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No Pain, No Gain
I am nervous as I’m ushered into eforea spa at Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Center for my first ever professional massage – a Thai Yoga massage. Lindsay, who you might be familiar with from this blog, has warned me that it might hurt.
Thai Yoga massage is a system of massage and manipulation developed in Thailand and influenced by traditional medicine and yoga. The massage typically takes place on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. The recipient is positioned in a variety of yoga-like poses while the massage therapist stretches the body and applies rhythmic pressure.
Despite my fears, I find myself relaxing and settling into the foam mattress as soft, soothing music plays in the background. Ten minutes in, though, I feel a knee go into my back. Before I know it my leg is being bent back and I feel my upper body being pulled up to form a letter C. It is about a second or two into that stretch that I start repeating a mantra to myself.
Show no pain. Show no pain. Show no pain.
I feel like I am two or three levels away from a James Bond torture sequence. I didn’t know my body could bend that way nor did I think it should. But now I know it needs to. After the initial bursts of pain, the “hold” is released I felt really good. It hurts, but only because I’m about as inflexible as they come (my therapist actually tells me this after the massage is done). My homework is to do more leg stretches.
Although some of the stretching hurts, it is never a bad pain and I feel amazing afterwards. I can’t remember the last time my body felt so loose and relaxed. Unfortunately, after a week of going to the gym, plus the stresses of work and life, I am tense and stiff again. I think I could really use another Thai yoga massage.