Friday, January 16, 2009

like a virgin, stuck for the very first time

My back went out again. What strenuous activity? Bending to pick up dirty clothes off the bathroom floor. Just great. I am thrilled as I rejoice in my youthful vigor and this wonderful adventure called middle aging.

So yesterday I went for a deep tissue massage. Which, for those of you who have not had the pleasure, is not a relaxing, feel-good massage. It's a dig down deep and loosen up the muscle fascia type massage. AKA, holy fucking shit it hurts.

I chose this video because it's the closest I could find to the music selection playing in the background while the masseuse pounded pulverized probed my muscles and I held on to the table for dear life relaxed into it. The singer chanted an encrypted message that only I could decipher, "owwwww... owwwwwwwww... owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww."

Eventually the masseuse found what she was looking for: a hard, tough, unyielding muscle around my butt/hip area.

She asked how I felt about acupuncture. "Oh, I don't know. I've never had it." I thought she was just asking in general.

Turns out she is an acupuncturist. Wow. My lucky day. Grinding my muscles down to a fine powdery pulp isn't torture enough. I need pins stuck in me, too.

So I told her to "go for it" and she stuck me in the butt inserted a needle into my gluteus minimus. Then she continued to work on the other side of me while the acupuncture did it's thing.

I felt a mere prickle when it entered my skin. Then when it reached the muscle, I felt a dull, slight pain. She eased it up and for the duration I could not feel it at all. I felt nothing when she removed it. So all in all, a comfortable experience. How's that for contradiction?

Only one needle but that's all it takes to pop the acupuncture cherry. In my book, anyway. So yeah, acupuncture virgin no more. This small-town-girl turned large-size-Texas-city-slicker goes all ancient eastern medicine, like.

Chest bowed, I crawled strutted out of the torture chamber building, proud of my newly pin-cushioned self. Is it obvious? Could people see the change? The only witnesses to my devirginzed status were two street repair workers holding up a "SLOW" sign. Yes, I think they detected my aura of transformation. Their lingering glances betrayed subtle expressions of admiration and envy.

Brave new world.

The massage did hurt but all the while a deep seated feeling of wellbeing took over me. Comfort in knowing that someone with expert hands was exploring my muscles, searching for the origin of my pain. I felt a sense of relief at my core, for those 90 minutes, and a feeling of hope that she would deliver the magic touch that would return healthy functioning to my body.

I wondered, as I lie there writhing in pain feeling her hands move across my skin, how big a part of the healing process this was. This letting go, believing, feeling relieved and taken care of. Psychologists might call this placebo.

Did the massage plus acupuncture help? Only massive quantities of ibuprofen time will tell.

So how about you? Ever subjected yourself to deep tissue massage? Acupuncture? Did it help?


Eudea-Mamia said...

Deep tissue, yes, don't believe I will do that again.

Acupuncture, no, but I so want to try! I have a pain above my lower right hip that hits every once in a while.

I'm thinking giving up carrying my 6-year-old and backing away from the computer more would solve the problem.

But that doesn't sound as exotic and cool.

Hope it still feels good today.

Agent X said...

I want to try deep tissue for some shoulders that never relax. I have done acupuncture and loved it. I don't know that it worked but when I went in the room was so lovely with calming music. It was a very relaxing experience. Expensive and I am a tightwad though.

Rachel Cotterill said...

My husband is a great masseur and he does this to me at least once a week. I have to explain repeatedly that just because I'm screaming in pain doesn't mean I'm not grateful. It certainly helps.

I've had a headache fixed by acupressure but I haven't braved the needles.

phd in yogurtry said...

eudea -- Yes, when my twins were babies I used to read about the risk of carrying kids on my hip. Did it stop me? Nooooo. But then, the back experts must not have heard the sound of chronic whining.

agent -- tightwad here too. I do believe a bi-weekly or monthly deep tissue would probably do wonders. but I only schedule when I'm in serious pain.

rachel -- husband swap? maybe one afternoon a week?

Rachel Cotterill said...

Hmm, what does yours do in exchange? ;) Actually I think the international postage of husbands might be prohibitive...

Deb said...

Congratulations on your deflowering. I only hope that you chose to be safe about it...

Deb said...

Oh, I have never done either of those yet. I am a virgin once again!!!!


But I do go to a chiropractor...

Brigit said...

I've tried both, with varying success. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes it hasn't. I've no idea why. I've also tried chinese medicine. Taste terrible, sometimes worked, sometimes didn't. Then again isn't it the same with western medicine. Sometimes treatment works, sometimes it doesn't.

Vodka Mom said...

I've often said that housework is hazardous to your health.......

blognut said...

I've not tried acupuncture or deep tissue massage. I'm a big chickenshit.

