Monday, April 07, 2008

Ahhhhh... An Austin Massage...Long Overdue

Back when I worked in Santa Monica, almost 11 years ago, I would get a massage once a year -- maybe twice. The Burke Williams Spa was just a short drive from the office and offered a wonderful retreat from the hectic pace of working (and driving) in Los Angeles.

After moving to Austin I dropped that luxury. The company where I worked had a guy who would come in once a week and do chair massages -- 20 minutes for $20 -- and that sufficed. Unfortunately, in 2000 I no longer had that job and I began a job working from home. Initially I thought about paying him to make a house call but as time marched on, I gradually put the idea of a massage out of my mind.

Fast forward to 2008: a very stressful year thus far. Unemployed. Worrying about finances. Facing necessary and expensive home repairs which will blow what remains of the unemployment nest egg I managed to save last year. And a plethora of equally urgent minor things which collectively will take a bite out of funds which ideally would be spent elsewhere.

And then the accident in early March which resulted in an outflow of a few thousand dollars for car repair and txrad repair really got me tied up in a knot as if all the other issues weren't enough.

Last week txrad and I both accepted a suggestion that we'd benefit from massage treatment. After years of neglecting my body in that regard, I was eager to get back on the table. My expectations were greatly exceeded.

For those of you who have never indulged in something like this, you really don't know what you've missed. It may seem like a splurge -- and it is, but it's one I highly recommend. When done correctly, the positive effects don't end after 20 minutes or 50 minutes, or however long you opt for a treatment.

I knew my body was out of whack, especially since early March. I could feel tension in my hips, my back and especially my neck. I also sensed that my blood circulation was poor. And while I am aware that all these things are connected, I was never so surprised as when I was gently touched in a problematic spot in my pelvic area and felt a surge of positive sensation in my left shoulder and goosebumps erupted on my legs. And this was while standing up, prior to getting on the table for the massage!

There is something extremely pleasurable about allowing your body to go completely limp and allowing a specialist to move your arms and legs around and work on those areas of trouble. I spend hours each day at my desk on the computer, typing, and frequently I have one hand using a mouse. Few of us have any idea how this causes a build-up of stress and tension in our hands, arms and shoulders. However, when you are in the hands of a genuinely talented massage therapist it will become very obvious.

The person possessing this skill and gift is Jackie Gaston. She calls her practice Touch of the Hills Massage and Bodywork. I know only a small number of my readers here are actually in the Austin area but if you are, you should consider giving your body a mini-vacation. That's how I think of it. All of the positive effects of escaping from the daily stress of my life at a fraction of the cost of a literal weekend getaway.

Jackie specializes in a variety of bodywork techniques which are detailed on her website. Once I am gainfully employed again, I would love to experience the Moonstone Massage! Sounds like an hour and a half of complete bliss.

I regret that I have neglected the needs of my body for so many years. After walking away from a session feeling rejuvenated and almost light-headed, the benefit was clear. For the next 36 hours my body felt toasty warm which I attribute to greatly increased blood circulation.

There were also a couple of errands I wanted to run after the treatment. Realizing it was 4:30 on a weekday afternoon, the importance of the errands melted away rather quickly and I opted to just return home and avoid any rush-hour driving. I felt a sense of relaxation I hadn't known in a long time. The errands could wait for another day.

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