Massage Envy at The PlantMassage Envy at The PlantI like to experiment with things. Logically, it can go only two ways—right or wrong. Once on advise of a DIY blog, I placed my husband’s all ‘dry-clean only’ sweaters in a pillowcase, tied a knot, and washed them on a delicate cycle. All his sweaters shrunk; he needed a new winter wardrobe. On the other hand, I successfully converted an old lamp into an art piece, figured out uses of my gazillion greeting cards, and found a use of old planting pots.
I get stuck when it comes to things I would like to do. Things that are normal. Things that have a definitive outcome. Regular things that most people do without a second thought. I research and plan about these things, but never take the next step. I am not a procrastinator or afraid of the unknown, but sometimes I just don’t move forward. I know it is not due to fear or laziness. It is not because of my lack of interest. I don’t fully understand my psychological reasons.
Invigorated from my recent spa-vacation, I made a conscious effort to move forward (slowly) with all the things I should be able to do. I decided not to over think, but just go for it.
So three weeks back, I took a plunge. Then two weeks ago, I took another; last week I jumped once again.
Ten years ago, my then boyfriend, now husband gifted me a Massage Envy gift certificate. Three weeks ago, I took my first plunge and finally used the certificate for a massage. The 2007 certificate was still valid, but the price of massage was doubled. My husband was surprised that I still had the certificate, but he didn’t understand why it took me so long to use it.
It is not that I never had a massage, it is just that I never had a massage in America. When I lived in New Delhi, my maid introduced me to few masseuses. I interviewed them, asked about their families, and haggled over the price. I finalized one masseuse who stuck with me for all of my stay in New Delhi. For more than four years, she massaged me once a month at my home.
During my spa-vacation at Kovalam, India, I had seven Abyhanga massages. There, first I met with an Ayurveda doctor, who visited my medical history, and introduced me to a masseuse. All my massages were by the same masseuse. I knew want to expect. There weren’t any surprises.
I like familiarity when it comes to people touching any of my body parts. I drive 15 miles for my hairdresser and eyebrow-lady. I had the same optometrists for eighteen years. From friends and reviews, I learned that Massage Envy has a revolving door. It was nearly impossible to get the same massage therapist.
Also, I never contemplated the possibility of a masseur. I am not a prude; often I am the only female among a gaggle of men. I am not intimidated of or self-conscious with men. But I can’t imagine a male massaging me. It is not because I am married, it is just that I can’t. I don’t want a male to massage me and I dont’t want a male gynecologist. I learned that the Massage Envy locations near me had less than 20% of masseuses. Some locations had only one masseuse, who worked part-time only in afternoons.
All my massages were in a soothing homely ambiance. Always with warm and lot of massage oils. And I never had to think about a tip, as I directly paid the masseuse or the gratuity was included in the price. I was very apprehensive about visiting Massage Envy. But I made my peace with everything, crossed my fingers, and scheduled an appointment.
The night before my appointment, I spend hours Googling and reading ‘what to expect on your first massage.’ At the time of my appointment, I was relaxed for my first massage in America.
There was nothing soothing or homely about the Massage Envy at The Plant. I understand that no massage place can ever compete with the luxury of at-home-massage or spa-massage. But Massage Envy felt more like a cooperate office. It had brown and yellow tones, instead of blue and grey tones. It was very impersonal. On either side of a narrow corridor were a row of narrow rooms which were very uninviting. And it was freezing cold.
I felt as though I was at a badly lit doctor’s office.
The massage room was narrow and cold. A slim table was placed diagonally across the room. A generic picture frame hung on the right wall. Someone had scrolled ‘JESUS’ with lotion on the frame. At the right end, the corner was a table with a lotion bottle, a square box of Kleenex, and a digital table clock with red digits. On the front left corner, under a row of hooks was a low wooden stool. A hanger hung behind the door.
From my googling, I had learned that I need to speak up if I was uncomfortable. I informed the masseuse about the cold. she got me an extra blanket and heated the table. But it was so cold that while she did my massage, my feet froze. I wished I had worn woolen socks.
Massage Envy’s paperwork was more detailed than it was in India. But my massage therapist didn’t read the form carefully. I think she just glanced at it. In spite of my clearly explaining my expectations, she gave me only a deep back massage. I kept waiting for her to work on my entire body. When I thought she would work on my lower back and glutes, I was informed that one hour had expired.
I didn’t want to leave a tip because I wasn’t happy with my massage. But I was too embarrassed not to pay gratuity, so I left a generous tip.
Instantly after the massage, my shoulders felt relaxed. But the next morning onwards, I was in pain. It was difficult to do daily chores and I couldn’t go to the gym. After gazillions of icy-hot-patches and heating pads, I recovered after two weeks.
This should deter me from all future massages. But I see my experience as getting over the first hurdle. Now, officially I had a massage in America. And I am searching for other massage places that will suit my preferences.