Monday, 28 September 2009

Why a massage is never really that relaxing

I've been feeling rubbish recently. Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. Tooth ache, back ache, arm ache, foot ache, stomach ache. You name it. If there's an ache to be had, then I've had it. I'm not sure if it's the fact that Summer is almost over and my body is, therefore, grieving, or the fact that my husband is off on a work trip for 30 days in just three days time (more on that over the next month I'm sure). But whatever it is, I seem to have been sent into a downward spiral and I could really do with a pick-me up.

A couple of days ago, in the midst of my general moaning and wailing, I remembered that I actually had, in my possession, a voucher for an hour's full-body massage, bought for me by my lovely husband, four whole months ago as a birthday present.

Now I'm not quite sure why I hadn't yet got round to relinquishing the voucher, apart from the fact that...


Can you tell my toothache hasn't quite subsided? (I actually have an emergency appointment booked in one hour's time, so please bear with me).

But desperate times and all that....

So off I limped whilst husband stayed at home to look after the mini terrorists.

The thing is, however much a massage is needed, or coveted, it's never really that relaxing is it?

I mean, as soon as you've settled down on the couch, hoping beyond hope that the therapist, poor love, won't adjust the blanket that you've carefully positioned to hide the over-stretched, definitely-seen-better-days g-string that you were determined to remember not to wear, but forgot anyway and the 'I've-had-two-children' wobbly bits, so inexpertly held-together by said g-string, do you then remember that you've also forgotten to shave your legs, or any other part of your body for that matter and each time she runs her hands up and down your legs, you flinch because not only are you worried for her safety (the bristles are fairly sharp), but it isn't all that comfortable for you either.

Of course, I'm not saying that this was what happened (ahem)...just that that's what normally happens in a massage. Isn't it?

And then after you've got over the embarrassment of wobbly bits and needle-like leg hairs, the temperature of the room, which you assured the therapist, only a moment ago was 'just right', suddenly becomes a bit too cold and all you can think about is that freezing draft of air that's making your feet feel as though they might just drop off.

But then when the therapist asks if everything's 'alright?', you still say 'yes', because, well, something else becomes even more distracting, like the fact that she's pumelling the one spot you didn't want her to touch and she's doing it with such aplomb that you swear she knows you're in pain and she's secretly paying you back for the leg hairs and you want to tell her to stop, but you're embarrassed because you told her you liked it 'firm', when at this precise moment, you'd like it anything but firm.

But then she moves from the now extremely tender point you didn't want her to touch and it's actually beginning to feel ok, possibly even rather relaxing. And the sound of the waves and the flickering of the candles and the smell of the lavender aren't even remotely annoying and you have a feeling that you might even drift off to sleep...


Oh no. Surely not. Please no. But you can feel it coming. Your heartrate quickens in panic. And your butt cheeks become so desperately tense in an attempt to stop the one thing that you were dreading.

A fart.

Yes, I said it. A fart. And it's coming. And you know if it does you might as well put your clothes straight back on and walk out because the embarrassment will be too much for your poor shame-faced self to handle. But she seems to be pumelling in just the wrong place and you so desperately try to hold it in, but all your attempts are futile. Of course it serves you right for having had that take away curry the night before, but you didn't think about the consequences as you were tucking into your chicken masala and onion bhaji.

Times freezes...

But there isn't any noise.


Maybe it didn't happen after all.

But then you realise, with horror, that it did.

And you realise that if you know it did, then she knows it did too.

But she's continuing to massage and some tiny part of your brain thinks that maybe you should say something. It's not so much a case of there being an elephant in the room, more like there's an elephant in the room and he's just left a huge pile of dung in the corner.

Like I said, this wasn't my massage. Heaven forbid...

And any attempts to rescue your dignity are further scuppered when you're asked to turn over and you fear that one look at your poor, 'I-once-breast-fed-my-children-for-quite-a-long-time' boobs will put the therapist off having children for life.

And then the hour is finished. And part of you wishes that it could have gone on just a wee while longer, but part of you is ready to dash home just as quickly as your poor bristly legs can carry you.

And that's all I'm saying on the subject of massages.

I think I will just have to look for a pick-me up elsewhere. In the meantime, I'm just off to the dentist.


