I’m a firm believer in the personal bubble. I swerve stranger’s hugs like a game of dodgeball and I get seriously cranky if a passerby is walking on my heels. So that’s why at 27 years old, I can unashamedly admit that I have never had a massage before. 😱
And truly, unless bae decides to get real Swedish and surprise me with a post-workout backrub, I never really planned on having one either. But lately my body has been falling apart. I swear, I think my right foot is popping Ambien, and I’m pretty sure the reoccurring crick in my neck has caused my head to look permanently curious. So since there’s a fabulous new massage studio in town, I figured I would take a stab at fixing these oddities and embrace my touchy-feely side at SouthPark’s brand new Zen Massage.
Nestled in the heart of Piedmont Town Center, this posh studio is both convenient to the mall and super close to home (which could prove to be very dangerous for me in the coming months 💵 ). So I showed up 10 minutes early to my 12pm appointment, with just enough time to take a few deep breaths and calm my racing nerves. I walked in and I was greeted by a super cute receptionist (with an accent 🙌 ) who introduced me to the place. When I mentioned that this was my first massage ever, he reassured me that with Gina as my masseuse, I would be in very good hands. (Later I realized he probably meant to say god-sent hands. 😇 )
Then he gave me a clipboard with a couple of liability release forms to sign and a fun little worksheet that instructed me to label the parts of the body that were causing me issues. I circled the shoulders/neck area and the lower back regions. I also left a side note that I’m a runner and I’ve been experiencing some of the textbook #runningprobz (mostly in hopes that a pair of fresh legs would help make this Tuesday’s hill workout a tad bit easier…).
Less than five minutes later, the acclaimed Gina came out to greet me with the most comforting smile. It was as if she could read the uneasiness on my face and was silently reassuring me that she was not going to torture me back there.
She led me to a serene, dimly-lit room with the most therapeutic music playing in the background. The room was set up in a simple, no frills layout: a cozy massage bed to the left and lotions & a towel heater to the right. No distracting rock waterfalls or overly sensual candles, like what you see in the movies.
Gina addressed the issues I noted earlier on the worksheet and presented me with an assortment of aromatherapy scents to choose from. Then she instructed me to “undress to my comfort level” as she left the room. I hurriedly stripped down and hopped under the covers of the massage table lying in front of me. Much to the surprise of my shivering body, it was heated and the warm embrace of the sheets instantly melted my cold skepticism about all of this.
After a few minutes, Gina reentered the room with another one of her friendly smiles. Before she reached for the lotion, I had to blurt out the one question that had been burning in my mind all morning: “Is it okay if I fall asleep?” (Given that I was already exhausted from last night’s shenanigans, I had to make sure it was kosher before I possibly became the most obnoxious client ever). She kindly replied, “Of course it is! In fact, in this industry, it’s actually considered a compliment.” Thank God! That’s one less fear off my checklist (right behind twitching uncontrollably and well, farting).
So I nestled into the warm cocoon and placed my face in the fluffy donut hole at the end of the bed. Gina placed a hot towel on my back and got right to work. She started with my shoulders and worked her way down to my lower back. From what I could tell, she immediately located some stubborn knots, because she started kneading them like she was baking the world’s toughest pizza. No lies, it hurt. But it was a good hurt.
After she successfully hammered those buggers to dust, she moved on to my legs. For some reason, it took me awhile to get comfortable with the fact that someone was rubbing my calves. (Probably because the only action those parts have seen has been a soccer cleat or two back in the day). But once I let my guard down, I realized that as a runner, I needed this more than anything. As she caressed, pulled, and kneaded, I envisioned myself crossing my next finish line with Bolt-like speed.
Next up: my feet, my arms, and some more of my back (all of which felt divine). I was finally starting to enjoy myself and get the hang of this being pampered thing when the unthinkable happened. 😫 Approximately 3/4 of the way into the massage, my spring rolls from the night before decided to speak up in my tummy. We’re talkin’ all the rumbles, gurgles, and roars that could possibly come from a midsection. My zen was officially interrupted when I faced reality that these annoying stomach songs could possibly become something worse in about 10 minutes. Oh God, was my worst fear about to come true?
Thankfully we moved on to massaging my head, and my lower body was left to lie motionless for the remainder of the session. Two minutes into the scalp massage and I completely forgot about my belly’s Asian orchestra. I was too busy discovering that this is what heaven actually feels like. Guys, that scalp massage was unreal. It was ten times better than any Head & Shoulders commercial you’ve ever seen on TV.
We wrapped up the 1 hr. session with a few more backrubs and then Gina politely excused herself while I put my clothes back on. I couldn’t believe how mellow I felt. My body had never been more at ease and my spirits was on Cloud 9. The massage had realigned my muscles and erased all of my troubles.
And then when I walked out to my car and took a peek in the rear-view, I realized just how Zen’ed out I really was…
This experience was everything and more for me, so now I want to share it with y’all! Zen Massage SouthPark has teamed up with me to give away one Swedish Massage ($59.95 value) to one of my #fitfriends! To enter, scoot on over to my Instagram page for official rules. I will be selecting the lucky winner on Tuesday, March 28th at 12pm EST. Good luck!!