i have decided to start a new feature on this blog: adventure of the week. those of you who get my newsletter will be hearing tomorrow morning about how i am discovering that working at home and lack of inspiration can often go hand in hand. in order to combat my own working from home blues, and to take advantage of an unexpected day off from my day job, i set out on adventure my friend ruth from book soup recommended: thai massage at pho-siam. i shall tell all below...
thai massage is not like your usual massage. i knew this going in, but not much more. pho-siam was the ideal combination of high-end looking, yet inexpensive for my little endeavor:$40 for a sixty minute massage. one thing to know before going is that they only take cash, but do have a cash machine in the building. the other benefit, besides the massage itself is that they take walk-ins and are open until 10:30 pm most days.
after entering the salon and paying, i only waited about 2 minutes before my adventure began. the massage space is beautiful- pictured above. a long line of massage spaces all lined up on either side of a walkway allow for many massages to take place at once. however, in the middle of the day, i think i was the only one in there until nearly the end of my hour. shoes are a no-no in the massage space, and once in, the masseuse lead me down to my space, and instructed me to undress except for panties and to put on a pair of thai bloomer like cotton pants.
the massage begins face down on a mat on the floor. this was a bit of an adjustment for someone who has pretty much always been on a table with a face cradle, except for one or two shiatsu massages. the trick is to turn your neck back and forth with some regularity so as not to cramp up. and CRUCIAL: the first question you will be asked is if you want the massage to be light, medium, or hard. ruth told me that it was essential that i say very light, but of course i was foolish and said light to medium. i like a lot of pressure in massages, at least the more swedish or acupressure type massages i am used to. let me tell you straight- these ladies know how to put on the pressure. and since part of the massage involves them walking on your back, when in doubt- go light. to give you a reference point: while i only once actually had to ask her to let up on the pressure, when i got home and took a shower this afternoon, there was what looked like a small hickey on my hip bone. so seriously, aim lighter.
with that said, i did get quite a bit of relaxation bang for the buck. the massage begins with towels draped over your back, legs, and arms, with the masseuse standing on your feet one at a time and letting the pressure relax them. since my feet have had some strange cramping problems this week, this was just the ticket. the next phase involved massage on multiple points of contact as she kneeled on my lower back/upper butt and worked on my back and arms with both hands and elbows. it was amazing what new points of tightness she found- i was shocked at how tight my upper arms were. this was followed by her walking on my back with the help of straps from the ceiling that alleviated the weight, although she was so tiny that it was not a burden having her there. and the cracks and pops as my spine settled were lovely.
the rest of the massage was an alternation between oil on my skin and further kneading with the towel. and, for those of you who don't like leaving all oily from a massage, you'll be relieved to know that the grand finale is several hot steamy towels you can clean your face and arms and hands with, while she gives you a little back and shoulder wipe-down. they do massage the face, which feels wonderful, but always makes me worry about breaking out within five minutes of leaving the place. this certainly quelled my fear there.
so- one adventure on the books. many thanks to ruth and to the day for not being what i expected. i hope to hear stories of all of your new adventures very soon! i am off to baltimore for my step-sister's wedding this weekend, so don't be surprised if my next adventure is a new tasty treat from greg's bagels.