  1. Oh my goodness, that's hysterical!

    I'm so sorry for the unfortunate person this happened to who wasn't you or anyone you know. Obviously.

    Must admit, I never really thought about the "Mummy body" thing until once mid-way through a massage the therapist said: "Ooh, did you have Mr X for your c-section? He's very neat, I can always tell."


  2. lol! That I why I never go for beauty/ relaxing treatments unless absolutely essential. Send hubby on a massage course, far, far better. For you at least he he he

  3. Oh - I'm not sure I can stop laughing! Your (ahem!) 'friend' has experiences that resonate so loudly with (ahem) my 'friend'.

    Perhaps next time a glass of wine should do the unwinding, destressing, relaxation technique?

  4. When I'm finished laughing, I am going to go in and tear my voucher to bits. I can't have that happening to me-- I get humiliated enough just staying home.
    OMGosh this was funny.

  5. God - it's about on par with visiting the osteopath, but at least I didn't fart!

  6. This is quite possibly the best thing I have ever read. And you know, I'm totally on your wave length. I was RIGHT THERE WITH YOU... because as soon as you said "you can feel it coming..." I just KNEW that the next word out of your mouth (or smell out of your bum) was going to be fart and then you said it and I nearly fell of my chair.

    I love you. That is all x

  7. My goodness, were you in the room the last time I had a massage? Except, now I think about it, my legs weren't so much bristly as long and furry. Helped with the draught though.

    Thank you for making my lunchtime such an entertaining one. As usual.

  8. One day soon, your kids will read this and say 'Muuuum, you are SO embarrassing.' And for the fraction of a second you will ask yourself if you should have written this. But then you will look at all those happy faces and the laughters you created throughout your posts, and you'll think 'yes, but it was woth it.'

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  9. Heh heh. Anyone out there a therapist and willing to give the scoop from the other side of the massage bed? It happened to a 'friend' of angels&urchins blog in a yoga class, which undid any hope of karmic bliss in less than a second. Cleared the room in even less than that!! Thanks for this, has made Monday far more bearable.

  10. Haha! When I stop laughing I'll write something!!..OK, I'm better now..Oh dear..hehe..It's such a shame we can't be more relaxed about our hard earned 'mummy' bodies to enjoy these type of pleasures isn't it? Not you of course, ahem, your friend. The only thing for it is for our Other Halves to take a Massage course, I'm sure they would be far too sensitive to mention a fart...erm...NOT..xx

  11. Very, very funny! I last had a massage on holiday in March and for some reason the masseuse kept telling me how she was never going to have children - my wobbly bits and stretch marks probably persuaded her.

  12. That was so hilariously accurately painful - I'm off to retweet you. (Now I know why all these tweets were coming in.)

  13. Hahaha. Hilarious. And you know, I don't find full body massages relaxing at all! I too am always worried about my wobbly bits rather than relaxing. Tell your "friend" to go for an Indian head massage next time - much more dignified!

  14. Oh dear ... I have finally booked a massage I got a voucher for back in January - given I'm pregnant I know I'm going to fall asleep, miss it all and drool EVERYWHERE (but hopefully not fart ... !)

  15. lol! this was so funny, i also have a horror story about a massage that caused me a lot of bother after it had finished it will go with me to the grave! xx

  16. Excellent! I can relate from both sides of the massage table! I'm always painfully aware of the bristles, spots, wobbly bits, feeling cold, then the inevitable drooling and snoring that comes with me dropping off. On the flip side, as a therapist, I am very unaware of someone's problem areas - hairy legs aren't an issue at all and if I had a quid for every time someone says "I'm so sorry I haven't shaved/waxed my legs" I'd be very rich! I do have a client who farts every time she has her legs and butt massaged - not pleasant but goes with the territory I suppose. Better than the one time that I suddenly realised I was going to vomit mid-massage I suppose!!!

  17. Bloody hell, thank God it wasn't you eh?!

    Next time, ask for perfume...;-)

  18. lol. Just as well it wasn't you because if you are anything like your daughters you might have poo'ed! ;)
    I had a massage once, I'm still traumatised by it. I just felt weird especially when she pulled my knickers down a little bit to massage the top of my bum....I had to stop myself smacking her, I didn't fart though.
    Hope the toothache goes soon.

