Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Unwinding Metaphorically & Literally

About a year and a half ago I received a Swedish massage from Spirit Spa in Oldwick, NJ and it was phenomenal. I felt completely relaxed and fell asleep for a few minutes during it. Afterwards, though, I didn't feel a huge change in muscle tension release or anything, but I realize now that Swedish massages are more for relaxing now and not solving any muscle issues in the long run.

I loved the birds in the hall leading from the elevator to the spa
Last weekend I went to Ohm Spa in the Flatiron District for a deep tissue massage. This was a life changing experience and was 100% necessary. I hold so much tension in my shoulders and upper back. I'm constantly cold (especially this winter in NYC.. getting excited when you see temps above 30 is sad, but it's what my life has come to) so I'm always hunching my shoulders and after doing this for so long, I couldn't correct my posture for anything.

I frequently had back pain and no matter what stretches I did, nothing helped. When I take my megaformer classes or just do workouts in my dorm, I'm always told (or I tell myself if I'm in my dorm) "pull your shoulders away from your ears." I tried, but it never felt comfortable. Sitting hunched over with poor posture was preferred to the awkward pain I felt when I sat up straight, squeezing my shoulder blades together and pulling them down.

Matt and I went for deep tissue massages together and afterwards I asked if they had him move his arms into certain positions to get deeper into muscles, and his response was no. My back was so knotty that the only way my masseuse could get knots out was by repositioning my arms. Immediately after I knew I was going to be sore for a few days and I was right, but it was so worth it. After the massages at dinner, Matt and I were amazed at how we could sit properly and it felt fine.

All this time that I thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn't sit up straight, it was because my muscles were so knotted and tense that they had to be loosened by someone else. It wasn't physically possible for me to sit up straight, pull my shoulder blades together, or pull my shoulders down away from my ears because my upper back was such a mess.

I vow to get deep tissue massages a few times a year to help release any tensions before it gets a lot worse (like what I was dealing with before). Additionally, your circulation is heavily impacted by these massages. Blood flows better to your muscles afterwards allowing you to exercise and function better. As if an excuse is needed.. I'll be getting regular massages!

Ohm Spa was fabulous. The receptionists were inviting and their voices were soothing. You have your own locker with your name on it when you get there to keep personal belongings and you're given a robe and slippers to change into. The waiting area atmosphere is calming with dim lighting and soft sounds. Snacks from chocolate and cookies to fruit, trail mix and pretzels are available to snack on while you sip any fruit infused water, tea, or hot chocolate and read a number of current magazines (Forbes, GQ, Elle, Marie Claire, etc.). My masseuse was friendly and communicated with me to make sure the pressure was okay, but didn't talk much other than that because no one wants to chat while getting a massage. Afterwards I was given chocolate covered blueberries and free sample of a body butter. You can't beat that!

Smaller lounge
Larger lounge
It's not easy to find a decent spa that you can trust to be worth the money (massages aren't cheap anywhere) and clean, but Ohm was great in every area. I don't think I'll try any other spas unless I'm traveling because why fix what isn't broken?

Disclaimer: I didn't take my own photos because I didn't want to invade anyone's privacy, so the photos on here are from Ohm Spa's gallery.


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