Friday, June 16, 2017

Scarred for Life

As I mentioned in this post, Monday night was monthly massage night for me. Although I had given some repeat business to East to West Massage over the last few months, I decided to try a new place based on a flyer I received from them in the mail. Their regular price for a massage is $29.99 - super cheap, no Groupon needed.

Everything started out as it normally does with massage. I was introduced to my therapist, Wendy, a tiny Asian woman who asked all the usual questions:
  • What kind of pressure do you like? (Medium to hard)
  • What are you looking to accomplish? (Relaxation)
  • Anything I should know about you? (I have a tender spot in my lower back that doesn't bother me unless someone presses on it. I first discovered it roughly ten years ago when my husband hugged me and it hurt). 
Usually, my massage therapist will take note and will discover the spot in question as they are working on me because I twitch pretty violently when they touch it. They'll then either ease up pressure or avoid it completely, which is fine by me. 

Except Wendy seemed really perplexed by this when she hit the magic spot. She had noticed one of two scars I have on my back, and asked for some background on it. I shared that in 2007, I had a mole there that had increased in size and I had it removed. The wound had been cauterized, but in 2011, the mole came back. It was removed again, and stitched appropriately. 

Wendy immediately said she wanted to break up the scar tissue.

I had no idea what this meant or what this had to do with my sore back because the scar isn't in the same spot as the tender area of my back. There was a bit of a language barrier, but from my understanding, she was suggesting that something in my body "remembered" this trauma and wasn't "ok" with it.

Star Wars Han Solo giving Luke Skywalker an incredulous look.
Whatever you say, lady.

As skeptical as I was, I let her know I was up for anything. So she proceeded to pull out an instrument that looked kind of like an electronic pen attached to some wires and explained she would be using alternating current to relieve the scar. "Like a TENS machine?" I asked? "Electromagnetic pulse?"

"Similar," she answered. "But alternating current is the same current the body uses." I didn't press her for further explanation, but I've had EMP treatment before and had good outcomes, so I acknowledged she could proceed with the treatment.

It wasn't until she turned the tool on (if anybody has any idea what I'm talking about and what this thing is called, please let me know in the comments) and it emitted a high pitch electronic noise that I started to get nervous, like I was going to be shocked awake like Frankenstein. I half expected my therapist to yell "It's alive!" when she applied the pen to my skin.

The feeling was very odd, though. It didn't hurt but I psyched myself out enough about it that I was absolutely uncomfortable and couldn't wait for it to be over. I was then annoyed that I was sacrificing about five to ten minutes of massage time for shock therapy.

Yet - after all was said and done - I actually felt better. Wendy tested out the spot on my back, and while not totally healed, it was definitely less twitchy.

So she continued with the massage, then commenting about how my hips were rotated. This has been another long-term pain point (literally) for me, one I used to see a chiropractor about. She attempted to correct it for me, but I was way too ticklish for it.

Of course, she had a solution for this as well. She asked permission to work on my ears, because - as she put it - "our ears are like the computers of our bodies. Fix them, fix everything else that's going wrong." Again...  I have no idea what that means. But I said "sure, why not?" because this could only just make a good massage story even better.

And then she pulled out that weird pen thing again and proceeded to light up five different spots on each of my ears. What was supposed to be a sixty-minute massage turned out to be about forty minutes of actual relaxation time and twenty minutes of torture.

I exaggerate. It really did NOT hurt, it was just very strange and very uncomfortable.

So here's the kicker...

I booked another appointment with Wendy next month.

Because as weird as being fried by a voltaic pen during a massage is, I have never felt better in the days following a massage as I have during this past week. Here's hoping she can effect permanent change in me.

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