  19. It's a shame your 'friend' didn't think to take her children with her, or a dog, to blame the smell on.
    These treatments sound wonderful in theory, but in reality they're really rather stressful!
    Brilliant post :-)

  20. I know with a body like mine, I could never go for a massage, unless I was given a large amount of money that I could comfortably live on for the rest of my life. The embarrassment would kill me, because I am pudgy and saggy all over the place and I fart when I'm nervous and I'm sure I would be then.

  21. Don't fart with the Dentist, or at least wait until he's drilling,


  22. Oh god.... that one really hit home with me. So many times I think Ooh that would be so relaxing and on the few occasions I've had one, I think I've gone through every one of your "massage moments"! I remember having an exfoliating one on our honeymoon... being scraped with salt is not that relaxing I can tell you! If you don't coming out looking like you just had chips fried on your head, try a scalp massage. That is the one thing that I do actually relax and enjoy... and it doesn't make you fart! x

  23. OMG you never cease to amaze me with your wonderful stories! You made my day, really :))

  24. This post? Hilarious! As a guy who has enjoyed one or two deep tissue massages I can definitely relate to what you're talking about. Seems like I spend most of the drive to the spa not being able to wait for my massage and most of the drive home being glad its over.

  25. That is so funny it just made me forget I have the flu and so does my 2 year old and 4 month old. Thank you!

  26. Who's the Mummy - Yes, yes, of course - it was very unfortunate for the person it happened to. Poor them. Phew. Glad it wasn't me. Very strange that the therapist could tell who had done your c-section - and lucky you for having 'Mr Neat'!!

    Zoo - Now that is a good idea - although hubby has the attention span of a flea and even if he'd been on a course he'd get bored after 5 minutes! Best send my 'friend' back to the professionals!

    Catharine - Oh phew - I'm so glad to hear that it's not just my 'friend' who's had such unfortunate experiences. My friend always liek a bit of empathy. Yes, wine a good idea for next time - will suggest to friend!

    imbeingheldhostage - Oh no - don't tear it to bits. You must go and face the humiliation that my 'friend' had to...sorry, I mean you must go and relax and have a wonderful time. Unfortunate incidents can't happen to everyone, can they?

    Laura - yep - I remember that post of yours well!! Am always worried something like that might happen at the osteopath too - especialy since I used to go a lot whilst pregnant...and we all know what pregnancy can do to tummys! Good job for both of us that it never happened (ahem)!!

  27. Josie - I just love your comments too. And yep, it's always something that slightly concerns me - although, of course it's never happened...ahem. Shame it's not exactly relaxing. Next time I won't eat the day before. Sorry, I mean next time I'll tell my 'friend' not to eat the day before!

    Victoria - hee hee - yes it was me - that pesky fly on the wall last time you had a massage!! And yep, am always apologising for the state of my hairy legs when I do something like that (even when I go in for a wax, which it has to be said is rather a long time ago)!!

    Met mum - I know, honey, I know. They're really gonna hate me. But they'll also know how much I love them, so I'm hoping they'll forgive me!! Fingers crossed hey. And kiddies, if you're reading this (a few years from now), I do so love you very much. And farting's normal really isn't it???

    Thanks for the comment sweetie - am glad you enjoyed it x

    angelsandurchins - Oh yay - so many 'friends' seem to have had the same thing happen. I'm so pleased for my 'friend' that people can empathise. Therapists viewpoint given further down in comments - see Mrs Brig's reply...

    Insomniac - I know - the poor love. I really felt for her when she told me ;-)

  28. Brighton Mum - I know - it sounds like a good idea in theory (also suggested by Zoo above), but my husband has the attention span of a gnat amd even though it's a possibility he might learn about what to do, I just know he'd get bored and give up after 5 minutes. Like I said to Zoo, I might have to suggest to my 'friend' that she sticks with the professionals (and refrains from eating a curry the night before any future sessions)!

    whistlejacket - Wow - that was tactful of her!! But yes, I always seem to put therapists off having children - I can't imagine why though!!

    Mwa - Bless you darling. Thanks for being such a love. Glad it made you laugh ;-) xx

    Lady Mama - Thanks for the suggestion. yes, will definitely pass that on to my, er, 'friend'. Sounds lovely. Yep, may give up on body massages altogether...far too stressful.

