You know how yesterday was a day of “lasts” for me? Well…let me tell you about my day of “first” today.
I had been requesting a massage since my third or fourth day here due to knotted shoulder muscles left over from my initial travel days. As the days went on I relaxed as did those muscles and I just forgot about a massage. This past Thursday I realized that I would be here alone today and asked Stephen to book one for me. What follows is a relatively accurate account of my “first” Auyervedic Massage.
Stephen took me to Shanti (Peace) Hospital, where we waited just a very short time to see the Doctor. He took my blood pressure, pronounced it “perfect” and then “listened” to my pulse in the way that Indian doctors do. He asked my age and must have deemed me healthy enough to embark on this pain relieving massage experience because off I went.
Upon opening the door to the massage area I saw nothing familiar to me. No comfortable, warm, massage table covered in white linens. No bolster to cradle my knees while I’m lying on my back. No white sheet to cover me! Yikes! There was also no soft music playing in the background to calm me.
She put me on a small stool and stood behind me while she put oil on my head to start the massage. After the head came the neck and shoulders. Then I was asked to lie on my back on the table. (The table being wide, long, and wood, with nothing covering it.) The table had a hump where my neck went over and a small round indentation for my head. She started at my right foot, digging (and I mean digging) into the arch with her fingers. She massaged toes, with a little flick at the end of each one. Then she continued up my right leg, slathering on the oil as she went. She massaged and then beat, massage…beat, massage…beat. Up my body, down my body. Then it was time to turn over on my stomach. I had so much oil on me I thought I would go sliding right off the table! Good thing there were sides to hold on to. Again with the digging in the feet, up my body, down my body. Massage…beat, massage…beat. Lastly my face, thankfully just massage. I had been massaged and/or beaten over 99 percent of my body and it had felt wonderful and surprisingly relaxing!
Motioning me off the table she moved the small stool into a large box that she wanted me to get into facing forward. She then proceeded to close me in with just my head sticking out of the top. It was a steam cabinet! Fifteen minutes later, feeling like I’d been boiled in oil, out I came and she ushered me into the shower where she proceeded to “clean” me with a mud scrub and hot water. Then came the soap and shampoo, a nice rinse and the only thing she let me do myself, the towel dry.
I will admit to being a very adventurous person and want to experience all that a country has to offer. I would definitely recommend this massage to anyone thinking about having one in Chennai. The massage lived up to its “pain relieving” name. I went in with a headache and came out without one. It was a wonderful experience and one I won’t soon forget.