Heather said...

Ah, no, no, no, no way. Though I started life as one of those people who could extend my belief system to encompass needles and positive thought and healing through hypnotism or religion and all that, education has made me a steely-eyed, biology-based westerner.

But how enlightened you must feel. Or post-enlightened. Or somethin' like that. Yeah.

JCK said...

I used to be a massage therapist. I am not a fan of deep tissue, especially for the full time of the massage. I like working slowly and easing into the muscles. Then gradually working deeper. I hope your back is better. That is the worst.

I liked the music.

Alison said...

Well I was leaning into the trunk of my car a few weeks back and my left knee gave way and I heard "Screlch" in my lower back. So I sat down and wanted to cry because of middle age.

Then I went to a bone cruncher I mean chiropractor and he was a miracle in motion!

Hope that back is better now, virgin eastern med person!

Anonymous said...

I have gone for chiropractic adjustments and I think there truly is something to the physical touch involved in these modalities. It's a connection that you rarely get when you go to the doctor when they listen with their stethoscopes and prod with their gloved hands. Somehow, the intention of the practitioner to help you through their touch makes a difference.
Sounds pretty cool. Congratulations on your initiation.

phd in yogurtry said...

rachel -- carpentry, jack of many trades, master of the few that count! I think we could make a case for "media mail" given how this bargain got arranged.

deb -- always safe!

brigit -- this is true. western medicine certainly has it's downfalls. with back problems, I once read that 1/3 of people get better, 1/3 stay the same, 1/3 do worse.

vodka mom -- hire me a laundress? is that what you'd write on your Rx pad?

blognut -- I'm not sure I'd recommend it because I'm not sure how much it actually helps physically. I think it does help but I wouldn't swear to it.

heather -- I definately feel enlightened every time I sit just so on my left cheek.. ouchy.. tender!

jck -- I think I'd like to be under the expertise of your hands. My masseuse eases in for a few .. what feels like seconds .. and then dig, dig, dig.

alison -- I've felt that screlch sound. Scary, isn't it? This time, for me, it was the silent electric zap of pain. And recovery time has been shorter.

sara -- I do agree. And perhaps part of why chiropractors are so aplenty.

Alison said...

Muchos apologies for abandoning my blog and not even replying your last comments, phd! Crinks I feel like a heel. Perhaps I never extended jabbings with needles in punishment?

I promise this time I have in fact returned to posting!

Alison said...

Er that was meant to read "Perhaps I NEED extended jabbings..."

Bit out of practice !

laurie said...

massage, yes. and it hurts like hell. and sometimes it makes things much worse temporarily, but you just have to tough it out and then gradually all starts relaxing and it's so worth it. but yes, it hurts.

Sunny said...

hm. I should try one of those.

Becca said...

i've had both and while the massage hurts, it does help. and i totally dig acupuncture!!!

Magpie said...

I tried acupuncture when I was trying to get pregnant. It hooey. But I don't know. People swear by it.

bernthis said...

yes, yes, yes and yes. several times

Dr. Deb said...

I can so relate to this. Rest always helped me the most. But I;ve done everything else from acupunture to demerol shots. Massage is good too. I wish you healing. Quick healing.

Buddha said...

This is my first visit and I have to tell you I had a hell of a time.
So funny it was painful – since I have a low back problem myself and yes I am not a virgin either.
Great blog. Keep up the good work!
Be loved!

WA said...

I've been going to acupuncture for over a year now for my allergies. I love it. It's keeping me from becoming a total Benadryl junkie, so that's a good thing.

phd in yogurtry said...

alison -- no apologies necessary. just very glad to see you're back!

laurie -- I had one a week prior and I felt like my legs were on fire that night. Fortunately the second one wasn't such a painful recovery.

sunny -- yes. try it. you will regret it. at least part of the time!

becca -- nearly one week later I can say I'm feeling better, so I do believe it helped. I just wish it didn't hurt so dang much!

magpie -- Sex and the City's Charlotte did acupuncture for the same reason.

bernthis -- I hear an enthusiastic yes. I'm in good company : )

Anonymous said...

Ah, I've done both deep tissue massage and acupuncture. I had a bad muscular problem going on a few years back and I swear it helped. It was better than the drugs the docs gave me.

Hope you feel better soon!


Reinvent Dad said...

No worthy comment here....never done either of those....well, yes I do have a comment, I really like your blog!

phd in yogurtry said...

fringegirl -- just about anything is better than drugs. unless very serious pain, no painkillers for me. the more I read and learn about back pain, at least MY back pain issues, the best treatment is no medication. chronic back pain and narcotics can be a big problem down the road.

reinvent -- thanks! And welcome. I'm glad you like.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Me too. I'm totally hurtin' right now. Argh.