Opinion: Warm up to massage therapy
As a rule, I hate spa massages. I know that sentiment separates me from about 99 percent of the world’s population, but I simply can never relax enough to enjoy a stranger’s man-hands rubbing on my nearly-naked body. Call me modest, call me insecure, and definitely call me cheap, because I also can’t get past the expense. A hundred bucks plus tip for 60 minutes of uncomfortable, awkward moments with scented oil and new-age music? I could have my Lab and 10-year-old run a relay on back for free in less time and probably to the same effect.
Having said all that, however, I seem to perpetually have sore muscles. Time spent hunched at the computer, teaching a 15-year-old how to drive, and training for a stupid triathlon has my whole body constantly under stress. So I thought I’d give this new place, Feet Retreat, a try. As their name suggests, they specialize in a one-hour foot massage for just $25, which frankly sounded too good to be true. My husband Doo, who’d gladly defer a kid’s college tuition to employ a personal masseuse (preferably a Brit named Carson who could also serve tea; we love Downton Abby!) decided to tag along. We were skeptical, but at that price, why not?
We walked in without an appointment and were immediately ushered through a beaded curtain into a low-lit, whisper-inducing room with five cushioning-looking “beds.” After lying down, fully clothed, my masseuse placed my feet in water just hot-enough to make me cringe for one whole second before succumbing to total relaxation. That and the Kenny G tunes had me totally rethinking this whole spa thing. And then, to my surprise and delight, my gal began a full-body massage, over my clothes, starting with my face and neck, then moving down to my arms and shoulders, and finishing with my legs and back. The main event was of course my feet, which was heavenly, and I only had to suppress the giggles three times, once when she was working on my toes, and twice when I heard Doo getting smacked around. (I think they use reflexology and/or acupressure, but parts of it feels and sounds a little like a beat-down. In a good way, of course!)
I never felt awkward, I never felt self-conscious, and I didn’t break the bank, even with a nice tip. How’s that for The Greatest Find of the Year? Yes, Feet Retreat is located in a strip mall between a nail salon and a Subway, and no, we weren’t treated to cucumber water in crystal stemware, but we both received wonderful, professional massages at an unbelievable price. And I got to keep my clothes on!