I am back from Goa. More about the rest of the trip in a day or two. But I have to tell you about the massage.
The spa at the hotel I stayed in looked very good. We had gone on the first day of my arrival to take a look at what it had to offer. It was done up in ornate furniture, had soft music playing and had candles lighting up the place. It seemed really good. I checked out what they had to offer. One of the services was a 'Deep Tissue Massage'. I immediately started imagining a firm massage of my aching back (from the long travel I had had that day) and my entire body being relaxed by the procedure.
So, on the last evening of our stay there, I called the spa and booked an appointment for the 'Deep Tissue Massage'. I went at the appointed hour. To my shock, I was introduced to a young lady in her early twenties, possibly from China, Nepal or the North Eastern states of India. I had never had a massage done by a lady before. I concealed all emotion and walked with the lady to a massage room.
The room was dimly lit, had a soothing fragrance and had soft music playing, similar to a river flowing and a soft instrument playing alongside. I was asked to remove my T-shirt and lay on my stomach on a table. I did as I was told.
The lady then started the ritual of applying a fragrant oil on my back and started massaging my back. The strokes were very gentle at first. I started feeling quite relaxed. She asked if the pressure was all right. I nodded. Slowly she started increasing the pressure. It wasn't too bad.
At one point however, she took a finger from each of her hands and dragged them with great pressure from the middle of my back right up to the neck. Somewhere in the middle I could feel a crack as if the finger had slipped down a bone. At first, I thought I would protest and tell her that it was too hard. But then I remembered talking to my brother (who is some sort of an expert at getting massaged by petite young women) about 'hard massages'. He had said, "Though it may be slightly unpleasant during the massage, it can be immensely relaxing afterwards."
So, I decided to let her continue.
She continued that very stroke about 20 times.
The stroke then turned gentle again and at the end of it, she announced that the treatment was completed. I made some polite conversation and exited.
Till about two hours - nothing. I was thinking to myself, I must get this done more often. I was actually feeling quite nice. My back was feeling relaxed. I headed to the beach and played around in the water for a while, had a shower and then took a dip in the swimming pool before heading back to my room.
Then, it slowly began. Pain in my upper back. Radiated towards the shoulders, my lower spine and my thighs and calves as well. Within about half an hour I was rolling in pain! I was wondering what could have caused it. For some time, I wasn't ready to believe that the massage was the cause. What could a massage have to do with this, I reasoned.
Was this a conspiracy? The masseuse trying to finish me off, perhaps?
I got some muscle relaxant applied all over. This temporarily eased the pain. I had a quick dinner, took some paracetamol and a sedative and went to sleep. The next morning, the pain was back. Again some ointment and a paracetamol. This was the day we were heading back home. The pain was on and off pretty much the whole day and the next. Gradually, it wore off.
I feel much better now. But I will never forget the horrific massage which did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do.
Also, one little piece of advise - never ever have a hard massage. Always go for the soft one. And shout out loud if you feel even the slightest discomfort.