Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Massage Montage

Little known fact about massage therapy school: it's 2,000 hours of hands-on treatment time PLUS 2,000 hours of internet conspiracy indoctrination. ("Ahhh," I hear you saying. "It all makes perfect sense now!")

Even the most normal-seeming massage therapist I ever had once growled at me, "Corn. Is. NOT. Food."

I could sortof let this slide because she did really good shoulder work, but seriously - what the hell you got against corn, lady? Did it, like, run off with some other gal and never pay child support? Because I typically reserve that kind of venom for my ex-husband, not important staple crops.

Normal-Seeming Therapist quit years ago and I've been searching for a replacement Tolerably Normal Therapist ever since. Which is to say, I've been conducting monthly interviews with an endless string of certifiable nut jobs, while nude.

I had one who used to massage horses (let's just say that again: Massage. Horses. What?), which leads me to this unlikely life pro tip: the instant someone says "massage horses" to you, you get up off the table and nope the fuck outta there, because if someone opens with that the interaction is not going anywhere even remotely sane. Anyway, Horse Masseuse somehow got displaced from an organic off-grid grow op in remote rural BC to downtown Calgary and couldn't find her way home or something, and would spend entire sessions muttering about how the medical establishment was out to stop her, just look what they did to chiropractors, frequently pausing the actual massage that I was actually paying actual money for to lean in beside my ear and hiss, "BIG PHARMA!" or "THE MAN!" or "THEY CONTROL ALL THE SEEDS!"

Mostly, however, they seem to cluster somewhere a little less extreme on the spectrum of interweb credulousness. Tonight's therapist seemed so promising - brisk manner, firm pressure, silent for the first three full minutes! Then he started talking and alas, it was all over for me. It was a 90-minute (okay, 87-minute, I'll give him credit for those first three quiet ones) rambling tirade that ran the quackery gamut from lymphatic congestion, the indigestibility of dairy, "acidity", "energy", and, perhaps least scientifically of all, "You can't get hydrated from drinking fluids because the water is in solution!"

I thought we were heading down what I've come to view as a pretty standard pseudo-scientific path for massage therapists but that water in solution bit was totally uncharted territory for me. Wait - the water is what, exactly? Wet?

There are many reasons why I go for massages regularly, and none of them are because I want to keep up on the latest in fruitloopery. And yet, here we are. I long ago started to kick off each session by announcing that I am a biologist, in hopes that they might catch the chill of skepticism wafting off of me but it hasn't helped. For folks who think they can sense the energies or whatever the fuck, they sure are poor at reading their audience.

Really, here's the heart of my complaint: I am paying them. A lot. By the rules of bartenders and therapists, that means I get a platform for airing my craziness, yet even if I want to chat I usually can't get a word in edgewise with RMTs for all their soapboxing. And by the rules of being naked and prone while a stranger beats on my muscles - well, I don't know what the rules are for that, exactly, but frankly I feel taken advantage of. I shouldn't have to listen to their nonsense, whatever the content, because I am paying them to shut up and tenderize my glutes already. How is a scientifically literate and conflict-averse person supposed to relax under such conditions?

Here are the new rules, which I will now be announcing before I ever put my face in one of those damn lobotomy donut pillows ever again:

1. No talking.
2. If talking required, then [citation needed] for any health, scientific, or other claims made during session.

That's it. You want to talk at me during a massage session? It had better be sensible. Otherwise you just chant "I want a tip today, I want a tip today" over and over to yourself in your head to help motivate you to stay quiet. 

Oh, yes, and one final thing I almost forgot:

3. More glutes and feet, please.

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