about. What I am promoting is that massages are not just luxurious gifts, they are gifts of health. You don’t have to give Burke Williams or other high end massage gift certificates. You can pay for the “by the minute” massages at the mall which is usually $1 per minute. You can also give massages yourself - rub a loved one’s back, neck, feet. Sure, you may not be a pro but you are a thoughtful person and this physical touch could be exactly what your loved ones need. You got this! I have also given out Spa Finder gift cards so that in the US, the cards can hopefully be redeemed at a spa of the recipient’s choice.
I take my kids to get massages. Nothing fancy, just at the kiosks at the malls where everyone can see them. Their little faces are in the hole looking down at the ground while shoppers walk on by. By taking them to get massages, I hope to teach my kids early on that they can use massage to manage stress. It’s safer than any drug or drink. Not to mention, it supports body awareness.
My primary love language is physical touch. I realized that besides the kids’ occasional voluntary hugs, touch is not really something I receive daily. There was a light bulb moment when I realized that I am re-charged after massages. Fortunately for me, I am able to indulge in two massages while I’m on a 16-17 day vacation as well as regular monthly massages. Spoiled much? Do I deserve these massages? I wouldn’t say I deserve anything. I would say that I need these massages in order to charge my batteries. I am the best version of myself when I am able to physically feel good. It makes sense for me to invest in physical touch.
I wish it was mandatory in school or at the workplace for massage time. Wouldn’t it be awesome if once a week, it was completely acceptable to get a massage without any judgements or need of affirmation? Imagine if everyone gave out massage gift cards as thoughtful pinches to each other. Maybe one day it will be as common as giving a Starbucks gift card to anyone who “deserves” it.