Guys, have you ever had a massage?

I’m feeling some pretty bad stress right now and I think I could go for a massage. I’ve had two in my life. Both were from men. The first was from a shrunken Nepalese guy and it was very weird as it was performed in his home while his family sat around their wood stove and ate lentils. The second was at a spa place and it was one of the weirder, funnier experiences of my life. The guy was this real new age weirdo who used pan-pipe music, candles, and was obviously a little fruity ( I mean that in the most unoffensive way possible). Neither time was particularly de-stressing but I’m willing to give it another shot.

Realistically, I think I’d much rather have a slightly plain, older woman with strong hands doing the massage. If it was a young pretty girl I’d be very self conscious (and realistically, probably turned on).

But what are your experiences? Have any of you had good, relaxing massages? If you know of some place to go in the DC area, even better.

I don’t know how to tell you this, ElGuapo, but I’m pretty sure what you’ve just told us means you’re gay.

Seriously, though, massages are awesome. Unless they’re intended that way – in which case the discussion probably deserves a separate thread – there’s really nothing sexual about a massage. However, there’s a very different energy when you’re getting a massage from a dude or a chick. Dude massages are very sports-like. But there’s something almost maternal about a good massage from a woman. I definitely prefer getting massages from women. Young pretty girls are all good and well, but a good massage requires strong hands and an attentive touch. You have the right idea.

And unless you get a personal recommendation, there’s really no telling what you’re going to get. I’ve had great massages for $20 bucks, and really horrible massages for $60. I had someone rub salt into my skin – holy crap, that hurt! – for some ridiculous price at a spa in New Mexico. And in Prague, I had some ungodly great Thai massages for the equivalent of about $10.

If you’re feeling stressed, I absolutely recommend looking for a massage. You can often get great deals through massage schools, who I presume offer massages from students trying to build up experience or something.

Also, when you schedule it, don’t try to cram it into your lunch hour or anything. Be sure to schedule time afterwards to just relax and enjoy the pleasant buzz.


In my experience, there are two kinds of messages: the relaxing and the therapeutic. The relaxing kind, whether it involves hot rocks or mud or something, never did much for me. It’s pleasant, but fleeting. But the therapeutic - sometimes called the sports massage - has been really helpful with some of the tension I’ve had in my back, particularly my lats. Often it is a little bit painful while it happens, but if it is done correctly I feel much better, especially when I return to my chair. EA brings in a masseuse once a week, and at first I was dismissive because I just sit all day - but then a friend highly recommended a therapeutic massage and I’m glad I tried it out.

Don’t be fooled by massage’s reputation as a luxury for the idle rich - if you have any type of stiffness in your shoulders or back, I highly recommend a good sports massage.

I actually trained as a massage practitioner so I can offer some tips.

The quality of a massage depends, obviously, almost entirely on the practitioner. The quality of the practitioner can be affected a lot by what the area’s requirements are to practice. New York and Washington state, for instance, have pretty strict laws and require a great deal of training meaning that the general quality of a massge there tends to be pretty good. I have no idea what the requirements in DC area. If the Nepalese guy was in the DC area then it sounds like the local laws might be pretty fast and loose.

It’s really an industry that requires some shopping around. You go to one and, if they don’t cut it for you, you go to a different one the next time. Repeat until you find one that you like. LMP’s have different styles that cater to different expectations. I’m sure the pan flute guy has a solid clientele that find candles and new age are exactly what they’re looking for.

Let me know where you end up going, for good or for ill. I’m curious myself.

PMs are for wimps.

I’ve only had one massage in recent years, and that was only after my doctor had recommended it. My back was in pretty rough shape after I’d badly reached for a large two-pack of Mott’s Clamato at Costco’s. My masseuse was probably in her late 20s, not unattractive, and had a piercing through her lower lip. The session was definitely relaxing, though I’m such a vigorous go-getter that I always felt I could be making better use of my time (i.e. “I could be watching a movie right now.”). And my back pain did go away… for all of two hours. Multiple sessions were recommended, but I wasn’t going to pay what I’d just paid on a regular basis.

Looking back, I probably should’ve tried another massage by a different therapist. The other person in that office was an older Chinese guy with a more high-impact technique, and my coworkers had recommended that I try him. For now, I’ll just do as little heavy lifting as possible.

Also kind of depends if you’re willing to invest in a full-body massage or a chair massage - the costs are of course much different and the kind of therapy you receive is just as different. I used to get chair messages every couple of weeks and I shopped around a bit before I found some women (I had one by a man once - the husband of one of the women - and it was fine, but typically I don’t take massages from men… maybe I’m homophobic) that I liked and new their schedule on a regular basis. Plus massage therapists are almost always looking for more business, and know who to recommend - depending on their style of therapy.

For instance, the ones I like go deep and really work the muscles - the kind of chair massages that make you sweat a lot (that’s how some people pass out). … and typically stay away from the “fru-fru” folks that just move your arms, rub your back and just jam their elbows someplace obvious… or have you do breathing exercises or insist on using lotion (for a chair massage, they should always ask to use lotion instead of just using it).

