This past Saturday, I decided to treat myself to a massage at a spa I've been to before.
A few years ago, my sister bought me a gift certificate for a massage at this place.
I wasn't really accustomed to massages, but I remember when I walked out of there after that massage, it felt like I had a whole new body. I felt rejuvenated.
So I proceeded to treat myself to massages whenever I could afford them, which admittedly was very sporadic.
This is the robe and locker key I got upon checking in for my appointment.
My massage therapist was named Vera. This wizened old woman with a deceptively limp/passive handshake.
She proceeded to give me arguably the most painful massage of my goddamn life...
Here's a wall ornament in my personal torture chamber.
I can take a certain amount of pain but she really pushed it. This was NOT some relaxing massage. It was excruciating. Far worse than any tattoo I've gotten. Maybe I've been reading too much true crime but I thought about how vulnerable I was on that table and imagined how easy it would be for her to kill me. My luck, I'd made an appointment with the person the media would dub "The Murder Masseuse". My family would show up at the trial for this woman holding a picture of me, weeping for justice.
About 15 minutes into the hour-long massage, Vera asked if I wanted to try "cupping". She warned it would be very painful but it would help. I agreed to it because I'd never tried it and I had to try it once
This ended up being the single worst torture device I've ever felt.
I didn't see them. I just felt them. Little cups that she would pump to create a vacuum that would suck up the flesh on my back. Then she would RUB THE CUP AROUND, which felt like she was skinning me alive (or the closest I'd ever want to come to finding out what that felt like).
She cautioned several times that there would be bruises on my back for several days afterwards.
This is a picture I took of my back (from above), two days later:
Unlike the other times I'd visited the spa, I did NOT leave feeling rejuvenated. I left feeling like I'd gotten my ass kicked. I've done some reading up on it and apparently this is a thing with some deep tissue massages: they release "toxins" and you can end up feeling a little sick for a few days afterwards until you feel a lot better. I've also read that massages like this can actually create toxins and there's such a thing as being too hard on the muscle tissue.
I'll give it a few more days to see how I feel but I'm probably going to steer clear of booking another session with "Vera".