Sunday, May 22, 2011
I wrote some months ago about joining Massage Envy. Basically, I paid a monthly fee of about $65 and got a monthly massage, with the option to add additional massages at less than I'd pay on the open market. The idea was to have more massages than I would otherwise, at less cost.
It seemed like a good idea.
The problem turned out to be quality. I think Massage Envy does for massages what Fantastic Sam's does for haircuts. It's a chain, so they achieve some cost savings through scale. And because the massages cost less than I've ever paid elsewhere, and they undoubtedly pay their therapists less, they have a few good people and many, many moderately skilled ones.
You can tell when you get a massage from someone who just doesn't have a feel for it. I think a good massage therapist needs to empathize with the client -- they need to be able to sense how every touch feels. I had some therapists who had absolutely no ability to project themselves into my body and feel their own touch.
For example, I told one kid early on that my back was bothering me and he spent nearly the entire hour-long session poking at a tiny group of muscles near my shoulder blade, until I asked him to please move on. I was sore for a week.
Yesterday, I had a therapist who couldn't use enough massage oil -- I felt like a big caesar salad. My arms and legs were wet and slimy, leaving cold, damp patches on the sheets. It was disgusting. He also couldn't get good traction on my skin because I was so slick.
I had a few good massages, too. Last month I had a female therapist who was excellent. But overall, I'd say the quality at Massage Envy is not up to the quality I've experienced at other locations when I set up my own occasional massages. You get what you pay for!
(Photo: In the field, yesterday. I think it's a wild geranium?)