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Friday, December 31, 2010

Massage - Not for the Modest!

I have hemmed and hawed about whether to share this level of detail, but in the spirit of saving you the trouble before booking your Ayurvedic massage… READ THIS. We are in Sri Lanka at this most fabulous beach house and in addition to having a full time cook, house manager, tuck-tuck (auto-rickshaw) at our disposal; Ayurvedic massage can be done in your room. I am a beauty addict. Massage, facials, nails, hair, lotions and potions; I am ready to fork over my green backs in a moment’s notice. I called up Priyanaka from Sri Lanka, sounds like a poem, but this experience was not so melodic.

Priyanka, who is male, arrived at 6pm. He is about 5 feet tall barefoot wearing his clinical white coat and black trousers. His backpack was large and he quickly moved to my room, stripped the bed and laid several large towels down. I was slightly nervous; however Doug and my mom were sitting in the living room just a few feet away. Standing there observing the entire transformation of my room into a make-shift spa, I didn’t know what to do. Priyanka instructed me to sit in my chair. And so the process began.

Eyes closed, I could feel the oil run down my forehead and through my scalp. Was it peppermint or lemon? Both? The cool ooze seemed to console my sunburned head, only to be abruptly interrupted by a fierce slapping on the top of my head. What a way to ruin the moment. I could bare this for a little bit but it seemed never ending. Eventually the head spanking ended and Priyanka began his vigorous head and neck massage. I have been an active yogi for about 9 years and my neck is my Achilles tendon. When I am stressed that is where I feel pain, and when I am in a yoga posture – that will be the stiff spot any given day. I enjoyed the rub down and Priyanka was able to tell that my neck has a “blockage that would cause pain” without me preempting it. Ok so he knows something.

My bliss was broken by a short clip “take off your clothes and lay on the bed.” Weird, I am an American – so slightly repressed. I quickly undressed leaving on my underwear. Priyanka worked on my back for some time, more bliss. I was about to fall asleep when he asked me to get up and kneel on the floor over a crock-pot. I popped up half naked, grabbing the towel to cover up and kneel on a folded towel. The steaming crock-pot smelled lemony. I was instructed to put my face over the pot and inhale deeply, it was lemon leaf and very good me. Suddenly a sheet was pulled over me and tightly closed just as the lid was removed from the crock-pot. The steam was stifling. So here I sit half-naked on a towel inhaling lemon leaf water with a sheet closed tightly over my head. I felt like I might become the next CSI victim. This entire experience was followed by a deep facial massage; the next day my sinuses never felt so good. Doug popped his head in the room about 45 minutes into the ordeal to make sure I was OK. There I sat in my underwear in our desk chair while Priyanka was dumping more oil on my head. He quickly closed the door, I guess that was enough to know I was not in danger.

While this entire experience was not really relaxing, I slept very well and my neck did not hurt for a full night ...the first time in five months. My hair was the real victim. It took about four washings and two trips into the ocean to rid the oil from my locks. The oil coupled with the moisture was a recipe for disaster. Doug thought I looked like Bo Derek in 10, however I knew that was really a ploy :) I felt more like Lenny Kravets and that was not a good look for the whitest gal in Sri Lanka. My advice is – massage in India or Sri Lanka is not for the modest or the girl that needs lovely locks for work the next day.

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