A Trip to the Jeunesse Spa
Since my last entry on this blog, I am relieved to say that I have had some relief in my back. I am also sad to say that the relief has been somewhat minimal. Maybe 20%, at best.
What a drag.
The thing is (and I would love to think that my close friends will back me up on this - I think my husband may be the best person to vouch for me) I'm pretty laid back and optimistic about these things. This is a body, after all, and they can be mercurial. I mean, who knows why people have allergies? Who knows who people get arthritis? Who knows why some people age so, while others just stay youthful? It's genetics, frame of mind, spirituality, what you eat, how you use your body - it's a lot of things. I remember when I was really fat and my back hurt ALL THE DAMN TIME. I was trying to lose the weight; and, for as long as I can remember, I have been a runner. When I was a little boy there was always running and playing outside; when I got into my teens, I ran or biked in the hilly neighbourhoods of my homes (first) in Portugal and (later) in Switzerland. I always loved running. It has gotten harder, as I have aged, because of my knees and some other joints - so I do it less, now; but it is actually essential to my soul to, now and then, strap on my running shoes and do a sunrise run in Central Park. It is one of my most personal treats to myself. Anyway - back when I was in my mid-thirties and had gotten so fat and my back was hurting all the time, Pat and I went to Cape May for a vacation with AJ and Rob. Every day, I would run down to the beach and run to the lighthouse and back. Every day, my family noticed that I was in pain; the only thing that made the pain go away was whiskey - the problem is that it made everything else go away, too, which is why I stopped drinking, altogether. One day, AJ asked my why I insisted on getting up and running every day, when I was in so much pain and my reply was " if I don't, the pain wins. "
I have to be optimistic. I have to say "I have four working limbs - other people do not" and keep going, working with what I've got. It is who I am and what I do. I won't lie. Sometimes, I have to just stay in bed, or prop up on the sofa. Sometimes, I go someplace private and cry a little. Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time), I soak in hot baths with epsom salt. Then I make another appointment to see another doctor or specialist or healer or ... somebody, anybody, who can help me get better.
These last two weeks of not being able to work out because I can't even bend over and touch my toes... it's like being lost.
I'll get back there.
I've seen Dr. Lee several times and he is growing more aggressive with his acupuncture, determined to make me better. I have an appointment to see Dr Piken next week - I trust that this will be the appointment that does the trick. In the meantime, thanks to Groupon, I have had the opportunity to visit some spas and try out some new massage therapists. The first of these spas was
The ambiance of the spa is really quite lovely. It's pretty and elegant, simple, relaxing. If you look at the website, you can see all the services they offer. The Groupon I bought was for either a 60 minute massage or a 60 minute facial. Groupon is very good about featuring a reminder that you should tip on the fee you WOULD have paid for the service, were you paying full price. So I asked what the full price for my 60 minute massage would have been. $95.00 Not bad. I have paid $45 at RUB A DUB (plus tip) and gotten great 60 minute massages. (You guys know Rub a Dub, right? The little walk in massage parlours run by Asian (usually) ladies? (Sometimes there are male massage therapists, too). I have paid $120 for 60 minute massages. The price always varies and, often, the difference in the massage isn't that great.
When I try out a new massage therapist, I like to talk to them; find out what they do, what their style is, what their philosophy/outlook is. I also like to let them know that I do this a lot, that I have particular needs and that I like to have those needs met. I don't like easy massage. I don't like (is Swedish? or Shiatsu?) massage where it's "relaxing" and "soothing". I have used my body really hard and I need (more to the point, though, is that I WANT) the kinks worked out. I don't think it is asking to much to get what you want when you pay someone for a service.
My massage with Sylvia was perfect fine. More than adequate, less than perfect. She was friendly and accommodating. She listend, to a point, to what I had to say; but English is not her first language and she either didn't listen or didn't understand. I asked her not to touch my legs; she touched my legs. I asked her to do no front torso work; she did front torso work. They make you fill out forms when you arrive and, on that form, they ask you to name specifics. I made it clear: hard, deep tissue - head, neck, shoulder, back, lower back, hands, feet. No legs (I hate having my legs touched - Dr Piken, Mike Babel, Jason Zimmerman will all back me up - I am extremely skittish about it). I rarely need any kind of massage done on my chest or arms. But my feet and hands hold a lot of tension, as do my head, back and ESPECIALLY my neck, shoulders and lower back. I don't think it is wrong of me to want what I ask for. Sylvia's massage was good. A solid B. She actually used some techniques on my neck that I hadn't felt before and they were effective. Once she got into the back area, I fell asleep. Now, here's my thing about falling asleep on a massage table -- it's very nice. It is soothing and relaxing and peaceful and restful. However, if I can fall asleep during a massage, then it isn't deep tissue - and what I ASKED for was deep tissue. Instead, I got some nice technique no my neck and a nap.
After I awoke, Sylvia gave me a wine glass filled with water and told me there was a sauna in the men's locker room and a lounge where I could relax. I opted for the sauna... which I couldn't make work. It certainly wasn't hot enough as it was; and when I tried to make it hotter, the controls were harder to figure out than a control panel on the Starship Enterprise. After a few minutes of struggling with the sauna, I decided to give up and take a shower. There was a big shower with an enormous shower head that was suspended right over your body. I don't get to shower like that often - most of the showers I have used have the shower head coming out of the wall. When I was in this shower, I felt like Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford as Mommie Dearest. I was very excited. I turned the tap. It was broken. No water. No water.
My relaxation level was replaced by disappointment. I was bummed out. A sauna would have been nice. A shower would have been nice. Instead, I put my clothes back onto a body that was covered in lotion and toxins and went out into the world.
My experience at the Jeunesse Spa was not terrible; but it was not optimum. I give them a C+ for pretty ambiance and new neck techniques.
My next entry will be about the spa Enliven Body Works, which I left (happily) black and blue.