Woohoo! Last Thursday, I crossed off #1 from of my July goals and got a massage! I found a certified massage therapist named Marianne Smith located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, near the Powell Bart Station. On my way there, I maneuvered my way between hordes of people, tourists and protesters alike, in the hustle and bustle of Market Street. I rode up the elevator away from the chaos to the 7th floor and knocked on Marianne’s door.
She was friendly. She offered me a cup of water and handed me a form to complete. I liked her, but I didn’t know what to expect. I had emailed her before scheduling an appointment to let her know that I was a competitive runner with a history of injuries and was interested in monthly sports massages for maintenance and injury prevention. Her reply didn’t mention anything about running or sports massages, but just let me know I could call or text her to schedule some time with her.
When we started, she hovered her hand over my body to “feel my energy.” Okay. I’m pretty open-minded about most things and beliefs, as long as they’re not forced upon me, but this was the first sign that I was in for a new experience. I’ve only had a handful of massages in the past, but nobody has ever tried to shift my energy around. She continued to work on my legs, which of course were tight. I was surprised at how tight the muscles underneath my calves were. She also scraped the bottom of my feet with a gua sha tool and noted how “crunchy” it was. Gua sha is a type of Chinese treatment where they use a smooth stone to scrape against your skin to stimulate new oxygenated blood to the area. I had plantar fasciitis on my right foot for about 1.5 years, so that made sense that there was scar tissue and wasn’t completely “smooth.”
Marianne also asked if I was a sensitive person. By this time, I’m amused and slightly confused. Was this a massage session or a therapy session?! Marianne explained that she could tell I was sensitive from my feet! She said that my toes were open (I think she meant there was a lot of open space between my toes) and people with open toes, herself included, were highly sensitive people. She advised that I be mindful of the energy of the people I associate with, because it’s easy for me to absorb this energy from others. She also said that she started wearing closed toe shoes to protect herself from absorbing bad energy from others.
All in all, I think the massage was alright. I did feel like Marianne worked on my muscles and helped release tension. However, I will try seeing someone else. I’m mainly looking for someone, ideally an athlete/runner, who will focus on helping me increase mobility and break up any scar tissue. It did bum me out that Marianne talked so much. She would stop the massage so she could tell me more about chi energy, while I thought to myself, “Can’t I just lie back and relax?” Plus, I was paying her to massage me, not to lecture me, so why was she talking so much? I think she could be a good fit for people who are looking for someone to chat with and get opinions and advice from. But not me :)
The search continues! When I search on Yelp for massage therapists, the ones with high ratings often go for $120 – $130/hr. Yeesh. Should I just bite the bullet and try one of them? Or should I continue on my quest for a more reasonably priced ($80/hr range) massage therapist?