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Finding Balance Through Ancient Chinese Wisdom

Yesterday afternoon, I put on my workout clothes and mentally prepared to take myself to the gym.  I’m currently in an exercise recession.  Just waiting for the market to rebound, any day now…

As I was tying my shoes, an overwhelming urge came over me to visit my local massage parlor.  If there’s one thing I love more than sweating on the treadmill to CNN, it’s paying someone to touch me.  If I could get a massage once a week, I would.  If I could take a month long vacation at a massage school and act as the guinea pig, I would.  If I could figure out how to talk my husband into becoming a massage therapist, trust me, I would.

Until that day comes, I will happily settle for the lovely Chinese ladies a block away who provide deep muscular relief at rock bottom prices.  For fifty smackers, I can get a no frills, one hour, full body massage.  This ain’t your spa’s Swedish relaxation rub down.  This is full-on assault.  Stress and tension are no match for the ancient Chinese wisdom being unleashed through the nimble fingers of the therapist.  Employing her elbows, knees and whatever else is handy, the therapist takes your tired, worn out body and cracks, tugs and rubs it back to life.  Even your butt gets the attention is so desperately deserves.  The best part of Chinese Gongfu Tiu-Na is that after your tenth massage, your eleventh is free!  Now, that’s some marketing I can get behind.

Just after the massage...

You would think that being married would mean lots and lots of free, albeit unskilled, massages.  No sir.  Not in my household.  I’m not bitter about it.  I had my chance before I walked down the aisle to slink around the Massage Institute, coyly smiling at potential suitors.

“Hey, what are you doing after class?  Want to meet up…with your table?”

That ship has sailed, so I must do what any enterprising wife in my situation must do, outsource to the lowest bidder.

Massage therapy, for me, is the ultimate in selfish satiation.  I can disappear for an hour, phone turned off, and listen to peacefully synthesized music and drool to my heart’s content.  It’s like a big F*** You to the grindy, grind of work, routine and general life drudgery.  The one downside, and it’s a big one, is the cost involved.  The reality is, I can’t get a massage every week or every month for that matter.  I need to open up my horizons a bit and explore other options for in-your-face, hardcore, relaxation.  What do you do to keep yourself balanced and stress lite? Maybe we can generate a to-do list of activities to try out when we’re feeling overwhelmed.

Your comments

  1. Kristy says:

    Ooh, I’ll jump on this one. Bikram Yoga. 90 minutes torture chamber (Bikram’s own description) but the feeling after class is awesome and completely worth it.

  2. Jessica says:

    Man, you’d think this pregnant lady could talk her husband into a massage or two since I AM GROWING HIS BABY. But as my husband has said, massages are for the first pregnancy, not the second. Cold. Bring on the Chinese cut rate massage.

    • cathleen says:

      Next time you’re in NYC I will treat you. It’s like getting a massage in an HR Office that has been repurposed for comfort. What are you doing to relax? You don’t have much time for relaxation but you’ve got to do something, right?

  3. Kerrin says:

    Scrapbooking. It is almost impossible to be unhappy or stressed out while looking at photos. We never take pictures of the crappy side of life. An hour playing with pictures of my adorable (yes I am biased) daughter and I remember what is really important.

    • cathleen says:

      Do you create different themes for each scrapbook?

      • Kerrin says:

        I have a Christmas one, a Halloween one and a birthday one. After that I just scrapbook what I want. I don’t scrapbook for the subject or recipient, but for the joy I get from the creative process. Recording our family’s history and creating heirlooms is an added bonus.

  4. Kristina says:

    Yoga. If you do it right, it has many of the same benefits of a massage. Especially if your instructor is savvy enough to give you a decently long final relaxation at the end. When I am bringing my students out of final relaxation, and ask them to gently wiggle their toes and fingers to bring their awareness back into their bodies, and they don’t because they are so happy and feel so good that they don’t want to move, I know I have done my job. Oddly, this makes me so happy I almost feel as good as they do :)

    • admin says:

      Yoga stresses me out. I feel like I’m not doing it right and that everyone is judging how bad I am and then I get lightheaded. Isn’t that terrible?

      • Kristina says:

        That stinks. I know how you feel. In some yoga classes I too feel judged. I think whenever you get a group of women together, sadly, this can happen. Since yoga classes have mostly women in them it can be a hotbed of competition. If you do pick up on judgment, those doing the judging are seriously missing the point. There’s no place for this is yoga and there’s no perfect posture.

        If you’re breathing, focusing and moving with intention, you’re doing yoga perfectly and everyone else can shove it. If you brave it again, keep your attention on your mat and forget about everyone else. Feel confident in knowing that you know, that those judging need to be there far more than you do – despite how well that can do down dog. I mean seriously – who cares how well you can do down dog?

        • Kristina says:

          PS – lightheadedness just means low blood pressure. Just take a moment to stop and bend over getting the blood back to your head. Its normal. You’re healthy!

        • cathleen says:

          I’m also to blame. It’s that feeling of wanting to be really good at something right away. I’m sure people are minding their own business but I can’t stop fixating on how much more relaxed and peaceful all the other ladies are around me. I guess I feel like an ogre amongst gazelles.

  5. Kristina says:

    BTW – I love your after massage face. I can totally relate! Isn’t that how we should always look?

  6. tosin says:

    I don’t think I relax. I think I stay curled up in violent knots until the next massage.

    And NOT from hubby. Please pass the “My husband gives massages so bad you’d just as soon not have one at all” award! :)

  7. Jeff says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I hope you have a chance to visit China someday. You can experience all the “ancient Chinese wisdom” you can handle without any of the downside you mentioned – the cost!


    • cathleen says:

      Hi Jeff! I hope I get to visit China soon. My parents met in Taiwan so I have always had a lifelong affinity for the food, cuisine and language.