the rest is still unwritten

Sunday, September 4, 2011

WTW?! : Ventosa—the Massage Aftermath

I love getting massages.

In the past few years, the home-service salon/spa industry really boomed here in Manila. You no longer have to leave your home to avail of  a massage, mani-pedi, haircut, body scrub or a wax (but I'm not sure if they wax you down there...). My parents and I, as well as friends and relatives have all become suki (regulars) to our own home-service providers. We each have our favorite therapists, a list of back-ups and a list of never-again's (I'm talking about you MJ...).

Last week, Saturday afternoon, I was hired to write a pretty extensive literature review on a subject I knew absolutely nothing about. Oh, and it was due in four days. I had about six months to work on my college lit review. The lit review for this proposal was intended for an actual real-world, real-results study. Needless to say, I spent the next four days either hunched over, staring at Darla (my laptop) or poring over text books, practical guides and manuals on Internal Auditing (soooo random, right?!).

Wednesday morning came, the paper was passed, a meeting with the client was attended and I finally got a full night's sleep.

Thursday morning. My neck, shoulders and upper back reminded me of the strain and heartless torture I put them through by stiffening up and making me almost unable to move. I thought to myself:



I called the service, set an appointment with Ellen (Love her! I sometimes call her Big Bertha in my head cos she's large and in charge, and supah strong!) and went about my day (and by went about my day, I really mean sat in a chair and moped because I couldn't move!).

At 8:30, Ellen came and started to set up. What I didn't mention is that every time Ellen would come over, she'd recommend trying a Ventosa massage. Ventosa is a type of cupping therapy procedure. Basically, the therapist puts little jars with heated air on your back. As the air cools, it contracts and forms a suction effect. It is said to increase blood flow and induce relaxation.

So yeah, Ellen came and started to set up her jars and oils as I lay face-down on my mattress. Ellen started to explain that the massage would come first, then the Ventosa therapy. I absent-mindedly replied "Sure.Great. Yay.Pleasestart." Soon enough, Ellen started her pressing and kneading.

I was asleep in minutes.

I did wake up right when she was about to start the actual cupping. She heated up and placed about a dozen jars on my back let them do their thing, and repeated the process.

It felt just as I expected, like a dozen vacuum cleaners had attached themselves to my skinstrangely pleasant, but no more "relaxing" than a regular massage. 

When the two-hour session was done, Ellen started to pack up. As she did so she said, "Oh, you have a bunch of marks on your back". I thought to myself, Well, Ellen is a therapist so physical conditions are an everyday topic for her. But that was a bit tactless, I don't have backne.

A bit nonplussed, I thanked her, paid for the service and walked her to the door. I then walked into the bathroom to get ready for bed. In the bathroom, I found this:

Well, at least now I know what to do if ever I wanna dress up like a pepperoni pizza for Halloween...



Now I get it.

To be completely honest, I can't really tell if the Ventosa massage was any better than the usual massages I get from Ellen, what I do know is that it costs twice as much, and it leaves marks. To be fair, the stiffness in my neck, shoulders and upper back is significantly reduced.

So. Now that I've tried the much-anticipated Ventosa massage, would I try it again in the future?



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