    Muddling - Ooh enjoy - although if you do, erm, fart (!) at least you'll have an excuse. Pregnancy does all sorts of things to women's tummies. x

  29. Amy - Oh no - you can't say that and then not tell me what happened! I shall be imagining all sorts of things. Of course, if you told me then I wouldn't need to imagine!

    Mrs Brig - Ooh great to get it from the other side of the couch, so to speak. Yes, I know therapists must see all sorts of things - not quite sure it makes it any easy to bear though. But vomit mid-passage??? OMG - what on earth happened??? Better that than fainting I suppose. Or is it? Do tell...

    Reasons - I know - lucky hey?! I felt so sorry for my poor friend ;-)) I'll tell her to ask for perfume next time I think!

    magnumlady - You're so right - such a good job it wasn't the kiddies hey? We could have been in all sorts of bother. And yes, you do feel a bit violated having a massage - not sure it's my favourite thing to do! Thanks for mentioning the tooth - have an absess and am taking antibiotics now. It's slowly starting to get better...

    Sandy - Oh what a good idea. Yes, reminds me of a joke I once used to tell where this guy goes for a smart lunch with his parents in law. He farts, they shout 'Spot' (which is the name of the dog lying under the table). He thinks he's got away with it, and that they think it's the dog who's farting, so he farts again. They shout 'Spot' even louder. He starts to relax, thinking just one more might relieve his terrible farts one last time. And then they shout 'Spot, get out from under the table before he shits on you'. Used to make me laugh that joke!

  30. Green Stone Woman - Ooh yes - being paid to have a massage - that would help the embarrassment I'm sure! Just lying there sqirming as they squelch your flesh is not much fun. I'm with you...

    GG - Thanks for the advice honey - it's ok - dentist passed by with no little incidents fortunately, although I did have an absess and am now taking antibiotics! :-(

    That Girl - Yep, Lady Mama above suggested a scalp/head massage too. Will try one - although, yes, shouldn't think I'll be able to go anywhere afterwards for fear of chip fat hair. Worth a try though x

    PHM - Oh Peggy - I do so love you. Thank you. I'm so glad I made your day ;-)) x

    Matt - It funny cos during the massage my 'friend', ahem, was thinking it must be even worse for guys...because, well, you know, as well as worrying about all the things that I (sorry, I mean my friend) worried about, guys have even more erm...worries about things not happening, if you know what I mean! I can't say I'd find it even remotely relaxing...

    Irish Mammy - Oh darling you're so welcome. I'm sorry you're all ill. How hideous for you. But glad that my post cheered you up at least for a moment! Get better soon my dear xx

  31. First time I have I must follow. Hilarious. Hope you are feeling better...

  32. You're so funny! I think you've just spoiled massages for me forever.

  33. between the massage and the dentist? after that, i'll take the dentist!

  34. Muddy - Hi there - and thanks for stopping by. Yep, kind of on the up thanks. Got antibiotics for the tooth in the end!

    Iota - Oh darling I'm so sorry. Surely they wouldn't be like that for everyone?? xxx

    Grit - Yes, you're probably right. Dentist turned out to be far less painful!

  35. Goodness I love your blog. I've added you to my links on mine; I hope you don't mind. A big thanks to Josie at Sleep is for the Weak for pointing me your way. Fabulously funny.

    Oh - and antibiotics for tooth abcess? Beware the perils of black hairy tongue ... or is it only me who gets given one with that as a listed side effect?!

    Kathryn x

  36. so funny!
    no matter how crappy my day's been, i can count on your blog to make me giggle :)

    Personally, have never had a massage, I just can't stand the thought of a stranger pummelling at me all nudie... *shiver!* :P

    Hope the dentist went okay xx

  37. KT - How very lovely of you!! Of course I don't mind you adding me...and yes, thanks to the fabulous Josie. Hairy tongue though??? God I hope not, although I haven't checked it for a while. I'll look in the mirror tonight. Fingers crossed and all that...

    miss leslieanne - Oh you are a darling. Thank you kind lady. I know - massages are strangely intrusive - I mean, why do we think it's normal for someone we don't know to be rubbing our bottoms??? Hmmmm. I think I'll try a head massage next time. x

  38. What are you like, MT? If it's not poo tales, it's the next best thing eh?!! ;-) Anyway, hopefully the lovely essential massage oils disguised any suspicious odours...

