Monday, February 13, 2012

Special Spaces: the Spa Experience

At Bodyline Massage Clinic, Iligan City

For the whole of my twenty two years of existence, I have only ever been in a spa thrice. No, I don't mean I don't go into spas and sit around. I mean I've only ever experienced actually being the customer thrice. My mother goes to massage parlors a lot because she's a teacher and her back aches a lot (although I'm not quite sure if the connection between teaching and back aches should be taken into consideration). Since I'm the youngest of two (duh) and am the only one who can be forced into chaperoning a parent, I was always the one who goes out with her. Okay, they don't force me to go because, with proper lighting, I actually like reading in spas because of their music. The atmosphere is also very relaxing usually and I know this is because it's supposed to be that way. And I also love reading their magazines, which is actually where I started to fall in love with fashion and all things girly. Anyway, I'm veering away from what I'm supposed to be telling you. 

 Okay, the first time I was actually a customer at a spa was when I was an intern in Cebu City. We had a chance to shoot at..hmm..I don't really remember the name of the spa but it had the word 'queen' in it, I think. It was for an advertising spot and we got to interview the owner and test their amenities. I went into a dry sauna where you had to lie on a flat marble bed and they'd raise the temperature to sweating point. It was supposed to release toxins from the body through sweat and was supposed to be relaxing. I admit it was fun but I was too busy trying to keep calm, stay still and breathe to actually enjoy it. The humidity made it hard to breathe and there was no way I was going to walk out because of it. I'm stubborn like that. So if I had fainted inside, that would be the end of me and well, I would probably rather die than to face my supervisors after a fainting spell. So glad that didn't happen. 

 Now, because we were television people and good props from us meant good business for them, the spa gave us free gift certificates. I mentioned that my mother liked going to spas, right? So I brought her with me to experience that dry stone sauna thing. I was hoping she would have something good to say about it because I evidently didn't. She had more experience with relaxation services so her opinion must count. Lo and behold, she didn't enjoy it either, at least that's what I think she really meant by the 'it was okay' comment she made when we got out. I know she wasn't relaxed and was also probably comparing the experience to that of being steamed inside a microwave. (side comment: I just heard the spa people say hot stone which was probably what the spa I'm talking about was)(and yes, I'm writing this inside a spa, waiting for my mother to finish getting a back massage.) 

 The third time, and the first time I really felt relaxed in a spa, was just last December. I got my parents to allow me to get a back massage with my mother. I have scoliosis, so getting into massage parlors was slightly detrimental to my health especially if the one assigned to me accidentally pushed on a wrong muscle connected to a bone connected to my nerves. I've been in physical therapy for almost three years but lacked the discipline to follow through with home exercises. I've been through manipulations that would make anyone watching say 'ouch' while my therapists sweat and I just laugh at the ticklish pain I was feeling. So really, massage parlors pose no threat for me. Anyway, we went to Oasis Spa which was the nearest to our house and waited for the service to begin. (sorry for the lack of pictures. I wasn't planning on writing about it back then.) So first they gave my feet a bath in warm water, to relax it or clean it or exfoliate it, I really don't know. Then we went upstairs to a room full of beds, some which looked like the hospital beds I used to have therapy in, and others low like mattresses on the floor. I think those were for the Thai massages. The beds had a face hole! (surprise, surprise *insert sarcasm) Since the lady in charge was told of my condition, she just lightly massaged my whole body. 

 Now I'm not going to comment more about the massage aside from the fact that I didn't feel a thing because it was too light like she was afraid she would break my bones or something. What I am going to talk about next is the question that popped into my mind while my face was inside that bed hole: what do people think about while staring at the floor? 

 Well, the first thing I thought about was how nice it would be if they had attached a tv under there so we could enjoy a favorite show while being pampered. At least it would distract us from the tickling the therapists were doing to our feet and such. The idea probably came from one of the many movies I've watched that had some scene of rich people getting pampered in VIP rooms. Then I thought of this blog post, which by then was too late to take pictures for. Boohoo. 

 What would teachers be thinking of? Would their thoughts be about their students, that one boy who couldn't stay still, that other child who was too smart for his age, that talkative girl who can't seem to shut up? Or maybe their lesson plans and how to implement them properly. Or maybe their personal lives that most students tend not to think teachers have. 

 What about engineers or politicians or nurses? What would these people think about during that free hour when the stresses of everyday living were slowly being released by the trained hands of the spa therapists? It seems mundane but it would be interesting to know what thoughts run through their minds and if they were ever conscious of those thoughts passing by. Maybe I could do a project about that but it would defeat the point of the customers to be free of duties while in a spa. Unless of course there would be volunteers for this, =) 

 By the end of the experience, I actually had fun. I admit, it was relaxing to have someone pamper your stressed muscles like that. But the experience was made better because I was with my mother and I had a lot of ideas for blog posts. I guess that was the best part actually, the time to organize what I wanted to say and what I wanted to post. It was a beautiful time well spent with my own thoughts. 

 Spas are great and I'd love to experience them in other forms given the chance. For now, I think I'll be better off forcing myself to do back exercises...because it's free! 

 Have a great day!

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