Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A trip to Libby at Elements Massage

I have a extraordinary relationship with my massage therapist, Libby, who works at the Wandermere Elements Therapeutic Massage. By the way she mashes my back, kneads my quads, and spirals her elbows in my butt, you’d think the last thing I’d do is schedule another 80-minutes of anguish with her. Yet I find myself sitting in the lobby, staring at the three pictures on the wall that represent what nature is supposed to exude: calmness. Perhaps it’s the calm before the storm, so to speak. How else can I justify the utter excitement I feel, knowing the muscles that have worked so hard to carry me through each and every training day will soon meet the strength and skill of Libby’s hands?

My friend greets me at the door and leads me back to the dark room of calmness. The soothing music hardly drowns out the list of “problem areas” I make Libby aware of. Quite frankly, I don’t know why I always repeat myself, as she has yet to miss a muscle that isn’t already aching or tight, just by her skill alone. She simply stands, listens, and then exclaims calmly, “I’ll go get some heat. You lay on your stomach.”

Let the “therapy” begin.

Libby starts by poking and prodding my back, coaxing muscles to literally jump out into her hands using her touch alone. It’s like a game of hide-and-seek, but upon finding the culprit muscle, she tackles it with whatever tool she finds most useful—her thumb, her forearm, her elbow. I know Libby for her deep tissue technique, and so her thumbs, her forearms, and her elbows hardly do the work her entire body weight can do far better.

Then she has me roll over so she can target my legs, perhaps the most tortured part of my body. With all the cycling and running I do, I usually arrive at Libby’s doorstep with quadriceps riddled with knots, hips resistant to movement, and butt cheeks whose muscle mass makes a great target for impending elbows. I know when Libby warns me to “take a deep breath,” I’m in for a soft tissue mobilization that will leave me sweating and breathless (I may inhale, but I forget to let it out). For Libby, one time isn’t enough. God blessed humans with just about two of everything, and for me, those “two of everythings” come with a whole load of problems.

What makes Libby so genuine and perfect as my massage therapist is her ability to target my muscles using her uncannily precise tools: her hands. Libby’s deep tissue experience may hurt, but the result is why I keep going back. She does the job exceedingly well. In all the pain and sweat, her conversation keeps my attention on her instead of on my screaming muscles. Her nutrition ideas continually inspire me to try new recipes and foods, and her jokes make me laugh through tears of pain that blind my vision.

As I write this, I look forward to my next massage with Libby I have scheduled tomorrow. While my mind may know what this body is in for, thankfully, my muscles do not. If you haven’t tried a massage, I suggest you delve in and see what the experience is all about. Perhaps the deepest of deep tissue isn’t the right place to start. Maybe it is. Either way, consider seeking the massage therapy services offered by Elements. Let me know if you have any questions or would like some recommendations. I have plenty to offer.

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