When NOT to get a massage…a story from the airport

I had a sad occasion for travel a couple weeks ago. Before leaving LA I learned that my connection in Minneapolis would be delayed. When I arrived in MN I confirmed on the monitors that the departing flight would still be delayed. I decided to wander around the airport for a little while looking for a good place to eat…or, hopefully, a place to get a massage. I learned there was a massage place and even a coupon to use there. I hustled over to the correct terminal and asked if they thought I had time to squeeze in a massage. We settled on a 20-minute chair massage instead of a longer service and I sank into the chair. I confided to the massage therapist, “I’m choosing massage over food for my layover.”

Ahhh….Hmmmm…..It felt so nice to have a little massage time. As I relaxed I heard all the hustle and bustle of the airport around me and smiled that there was a little oasis in the middle of it here in the massage chair. My muscles were happy and my spirit was feeling soothed. I got up and paid for my massage. I was a little sad to sling my heavy backpack on my freshly massaged shoulders, but I didn’t care too much.

I was 10 feet out of the massage shop when I heard an overhead announcement cheerfully advising travelers that my flight was back on schedule and ready for an immediate departure. WHAT!?!

I took off running. Of course the massage shop was in a different terminal than my gate. I ran, slugging my heavy backpack, shaking off any slow-me-down relaxation vibe. I tell you, it is hard to sprint after a massage. Running, running, running I made it to my departing gate. The door was closed. There were no airline personnel at the desk. Things looked dire. I ran to the adjacent gate and huffed that I was on that flight. “No you’re not. That flight is closed. You missed it.” I muttered something less than cordial and headed to the airline’s help desk. Luckily the nice airline put me on another flight to my destination and I arrived shortly after the delayed flight would have put me there. I met my family and everything turned out fine.

But, lest you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I warn you that this is NOT a good time to get a massage. At first I was going to keep it a secret, but it made such a great story I couldn’t resist tattling on myself. Have you ever heard of an airline changing a flight to back on schedule like that? I guess I should be glad they can be that flexible. Lesson learned friends.


Fighting a Cold

I was home-bound for a couple of days this week fighting a cold. I learned a neat trick in massage school that I’ll share with you. This is a strategy I sometimes use when fighting a cold, especially during the phase when I feel it lurking in my throat. It’s based on an activity we did that was geared towards the whole body. Read the story below.

hard to find a wool scarf in So Cal

Here’s what you’ll need for the targeted neck-only version:

  • 2 thin dish towels
  • bowl of ice water
  • 2 wool scarves (or warm thick scarves of another material)

1. Soak 2 thin dish towels in ice water until they are very cold.

2. Wring out excess water and quickly wrap the 2 towels around your neck.

3. Quickly wrap 2 wool scarves around your neck covering the wet towels.

4. Sit with neck wrapped for at least 15 minutes. Repeat 1-2 times if desired.

The idea behind this protocol is that the body feels the cold on the neck and starts sending extra blood to the area to warm it up. Of course the neck is where the throat is and the throat is where the germs are. More blood means more white blood cells, the kind that attack germs. This first step of the body’s response generates some heat. The heat is then trapped in the area by the layers of wool scarves, keeping the area heated for about 15 minutes until everything starts to return to a normal temperature. The extra white blood cells brought to the area by this process can devote their attention to fighting any bad-guy germs that may be setting up shop in your throat.

Back to the full-body version of this double cold sheet wrap. It was crazy! We basically got ourselves really hot by running around and doing calisthenics in full winter gear: coats, boots, hats and scarves. Then we disrobed to just the basics, wrapped ourselves in 2 bed sheets that had been soaking in ice water. We then wrapped up in 2-3 layers of wool blankets, donned hats and laid down for a couple hours. Our body heat soared in response to the cold layers next to our skin. The outer layers kept all that generated heat trapped in our little cocoons. At the end of the 2 hours, we unwrapped from our cocoons and had a huge bucket of ice water dumped over us.  The process is supposed to draw out toxins from the body and really marshall the body’s response system to meet this hydrotherapy challenge.

Lots of caveats here for blog world. Don’t try this at home without some research. We did this in a very carefully supervised environment. A profile of general health is an absolute must for this kind of adventure. And, just for the record, I’m not advising you do this, am not a doctor, and am simply telling a story here.