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I have never, nor do I anticipate ever being, a touchy-feely kind of person.  You know how some people will greet you with a hug, or a kiss or want to touch you when they talk to you?  That is SO not me.  In fact, those types of people make me really uncomfortable and want to run in the other direction.

It’s not that I’m not affectionate or anything.  I still kiss my son (who is almost 14) on the forehead every night and I’m delighted that he wants to give me an occasional hug.  And I love picking up and holding my 3 month old granddaughter.  But that’s it.  End of story.  Keep a respectable distance and just pretend I’m Howie Mandel.

So it may surprise you a bit to learn that I went for a Tui Na massage this weekend.  Yep, it surprised me too.  Years ago, when I was staying home with my youngest, I babysat for a friend’s couple of boys while she worked and went to nursing school.  As a surprise Christmas gift, she gave me a gift certificate for a massage…which I promptly regifted.  A couple years later when I started teaching, our principal brought in a massage therapist to give each of us a 10-minute neck and shoulder massage for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I spent MY 10 minutes chatting to the massage therapist instead.

What changed?  Well, any of you who have already read my blog over the past couple of weeks knows that I recently had a medical crisis.  When I was in the hospital (which had not happened since my son’s birth almost 14 years ago) I was inspected, poked and prodded constantly.  My family doctor and cardiologist both commented to me that I was “wrapped a little too tight”.

Ya think?  Could it be because you’re all touching me?  It was pure torture.  Everybody was very nice and all the procedures were quite necessary but to somebody who has such a strong aversion to other peoples’ hands on me, it was enough for me to have a meltdown.

But I did a lot of thinking in the hospital and at home during my recuperation.  Maybe I am wound a little too tightly.  See, I do everything on a schedule (examples:  Tuesday’s dinner will be Dijon mustard chicken.  Wednesday is the day I wipe down my kitchen appliances, clean out the frig and mop the kitchen floor.  Thursday’s dinner will be turkey burgers with sweet potato fries.  I think you get the idea).  I go to bed at the same time nightly.  I get up at the same time daily.  The Marines would have loved me…or at least I would have loved them.

And I was worried about the idea of prescription medications.  Drugs to make my LDL cholesterol go down.  Drugs to make my HDL cholesterol go up.  Drugs to help me stay calm and relaxed.  As someone who is determined to be green and not take medications, the thought of hitting up the drugstore was really heavy on my mind.

Maybe it was time to just get over it and try this massage thing.  Everyone I know who has ever had one raves about it.  So I took a deep breath, and a friend for moral support, and went.  Now, I must first tell you that I asked the poor man and woman who owned the spa about a million questions:  Will it hurt?  I can keep ALL my clothes on right?  If it feels weird, can I tap out?  Do I have to put my face there?  How often do you clean this chair thingy and what do you use?

They were so polite and accommodating that I finally decided to take the plunge.  At first, I was a little bit, okay a LOT, tense.  But I kept focusing on my breathing and asking God to let me just relax enough to not seem like a waste of time because, after all, these people were really nice and must already think I’m some kind of neurotic mess.

After about 5 minutes, I did start to give in and relax and then by the 15 minute mark, I was done for.  Luckily, the massage was only booked for 20 minutes because I swear, another 5 minutes and I would have been snoooooring!  It was amazing!!  All I could say to her when it was over was that I couldn’t believe how much strength someone SO tiny could have.

I left that spa feeling equally energized and relaxed.  I stood taller and straighter.  I was grinning from ear to ear.  I felt light and calm and yet ready to take on the world.  Several days later, I still feel that way.  And all the pain I have accumulated with my over analyzing and over achieving ways seems to have melted away.  At least for now.

So, for the moment at least, I can stay true to my green self.  A new eating plan, a tweak in my vitamin regimen, a little more cardio each day, and a massage – every now and again.  And the best part?  No prescription necessary.

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