I had a massage with Gwynn yesterday. I love her – she’s another of the wizards at Body Dynamics. They ought to call the place Hogwarts.
Gwynn’s massages are the polar opposite of the spa massages I’d been addicted to in the past. There’s something glorious about the laying on of hands – of having someone follow the muscles under your skin and work through the tensions and pull you into a new shape with just strong fingers and know-how. On a massage table, I feel like a lump of clay and someone clever is forming me into Uma Thurman.
But a therapeutic masseuse is to a spa masseuse as a surgeon is to the guy who tapes the high school football team. They’re both useful; one just knows a staggering amount more than the other.
So Gwynn will have spoken with Barbara about me by the time I get to my massage appointment. We stand in the treatment room and Barbara says “Keep your hips forward and turn your waist and shoulders as far as you can to the left. Okay, now to the right. Yep. Got it.”
Then she dims the lights and goes away and I strip down to nothing but me and slip under the sheet. (In the winter, she warms the table and it’s an immediate invitation to fall soundly asleep and be snoring by the time she comes back.) While I’m fussing around trying to hide my large underwear under a discretely spread shirt, she’s out in the hallway with her computer, plotting her plan of attack.
Low knock – in comes Gwynn – hushed voices – very spa-like. And then WOW what are you doing?? What the hell is that you’re working on?
Gwynn knows I’m a nerd about this stuff and she delights in explaining her whats and her whys; I’ve learned so much about my own body from her, and how I can give her the feedback that makes her work with even greater focus. But if I wanted it, she’d totally let me lie there silent, alternately gasping at what her strong fingers have tracked down and then purring when she gets muscles to surrender. I’m all chat all the time, though, so we pretty much gab throughout. Gwynn is awesome.
Two weeks ago, in the pre-massage discussion time, I told her that when I stepped into pants or underwear, I always splayed my leg out to the side because if I held the knee forward, it was painful deep down at the top of my thigh. Gwynn LOVES these mysteries and the light of challenge lit in her eyes, but before she left so I could strip down, she asked me, “What makes you bring this up now? Is this new?”
“I just didn’t know things like this could be fixed before.”
She beamed with approval at me and I realized that WAS a pretty big leap. I’m beginning to believe that with the right help, I can address body issues that I’d always – ALWAYS – accepted as just the way things were. So the ache at the top of my thigh wasn’t new, but the belief that we could fix it sure was.
By the way – the answer: Adductor magnus. Or something like that. Last week, Gwynn worked on the front of the thigh. She pulled tight muscles long, but it didn’t fix that specific pain. This week she went to the inside of the thigh. Again, my legs felt great at the end, but the pain was still there. The vast, clicking machinery in her brain was turning the whole time, and after I got dressed, she came back in. “Okay – lie face down on the table for a minute.” And then she ran her thumb straight up a live wire. “STOP THAT!” I shouted. “Hah!” she replied, satisfaction dripping from the word. “Adductor magnus. We’ve got it. When do I see you again?”
I have no doubt at all that next week, Gwynn will do something to a leg muscle no-one outside a medical anatomy class ever heard of before. She will release a trigger point or clean out the fuzz or in some other ways work her wizardry and I will suddenly be able to step into my underwear with my knees pointing forward. I guess that’s not a very big payoff… and yet, it’s a HUGE payoff. Now I trust that if there’s an issue, we can fix it.