Monday, November 1, 2010

I've Made a Huge Mistake

I've been suffering from stupid pains in the arches of my feet again. This was a huge problem a couple years ago but has since relaxed. Out of nowhere it flared up and nearly had me crying the other day. It was time to get a massage.

Everyone at work talks about the benefits of massage but I always considered it a luxurious experience, only to be had when money is abundant or it's your birthday. The last time I had one was when I pulled something in my neck and couldn't move for 3 days. I broke down after work one day and found a chair massage place that wasn't expensive. She worked out whatever was trying to kill me and I felt much better.

I didn't want a chair massage this time though. It needed to be the real deal. Besides the stupid feet I have been achy for a couple weeks and always carry a great deal of tension in my low back. I called around a few places for a last minute appointment but no one answered. The prices were a bit scary anyway. There was a listing online for a suburban massage place with the word, "Heavenly" in the title. I immediately thought that was a bad sign but checked out the site anyway. (mistake #1) Their prices were much lower than the other places and they were a chain so I was fairly convinced they weren't sex workers.

I called and told them I had an injury that was giving me trouble and asked if they could help. They seemed confident that they could and all I had to to was talk to the masseuse when I got there. They were open until 11 and could take me anytime. They asked if I preferred a male or female and I said it didn't matter. (mistake #2) I got there by 8.

Upon arrival they had me fill out the "I won't sue" form and mark down whatever my ailments were. Plantar Fasciitis was not an option so I stupidly wrote it in thinking they would know what it is. Nope. Three front desk people asked me countless questions and I was just like, "Um. My feet ache. That's it. Some calf pain, some low back. It's no big deal."

They asked if I spoke Russian so I could explain the problem to my massage guy. "Oh dear. I'm afraid I don't." The guy, Uri, came out to talk to me and seemed to understand that my feet hurt and I had some general tension. He motioned for me to follow him back and told me to take off my clothes and get into the sheets. (mistake #3)

Um, like everything? Take off? Um. Everything? (I motioned with my hands to express that I wasn't sure about the undies)

Yes, every. Take. Ok? I back in minuutes.

I didn't take off the undies. Bra was obviously coming off but undies? What the fuck. No. I can be something of an exhibitionist but not with the lower section. (not a mistake)

Uri came back and did an "assessment" of sorts where he basically rubbed my back for a couple minutes and asked if pressure was too strong.

When he got to the lower back, it was to my great shock that he pulled the undies down himself. Holy shit. My entire body tensed up, including my toes. It's not like he pulled them all the way down, but whoa. I was not expecting that.

Lower back has it very much tension. You not doing exercises?

I exercise.

Not enough physical activity. You need it physical activity. (rubbing my tailbone and hips)

I do yoga and I walk on a tread mill.

Is nothing. You vatching tehlevision?


You sit down all day and zen vatching tehlevision? Yes.

Oh. Uh. No. I barely watch tv.

Tread mill is a nothink. Is not enough. Better for you valking outside.

Ok. Sure.

Zis is it big tension. You're not enough valking. Computer?


You computer?

Uh I guess so.

I feel it computer. You sitting.

Oh. I see.

Uri didn't get my name properly and kept calling me Tatiana. He wanted to know where I was from and I said here. He asked if anyone from my family was from the Ukraine and I got annoyed. This was not at all the relaxing experience I hoped for. Uri moved on to the right foot and spent way too much time there.

Tatiana, why you telling front desk about injury?

Well I was hoping to get the feet worked on a little. And calves. And back.

You vas in car accident or somethink?

No. It's just strained.

You have it medical problem? See doctor?

No. It's been fine for a long time. Just um. Hurts now.

Tatiana, front desk they not knowing these things. No reason telling them, only tell Uri. I know it what's vrong by touching body. They not touch body, they not knowing.

Oh. I just thought that I should mention it.

You only telling me. I know it these problems.

They asked if I wanted deep tissue or Swedish and I thought I would ask about the injury...

Front desk not knowing. Only Uri knows. Next time you only telling them you vant talk to Uri and problem solve. Ok?


He moved up to the leg and also spent too much time there. He explained that he was using a reflexology technique on me but I got nervous. It seemed like he made that up just to lift my leg up in the air. All I could focus on was the hope that my cotton sliver of underwear still covered the goods.

After finishing the legs he pulled up both sheets and asked me to turn around.

You mean, you want me to lay on my back? Why?

I doing reflexology. You need stretching low back.

He stood there looking right at my face and expected me to flip over, completely exposing the boobs. I couldn't believe it. Shouldn't he have left one sheet down? Or both? Or looked at the back wall? There really was no graceful way for me to turn over and and remain hidden. I tried to maneuver my arms/hands to cover the girls but they moved without my consent. Boobs were definitely seen by Uri. (mistake #4)

He put his arm under my low back and showed me a bridge stretch, which I do all the time. I explained to him that I already did it in yoga, but he assured me that it isn't yoga at all and I need to do it 15 times a day. I expected him to do more massage with my neck and back, especially considering that the foot and leg massage made me cringe but he said time was up. I asked if he was sure because my neck was really stiff, and he got insulted. He leaned in very close to me and told me to leave.

Tatiana, is late. You go.

Oh ok. Um. When I called they said something about a steam shower? Where is that?

Tatiana, you have it shower at home?

Are you asking if I have a shower?

I think regular shower is fine for you. Next time. Come earlier. Ask for Uri.

I haven't felt that humiliated in a long time. I dressed quickly and stopped by the front desk to pay. I gave a lousy tip and tried to hurry out the door. The lady asked why I didn't take the steam shower, so I explained that Uri told me not to. She said he wasn't one of their best people and gave me a bunch of coupons.

Lesson learned.


  1. As a Massage Therapist, I am horrified. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. The underwear thing...holy shit! It's clear if someone leaves their underwear on, that is their border, and you do not cross it. I wish I was there to give you a foot treatment, and good massage therapist knows what the hell plantar fasciitis is and how easy it is to treat it. One thing you can do on your own is buy a golf ball, and first thing in the morning, before stepping out of bed, lay the ball on the floor and massage the bottom of your foot on it, almost stepping on it. It feels amazing and will loosen up the plantar fascia and help a great deal throughout the day.

    I'm sorry for your experience, no one should have to feel like that when you're already in a compromised position. That sucks.

  2. I love you! I thought about you when I wrote this and was going to email it but you beat me to it. Thought it would give you a good laugh, but you certainly have a point. A real massage therapist knows about all that stuff and wouldn't make me feel bad or awkward for coming in. What a shmuck. Huge life lesson though: you get what you pay for. Now I know why massage costs real money. No more $49.99 internet specials for me! I'll be making an appointment with you when I'm in town!! Cheers.