My upper back, neck, and shoulders have been a bundle of knots for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned to live with the constant dull ache. Lately they have been somewhat more tense and achy though. Probably from the lack of movement due to my unemployed, lazy ass firmly planted on the couch and binge watching Netflix. I decided I really need a massage. But the aforementioned unemployment doesn’t afford one’s life with such luxuries. So I turned to the god of online couponing that is Groupon. What’s this? A 60 minute Energetic Massage for only $38? Sign me up! Now the word energetic should have raised a red flag but I, apparently not in possession of all my skeptical faculties, took that word to mean the dictionary definition:
1. possessing or exhibiting energy, especially in abundance; vigorous
2. powerful in action or effect; effective
Exactly what I need. Someone full of vim and vigor to get right in there with gusto to grind those knots into oblivion. Shhhh. Don’t judge, it was late and I was achy.
With my Groupon purchased I was off to the company website to book my appointment. This is when I realized that I’ve made a horrible mistake. The website is an instant whack of woo right in the kisser. Plenty of pictures of people relaxing with hands hovering a few inches above them. What have I done?! Oh well. Non-refundable Groupon means I’m stuck with it. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually get something out of it and I do enjoy trying new things. I’ve never had my chakras balanced before so they must be helluva out of kilter by now!
I arrive for my appointment with my cell phone dutifully in hand and my Groupon on display as has been the customary first step with this form of payment. The small office is pleasant enough. Pillows and softness, dimly lit with salt lamps that boast of some sort of healing powers. Jackie (my energy healing practitioner) appears from a different room and stops short when she sees me holding the phone. She curtly tells me to power the phone completely off IMMEDIATELY. I’m pretty sure she thinks she will burst into flames if this does not happen within a matter of seconds. We are off to an awkward start. I must then fill out the obligatory intake form. It is now that I notice the sign about cellphones which states “The microwaves that wireless devices emit mess up the energy in this space and our practitioners are super sensitive to electromagnetic static. This is non-negotiable in this space.” Yup. This is gonna be GREAT!
One of the questions on the form asks what I want to get out of today’s session. Choices are things like relaxation, peace of mind, or clarity. I decided on energized. I was curious about the dichotomy of how a generally relaxing experience would energize me. I am then instructed to lay fully clothed on my back on a very comfy massage table and Jackie takes a seat at my head. She tells me what she is going to do and asks me some standard questions about previous injuries to any parts of my body. She informs me that as she activates my chakras and works her way down to my central area, I shouldn’t be surprised if my stomach starts growling like I’m hungry. It’s just the energy moving around or something. It did (embarrassingly) do just that for most of the session although I’m suspecting it may be the fault of the Pepsi I probably should not have consumed beforehand and not phantom belly energy. So with my dulcet gas bubble tummy rumblings accompanying the soothing new age music, Jackie proceeded to suck the bad energy out of me.
She began with a lovely head massage. I closed my eyes to enjoy the moment. She asked me if I could see colours while my eyes are closed. I said yes. She asked me what colour. I wasn’t really sure but I didn’t want to leave her hanging so I said blue. She asked if it was dark blue. Sure, why not. I said yes. She said that means that I have a gift and a great power. Fear not mortals! I hereby pledge to use this great power only for good. She was silent after that as she moved onto a light face massage followed by an ear rub. This was stimulating what she had earlier referred to as micro energy spots. My right ear was being gently rubbed which was pleasant enough but she was uncomfortably tugging at my left ear at the same time. But I guess my micro energy spots were grateful for the stimulation. She moved down my neck and pushed her fingers into what I can only assume are imaginary pressure points. I got a little anticipatory as my neck is where the tension is. But alas, the slight pushing was not meant to turn into a full-blown massage and she moved to my side where she gently massaged down my right arm and hand.
Then down my right leg to my foot. I was reveling in the lovely foot massage when I remembered that she mentioned earlier that she would be doing some reflexology. Reflexology is defined as “gentle manipulation or pressing on certain parts of the foot to produce an effect elsewhere in the body." I tried to imagine that she was somehow manipulating a different part of my body as she pressed on certain areas of my feet. I had to suppress a giggle.
After a repeat performance up the left side, I switched to laying on my stomach. Then came a less thorough light massage from my feet back up to my head. I once again got a little excited when she found some tender spots on my back and pushed ever so slightly. The dialogue in my head went something like this. “Oh yeah. Riiiiggghhhtt there. Push a little harder. No harder. HARDER!” Then “Nooooooo!” as she moved on and left me unfulfilled. Like bringing your lover to the brink of climax and abruptly leaving the room.
This was also when she started talking again and told me that the colour of my energy is indigo moving towards crystal. This is the gift she had mentioned earlier. It means I’m an empath apparently. She emailed me some information after the session with much helpful advice including one pamphlet called “You’re an Empath… Now What? A Resource Guide With 15 Powerful Tips to Develop Inner Power and Energetic Balance.” Ugh. This massage comes with homework! That’s not even all the homework either. It seems that I also need to balance my root chakra. Another pamphlet called “10 Ways to Clear Your Root Chakra” gives me helpful suggestions such as belly breathe, dance, garden, wear a pleasing shade of red and walk barefoot in nature.
Yet another pamphlet informs me that due to energy shifting throughout my body and re-balancing and toxins being released after the treatment, I may experience side effects such as:
1. Crying for no reason
3. Extreme tiredness
4. Feeling hot or cold
5. Increased urination
7. Travelling aches or pains throughout bodySounds like something you would see on a drug commercial! I thankfully have NOT had any of these side effects yet. Wait. Does crying over wasting $38 count as no reason?
After the session I joined Jackie at a desk with a computer in the very same room. I REALLY hope that computer doesn’t have Wi-Fi. Seriously. She could have killed us all. But it clearly had a way of connecting to the Internet as she was able to find and process my Groupon as well as email me my homework. I then left with a complimentary baggy of Epsom salts, a divine blessing and a hope that side effect #2 didn’t hit me on the drive home.
Bottom line is that I feel not a jot different than when I walked in there. Even though the whole experience was not bad and even pleasant at times, my aching neck and shoulders are still super tense. I am grateful that it was hands on at least. Even though the pressure was too little to have any effect on my sore muscles, the gentle massage was more enjoyable than a person simply hovering their hands two feet above my body. But Chakras, reflexology and energy healing are all things that have zero evidence to support their efficacy and absolutely no scientific basis in fact. It is ancient made-up pseudoscience. Spend your money on a real massage. Speaking of which, I’m off to check Groupon again. Sigh….