    I do know what you mean about the massage thing though. Isn't it ridiculous that something that's meant to be really relaxing should make us so fraught! I had at treatment once where the therapist wrapped me up in this electric-blanket/cocoon whilst she gave me a facial and head massage. This amazing invention was divinely comforting and cosy for about 3 blissful minutes. After enthusing about its warmth and snugness for, well, those 3 short minutes, I then spent the remaining 57 minutes feeling like I was suffocating beneath its hot and heavy embrace. Naturally was far too much of a wimp to actually speak up after lavishing such praise on the thing.

    But still was not as mortifying as a massage long ago with, SURPRISE, a male masseur. He was rather good-looking but knew it and came across as a bit creepy in his unctious attentiveness. He also seemed to know a scary amount about womens' bodies and spent about 20 minutes 'massaging' my buttocks with great enthusiasm. Although vaguely pleasurable, it just felt WRONG and I never went back. EVER.


  39. PS. Sorry to hear you've been feeling rubbish. I think it's that time of year isn't it, back to school stress/autumn chills etc. Hope you feel better the soonest xxxxx

  40. That is just so funny and the sort of thing that would happen to me, It happened at the hairdresses once and that was bad enough!

  41. Wickedly funny post. Thanks. I needed that. Reminded me of ... um ... a good friend of mine who was in the throes of passion with her hubby when the urge to fart just would not subside. Talk about a mood stiffler.

  42. You and bodily functions eh? Your obsessed woman haha i LOVE it!!! just remember "it's better to fart and stink a little than hold it in and be a cripple, wether in church or chapel let it rattle" :)
    I'm the same with any "pamper" session they're just too much hassle to get yourself ready for that they actually bring on boutts of stress.

  43. that's hysterical althought the metaphor of an elephant in the room and your fart leaves me cringing - was it a loud whoopi cushion one? well, you were obviously very relaxed, although I'd think twice about going to yoga with you - tee heee hee x

  44. Mamma Po - Oh you poor thing - that sounds just as excrutiating. What is it with us Brits - we can't say when we don't liek something?! Actually just read someone else's blog post about what sounds like that exact same treatment - have a read - it's very funny (almost as funny as mine as it happens) -

    And thanks honey - am feeling much better now. Just finished 5 day course of antibiotics for the teeth. But yes, think it's this time of year - it always gets me. Bye bye Summer :-(((

    Rosie - Oh it's just excrutiating. Has always been my dread. Thank goodness it was my friend and not me hey?! Hee hee.

    SAHM-I-AM - Oh deary me - I think that migth actually be worse. Your poor, ahem, friend! Hope you feeling better honey x

    WoB - I know - I'm sorry. I think I may need to start blogging about something else. Can't think what though! Nice saying - never heard that one...but I do remember one that went liek this 'Why fart and waste it, when you can burp and taste it'!! Ooh I think we could be good friends...

    nixdminx - Oh love I'm sorry I made you cringe. No, wasn't loud at all. Didn't even make a sound (or at least that's what my friend told me)!!! And yep, you can come to yoga with me, just try to sit a good distance away! x

  45. God, that was so funny, but have to admit that I don't batter an eyelid now after experiencing the most embarrassing massage in Thailand one year.

    There the Thai lady actually massaged my breasts!! I didn't know what to do with myself so,not wanting to appear prudish, I just held my breath and convinced myself that this was normal here....god I couldn't get out of there fast enough! Roni x

  46. Roni - Do you know what? Exactly the same thing has happened to me before (I mean what was I thinking even going back for another?) It was so strange - it wasn't even in Thailand - it was here in Brighton! I had a pregnancy massage and she massaged my boobs - I was exactlt the same as you - I was too shocked to ask her what she was doing so just pretended it was normal. But it's only ever happened once so I can't work out whether it was part of the massage or not. Very strange. And not much fun either!

  47. Ok, you are fucking brilliant... it's official.

  48. Sparx - I think that's my favourite comment ever. Love you too xxx