“Aren’t you supposed to RELAX when you relax?”

A massage therapist gives a woman a massage.You’d think that if a person is doing an activity where the goal is relaxation, that the end result is relaxation, right? For most people, this is the case. But for me, of course that’s not the case. I’m one of those oddballs where a massage is actually more stressful than just going without. I think it comes from my uncomfortability about being touched. I’ve never really been that much of a touchy-feely person to begin with. I’m not that big on hugs, and I actually inadvertently drove away a girlfriend one time because I wasn’t all that comfortable with closeness, among other things. Thus if I’m paying someone to provide a service, like a massage, where my job is to relax, and their job is to provide the means for relaxation, I can’t do it. Despite their best efforts, I tense up and start to drive myself crazy, leaving me more stressed out and uptight than when I started. Kind of makes me jealous of the guy in the picture at right, where he is obviously relaxed during his massage (or at least a darn good actor). However, I think it’s more a matter of being uncomfortable with HUMAN touch rather than just being touched. As massages go, I can easily lose myself and become totally absorbed by the experience when I take a whirl in one of those water massage machines. The machine systematically and methodically does its work, and I can become lost in it, relax, and feel great. Go figure. Another relaxation technique I can’t do is one of those relaxation sessions, either one-on-one with someone, or in a group. Despite the moderator’s best efforts, I can’t do it. I’ll get all stressed out because I end up trying too hard to relax! It’s a lose-lose situation here, as you can see. However, for those of you who worry that I’m not getting any kind of relaxation, I do find my ways, but they would be best described as unconventional, only because it would drive most people crazy. So what have we learned from this? Relaxation comes in many forms, and just because something puts one person out in their own little world where nothing else matters doesn’t mean it does the same for the guy sitting next to them…

Date posted: November 10, 2002

Notes: Wouldn't you know it… the day after this quote went up, at a Potomac Hall staff "devo" we had exactly the kind of relaxation that drives me up the wall. Especially unpleasant was the fact that we used scented lotion. The stuff makes me feel greasy and otherwise unclean, nor did I particularly like the smell. Plus, we gave shoulder massages to the people in front of us, which caused me pain. Not fun.

The original image for this quote article was replaced with a similar free-content image when it was converted and restored in September 2011 as part of the conversion to WordPress. Attribution: Nick Webb.