Unfortunately the two best massage therapists I knew moved out (one to New Mexico, the other to Denver) and the one I was using… well I live in Austin now, so it’s not very economical to drive back up to Dallas just for a massage.

The other deal was that the Borders chain in the D/FW region set up their own therapist schedule, while in Austin they don’t do that at all. I guess Whole Foods does it but I hardly go to WF much (though honestly I should if I want better organic food but that’s another post…). Not sure where else I can get a decent chair massage around here.

— Alan

How can you go to a roll party and escape without a massage?

Oh yeah, forgot to mention… in the US the going rate is roughly $.90 - $1.00 per minute. Some may discount more if more time is offered. This usually extends across chair and full body massages. In some places where massage therapy is saturated (like New Mexico) the rates are typically lower for small business massages (ie. one or two people) but the big frills relax-style places like in Taos can get expensive.

— Alan

We have a Masseuse part time at work - we pay half and my employer pays half which ends up at about $14,5 (in crazy Danish money) for half an hour.
It used to be a big strong man, but now it’s a pretty (but strong) girl.
Therapeutic massage and worth every penny when you sit in a chair for 8 hours a day.

go for it.

I just assumed he was offering.

“Do you want a massage, or do you want some dainty backrub?” is how my masseuse puts it. She’s great. I used to go to a gym/spa to get it done, but home visits are so much nicer. She can get all three of us in one go, which is better for her and better for us.

Once a year our company has a “health” fair where you walk through one tent filled with healthcare people trying to sell you crap and then you go sit in another tent and gorge on trans-fats and soda. Anyway, there’s always a massage area in the “health” tent. The massage people are wierd and they always try to sell people on snake oil type crap like ear candles but apparently they give good massages so whatever.

This year we went to the tent and the two dudes I was hanging out with elected to get massages. They had them lean into these wierd massage chairs that you sit on and then lean forward with your face in a face cushion that has a hole in it so you can breath. One guy was getting a massage from a cute chick with piercings but my other friend was getting massaged by a guy.

The thing was, the way the system worked was that the masseuse was bent over the recipient in a way that looked very inappropriate. I took a photo of it on my cell phone camera and then showed it to everybody at work and we all laughed and laughed. Then that guy got his wife pregnant like the very next day to compensate.

I suffered from chronic back pain from about 17 to 23 and I still have very few days without pain. Whilst the chiropractor is the one I would credit with sorting it out to the point where I wasn’t banging painkillers everyday, I still go to a masseuse every couple of months for basic maintenance.

To echo others in this thread, you may not realize how tense you are until someone starts kneading those points, but a good massage every so often will help keep you free from muscle tension caused by stress, work, computer screens, etc.

I’ve had massages in Thailand, very relaxing indeed.

I had a great foot massage in Thailand. Very cheap and absolutely fantastic.

I also had a full body massage on the beach. At the time I had gotten my hair done in braids, leading to a heavy center parting showing skin which had never seen the sun before, resulting in a terrible sunburn on my scalp.

My ex-wife was having the same massage next to me and I could hear her moaning as they started massaging her head. I could only hear her above my screams as the woman dug her thumbs into my sunburn!

However, massages are great things to treat yourself to once in a while - nice to feel pampered and a bit special.

Massage is a great thing. It’s a shame that it gets lumped in with all the woo out there (bullshit Lay On Hands Reiki healing and the like). Massage actually can have scientifically measurable health benefits - for one thing it can open your lymphnodes which can provide a boost to your immune system. It also feels pretty damn good and is great at relieving stress.

Unfortunately I have to lump chiropractic in with bullshit woo. It’s high-quality snake oil no doubt, refined with a century of acceptance into our culture. However, if you buy into it, I’ll sell you some magic pills that will increase your sexual prowess. They’re made from a dilution of tiger wang. Very potent. And expensive.

Basically what I’m referring to when I say “chair message.”

— Alan

I have regular massages and consider it integral to maintaining my health. The issues from knotted up muscles radiate all over your body. Regularly working out the trigger points and releasing the toxins from your muscles always makes me feel better and stay sick much less. Especially for us desk jockeys who sit hunched over a computer all day.

I feel my best when I go (at least) once a month. I have a massage school right around the corner from me so it helps keep the cost down. I’ve always gone to a female. What can I say? I like women, it’s an intimate (not sexual) experience and having one rub me does help with relaxation.

So I highly recommend them. In your case you might want to schedule a couple about 2 weeks apart. Just be sure to drink a lot of water and stretch out daily.

Oh, and a good chiropractor is certainly not bullshit. Your entire body is wired to your spinal column. A misaligned spine causes all sorts of issues due to stress on your nervous system. Usually though it’s knotted up muscles, bad posture, etc. that cause it to be out of line. So I prefer working out regularly and massages to prevent it ever happening. That said, a bad chiropractor will definitely leave a bad impression for a long time.

Based on… what? Conjecture? Common sense thinking? Chiropractic certainly rivals the placebo effect in terms of efficacy, but honestly is that really saying much?