Kneaded: Phnom Penh

Today I paid someone to walk on me. Repeatedly.

There is just something about a total stranger kneading your body like a bit of well-loved dough.

Maybe it's because we all carry such heavy things (children, bags, hearts, hurts) all day long and it feels great when those get rubbed out. Maybe it's something to do with the sense of touch and how we all need that.

And it great (so freakin' great) when you partner gives a massage but it's all sensual and lovey dovey (which is also great) but this? No need to make conversation or do anything other than close your eyes. And try to put your hands in the right place.

My first massage I think I freaked out a bit. What do I wear? Nothing? Are you kidding me? Someone will be touching me? Won't they we judging my wobbly bits? What if I make the wrong noises?

Noises like this:

And this:

As I've grown older I'm of the opinion that this body? My body? This is not the worst that these professionals have ever seen. So when they told me to get changed right there on my bed, one of 4 separated only by flimsy see-through curtains, I thought 'eh?'

And when the funny Cambodia fishermans pants that they gave me to wear did up strangely and basically showed my crotchal area and I realized that I was wearing the most inappropriate underwear possible for this occasion (in my defence I had to wear special occasion underroos because it's laundry day), I thought "well, what are you going to do?"

And then she twisted and pulled me in the most extraordinary positions. But it didn't hurt. It just felt like the stretch I needed. And when she stepped on my back I heard that crunch that I have been trying to get at for weeks. And when there was a head massage involved... mercy.

But here's my problem. I have such a hard time getting my head to shut up. For at least half the massage I was thinking about the day and tomorrow and next year and food and what I was going to write about this experience. Dude. Be cool and concentrate on the now. That is always my downfall. But I'm learning. Perhaps next time it will only take me 15 minutes to calm down my monkey mind.

So. Massages. Any words of wisdom to quiet the mind? Any particular kinds that should be tested out?

* * *
Since I first wrote this we have been fortunate enough to enjoy 10 massages (well, one mani-pedi for me). Each one is a little different, some more relaxing than others, some able to crack our tough and stiff backs. What I didn't expect was how comfortable some of these ladies are with rubbing down strangers. I have never been massaged up quite so very high on my inner thigh and was surprised when I got my boobalas done as well. It was good, just different from our experiences at home. And if they were cool with it, so was I.


Style Journey said…
Ha ha! This reminds me of when my husband and I got a couples massage for our 10th wedding anniversary. I tried not to giggle the whole time! So of course I couldn't relax. I think it takes practice being able to shut your mind off and just relax. Heather
Megan Mae said…
Hee! This cracks me up. I'm realizing now as an adult how much my group of friends/family would all help those burdens out. A friend would massage my feet after a game of DDR, I'd work a knot out of somebody's neck, my mom would rub my back during a particularly rough cycle.

I think there's something a little deeper, a balancing of energy and dissipation of stress that a massage does.

Maybe try a mantra or other meditation technique like a visualization of something calming? Counting worked well for me when I started meditating. Find a number that feels right, count to it, count back and back again.
geetabix said…
Isn't it crazy that thinking about getting a massage is stressful?

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