Website Review:

It must be tough living the life of a professional massage therapist.

On a good day, you spend your time working the muscles of well-heeled strangers, occasionally placing a hot rock on their backs or perhaps applying soothing unguents to the crevices between their toes. They’re relaxed, pampered, on the verge of a physical and spiritual rejuvenation, while you’re using your years of schooling in the ayurvedic arts in hopes of making enough tips to repay your student loan.

On a bad day, you’re clarifying your skill sets to a befuddled long-haul trucker whose interest in “massage” begins with the second letter of that word and ends with the fourth.

A proficiently administered massage, in the hands of a trained masseuse, can be a wonderful thing, bringing a sense of well-being to bodies over-exerted by the stress of everyday life. It’s a chance to step back from the rat race and give in to that guilty pleasure you’ve secretly harbored for new-age music and scented candles. Unfortunately, its image is too frequently sullied by purveyors of another, lower-class type of rubbing — the “adult hostess” whose “escort services” include “massage” along with posing, squatting and as much fondling of themselves as of others.

I wouldn’t claim to know anything about this baser style of entertainment, not in a public blog any way. But I have had an authentic, above-board massage on several occasions, and I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it immensely if I weren’t scared witless by physical contact with others. So I thought I’d investigate the ins and outs of therapeutic massage (though I understand they don’t like the term “ins and outs”) in this week’s Website Review.

For my subject, I’ve chosen the site Obviously, they don’t do the massage through the website; you have to show up at their salon in a major city not far from my home. The “DB” in the name stands for Day Break, not for “denuded bodies,” not for “don’t blow,” and not for legendary hijacker D.B. Cooper, the guy who extorted $200,000 from Northwest Airlines and escaped via parachute over Washington State in 1971 (after all, why would you touch strangers if you had two hundred grand in ransom cash?).

Day Break’s home page is a simple affair, featuring a large close-up of either a bowl of jasmine petals gently floating in water, or an especially thin cabbage soup. You’re invited to “enjoy a respite from your hectic schedule,” and you don’t have to feel guilty about it because “massage is no longer a luxury, it is a healthy necessity,” though they do note elsewhere that it’s not covered by any insurance plan known to mankind.

Under the “Day Break Difference” heading, they describe their focus on offering “the best possible massage experience for the client, not on the quantity of massages performed,” so you can linger peacefully on a table rather than being rapidly kneaded in passing. All massage therapists must clear an extensive background check, because nothing ruins a soothing diversion like the fear that there’s a registered sex offender hovering inches above your half-dressed form.

The “Benefits of Massage” are described as “numerous and significant.” The style they use most often incorporates “touch therapy,” which I would think is a good idea for virtually any massage. Practitioners focus on “soft tissue dysfunctions” (the tissue may later become hard), and might provide “dramatic results” for conditions as unlikely as asthma, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, and scarring. Their “knowledge of anatomy and physiology” will guarantee that they don’t accidentally massage your face when your biggest complaint is abdominal bloating.

I won’t name the individual staff members listed on the site, but you can trust that they are “passionate” about their work, travelled to Thailand, got an MBA from Wake Forest, or first became interested in massage while working for a dentist. Several of them are LMBTs (Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist) and at least one of the therapists has pursued additional coursework in something called “myofascial release” (hello!).

The “In-Studio” experience can generally take the form of one of three styles: therapeutic massage, sometimes called “Swedish”; neuromuscular and trigger point therapy, which “balances the person’s body over gravity” (presumably so you won’t go floating away during your session); and pregnancy massage. All three are reasonably priced between $65 and $75 an hour, certainly more expensive than the therapeutic benefits of a haircut but not as costly as legal advice. For only $20 more, you can get an additional 30 minutes of manipulation, a remarkable deal that makes me suspect you’re actually unconscious at that point and they’ve gone out for a bagel.

Finally, I’ll summarize a few of the Frequently Asked Questions. When should you NOT get a massage? If you are ill with an infectious disease, a fracture, or have open skin lesions, though the therapist will be willing to work around the latter if they’re localized and not actively oozing. What should you expect during your massage? You should talk with your masseuse before-hand to “determine what massage modality best fits your needs,” likely to include “vibration, percussion, effleurage, petrissage and whatever they think will work best for your muscles.” How should you dress for your massage? You can dress or undress to your comfort level, even leaving garments on, which the therapist will work around “as best they can.” I’d probably be most at ease in a full business suit, which hopefully they could massage through.

As for the proverbial elephant in the room (who, I imagine, would require one of the 90-minute sessions), they answer the question “what is NOT appropriate during a massage?” The following are strictly forbidden: foul language, arriving intoxicated, or “asking for more than a massage, i.e., sexual favors.” These can result in termination of the relationship, or simply allow you to take it to another level. However, “it is OK for your therapist to massage your buttocks/gluteal muscles.”

I guess using the term “gluteal muscle” is one way to keep those truckers at bay.


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7 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. LaVonne Says:

    The web site states,

    Day Break’s concept blends the best of both spa and clinical massage while offering our clients a true massage “experience.”

    Why do they put “experience” in quotation marks? Are they suggesting that true massage is not an actual “experience”? Maybe it’s to clarify things for that trucker who is looking for an “experience” – preferably one with a happy ending.

  2. planetross Says:

    I stayed at a massage/hostel place in Ecuador. All the staff walked around in outfits that made me feel like I was in a Bond villain’s lair.
    Good massages though … and cheap beer at the bar afterwards.

  3. tom1950 Says:

    I spent one year on a ship out of Sasebo, and three years at Misawa (both in Japan) and the therapeutic massage is everything it is advertised to be. It is easy to find “massage parlors” in any fleet town, but once you locate a genuine resort that offers massage you could end up spending your entire leave/liberty in one spot. These resorts are typically located near/on a hot spring and the massage is coupled with a hot bath guaranteed to strip off several layers of skin with their heat. THEN you get the massage.


  4. bearmancartoons Says:

    Massaging the face actually helps abdominal bloating. Especially if they are forcing my mouth shut thus keeping me from eating and getting bloated in the first place.

  5. wrjones Says:

    So I’m guessing this place does not offer the hormone massage.

  6. Money System Says:

    I have read first two paragraphs, i have no time right now to read the rest, but i have bookmarked your blog for further reading.

  7. xxjordanxx Says:

    Wow, what great comments and stories! So glad that Im not the only one going through all of this! Thanks for sharing your stories with me too!

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