Written March 2013.
I just peed in a bathroom overlooking the ocean. It was everything I ever hoped it could be.
And then I got a uterine massage.
This is where you say–>
And I reply, “Give me a second Arnold, and I’ll tell you.”
I am in Thailand, on a remote island called Koh Jum, off the coast of Krabi. I am engaging in all things beach.
I have also spent a great deal of time swinging in a hammock, reading “Devil In The White City,” by Erik Larson, and sighing big, relaxed sighs full of ocean-y smells.
I love it. :)
I could never do this at home, as I am currently “mom” to a toddler. But I digress. Back to how my uterus got some extra special attention. The resort we are staying at offers Thai massage sessions for 400 baht, approximately $12. Who could resist? Not me. I loooooove massages. Especially at that price.
I have enjoyed many a massage over my lifetime: some awesome, some awesomely painful, but most very much enjoyed. However, I have a problem. I can never bring myself to tell the masseuse when I am unhappy with what they are doing. This usually isn’t that much of a problem. Most massages are lovely.
But then there are those where I am nearly wincing with the pressure they are applying. And I just let them abuse me. It always ruins the massage for me, but I can’t help it. I’ve always been a people pleaser and can’t seem to change it. So I have accepted all manner of craziness, from a Russian masseuse who pushed my hips around as though I were a hula dancer to the Chinese madman in the mall who beat my calves like they were dead horses. I have even tolerated getting mounted and pummeled by women in Malaysia, all in the name of getting a little relaxation to wipe away the stress that comes with life.
So here I go again. Here is my masseuse. He speaks no English but has a very cute single-tooth smile. :)
I follow him up to the second floor of a big hut next to the bar, totally open on all sides. There is a camping tent there (does he sleep here?), and also a mat with a pillow. He motions to take off my skirt and top. I confirm through gestures that I should do this, then I take off my clothes. I am suddenly feeling very uncomfortable, but I remind myself this is how it works at home too. Then he motions for me to remove my bra. I quickly do that too. Same as home, but I am totally out in the open, albeit 20 feet up from where anyone can see. I lay flat on my stomach and he places my arms on either side of my head, elbows bent at right angles. Which eventually makes them fall asleep. He rubs strongly scented eucalyptus-mint oil on my back and begins.
He pokes my upper back and says “Gud, gud, gud.” (My sunburn? my tattoo?) I am non-committal, “Yeah, heh, heh, heh.” Then he pokes my lower back and says “mahn-gone.” Definitely pointing out my tattoos. Now I know how to say dragon in Thai. His calloused hands work their way over my back and I am happy. :) He is gentle, but works at my knots too. A total relaxation massage–exactly what I wanted. But I am always a bit stressed about what is to come when in a new country getting a massage.
While he works, I listen to the ocean, the waves crashing. I think about the tides, in and out, in and out. I think about this massage, this exchange of services for money, give and take, give and take. I think about the world, helping others, giving back. I am at peace.
Then he instructs me to roll over. He rubs my arm, my hand. Does the finger pulling thing I hate (three times!), then strums the bones on the back of my hand and wrist. (It feels weird, like finger pulling. Not a fan.) Then he rubs my upper chest by my neck, and then moves on to my abdomen. I think, hmmm, not many sore muscles there, but what-evs, yo.
He probes my intestines, rubs my uterus, kneads my gall bladder. Great, fine, on to my feet, yes? No! More intestinal prodding. Has he found an issue? Does he know I’m gassy? Do I have cancer? Is he curing me right now? Is his finger in my belly button?!?
Yes, yes it is. He presses into my belly button and I crack a smile. I open my eyes to see if he noticed, and he is looking at me smiling, finger still pressing my belly button. I am now in danger of laughing hysterically at the situation, but I take a deep breath instead. Can’t wipe the smile off my face though. He finishes the belly button and resumes uterine maneuvers. He eventually moves on to my legs and puts my calf in his lap to squeeze my heel, pull my toes, and stretch my feet.
He repeats everything on the other side, and I think I am done.
He pulls me up to sit and starts on my neck and shoulders. Good. :)
Then he sits in front of me and massages my eyeballs, temples, and forehead. Okay. :/
Then he plugs my ears. Hard. (OMG what is going onnnnn… Oh wait, this is nice…silence.)
And that’s it. :)
He tosses me my clothes, and stands there while I awkwardly try to get dressed as quickly as I can, hoping no one is coming down the path nearby at that moment to be able to see me awkwardly try to get dressed as quickly as I can.
Overall, it was a great massage. A little too gentle, but frankly that was a relief after the beating I sustained in Malaysia. Not sure my belly will need another working over for awhile, but who knows? Maybe he worked some kind of fabulous Thai magic on my internal organs and I’ll be healthier than ever!