My wife and I took a trip last weekend. We had been planning a getaway for practically since Luke was born and finally got our chance. My wonderful wife booked the nicest room in a new hotel for us with a hot tub, king-sized bed, right next to the pool, etc. She also, after asking me my opinion, scheduled a couple’s massage for us at a nice spa just a mile up the road from our hotel.
Before I go any further, I need to make it known that I have never had a professional massage before. I am the sort of person who doesn’t particularly care to be touched by someone I don’t know. So, I felt a little weird about going in for something like this, even though my wife would be receiving the same treatment in the same room. Another item of note is the fact that I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, so I don’t feel things the way most people do and I have to be careful about how I do things since I will hurt myself and not realize it.
So, Friday morning we wake up refreshed, hit the free breakfast bar, and head out for our massages. We arrive, fill out forms explaining any ailments, medications, or recent surgeries (I noted my vasectomy on the sheet) and then waited a couple of minutes while the therapists prepared to work on us. We were almost immediately greeted by our therapists and taken back to a small, dimly-lit room with two massage tables. They looked comfy and soft. My therapist was a slightly overweight woman named Amber. Rachel was to have her muscles smooshed around by a bearded fellow by the name of Jim. They both smiled warmly and reassured us of their desire to make us feel comfortable. Then they told us to take off our clothes and left the room.
Rachel and I disrobed quickly and slid into the smooth warmth of the massage tables, face down. We both commented on how nice it was to use the face cradles and lie flat. It was very nice. Then, the therapists entered the room. New Age music was immediately audible at their entrance. It partly annoyed me at first, then relaxed me once I decided this was not the time to be anal about music.
Amber began. She squirted an odorless oily substance into her hands and began work on my back. The first touch was fine, but my initial reaction was to laugh because it tickled so much. Rachel had signed us up for a deep tissue massage instead of the more, circulation/relaxation driven Swedish massage. But, I wasn’t feeling the deep-tissue feeling I expected. However, being it was my first massage, I waited and let her continue.
Unfortunately, I found myself under a type of tickle torture I had never before experienced. Every touch was like a feather being dragged along my sensitive spine. At first, I tried to hold in the laughter. My body tensed and skook. Amber stopped, “Are you alright, Josh?” “Oh, sure. Fine. Feels great! I just feel like I want to make sounds.” “Oh, um, ok.” For the entire back portion of the massage, I held back my laughter: something I am not used to doing, ever.
Finally, she moved to my legs. My right leg was bared. She oiled her hands. The moment she made the first rub, I cackled, jerked, rolled. I couldn’t control myself. Laughter cascaded from me as urine from an ACPO member. Amber and Jim initially seemed confused, but Rachel’s laughter seemed to give them confidence that I was just like that. Finally, I told Amber that she needed to press harder and that she had been tickling me mercilessly the whole time. She apologized to the inadvertent torture and proceeded to press harder. She pressed as hard as she could for the rest of the massage. And I laughed as hard and long as I have laughed in a long time.
Afterward, we went to the front of the parlor to pay for the relaxation. The receptionist was smiling and asking what exactly we were doing back there. Everyone in the lobby had heard my laughter from the back of the place. I doubt I will get another massage for a long time. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was worth the money. I expected the therapeutic effects to last at least a week, but alas they lasted only the rest of that day. Not good enough for what we paid. But, the effects of the laughter on my spirit and the relaxation and buoyancy I felt may have been.