Monday, June 28, 2010

Rubdown Throwdown

I recently took advantage of special offers to get my achy muscles rubbed down. I work out pretty frequently and feel like "body work" is an essential component of circulation and muscle movement. The problem is I can't really afford the monthly indulgence of massage in an upscale spa (the only places I've had them)--so I went outside my softly scented spa box and into massage-specialty shops to see what's what.

First off was Nirvana Reflexology Spa on Rockville Pike. (Though I announce their opening in the current issue of Bethesda Magazine, I visited as a paying customer.) I had never tried "shiatsu," "reflexology" and, other than acupuncture, never had my "chi" moved in any way. That day I can attest the chi moved. My feet soaked in an aromatherapy bath while the therapist worked on my head and then managed to cover every other part of my body while I was clothed. Although some parts were off-the-chart deep (eeeow my therapist must have had hands of steel), I felt incredibly light afterward. The room was communal, but lovely, dark and very private - you're unaware of the other massages going on. For $39, it was life-changing.

Next try was Massage Heights on Congressional Lane . I took advantage of the $39 special for a 60-minute hot stone massage. I chose a lightly scented aromotherapy oil and loved the feel of the oil mixed with hot stones. I was so relaxed afterward, I felt totally out of it and was sorry to have to face the blazing heat and hubbub of the Pike, even though it was for a shopping trip. The massage was exactly to my specifications. I asked for firm pressure and got it. Not too deep, but not soft either. I didn't want it to end and was blissfully out of it for much of the time. My therapist was attentive without being chatty and there was no sales pitch to sign up for a membership (you can buy a series of massages) or to come back. But I will. Next I may even try the Montgomery Mall massages; I have a friend who swears by them. Before my foray into the massage world, that would have been a "no." Now it's an easy "why not?"

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