After a weekend filled with physical exertion I found my Neck, Shoulders and back were feeling tight.  It was uncomfortable.  I wanted relief.  Only one thing I could think of would do it… a therapeutic massage.  Only one problem… I did not know where to go.  Where I would feel safe and clean enough to relax and find the skilled hands that could kneed my knots into submission.

 I made an appointment at a place where I could get in quickly.  It was a place called Nell’s spa Day(name of spa has been changed).   I made the appointment and started counting down the hours until it was time.

 Trying to find the place wasn’t so easy.  Like many locations in Columbia it was hidden.  After pulling into the parking lot I knew I was in the right place because there was a sign in the parking lot for the spa.  Unfortunately after I parked I could not determine where in the building the spa would reside.  While looking for the entrance I found two ladies who asked me if I knew where the spa was. Apparently I wasn’t the only one having trouble finding it.

 Once I was inside the building I found my way down a long dingy hall, passed a Physical therapy office, and set of public Bathrooms, and at the end found a doorway to a dark office that consisted of an old wooden desk in front of two young receptionists and piles of clutter.  When one looked up and asked if she could help me, I told her my name and that I was late for a half hour massage.  A voice spoke up immediately from the side of the desk.  It was the therapist I had booked my appointment with waiting for me and asked me to come straight back, which was nice because I was late I didn’t want to waste anymore time.

The therapist asked me why I had come to her today.  I told her that my neck, shoulders, and back were tight.  She had me stand up and turn around with my back to her.  She started to press points on my back that were right where I was feeling all knotted up.  How did she know where I was feeling tense by looking at my back while I still had my shirt on?

I don’t know, but she did and the little bit of work she did while I was still in my clothes made me feel confident that relief was close.  She told me to take off my shirt and lay face down on the table so we could get as much work on me with the time I had.  She left the room and I took my shirt off and got on the table.

When she came back, she went right to work and it felt good.  She seemed to know where the knots were with the most tension and went at them straight away.  She did some work on a number of tight spots on the right side of my back.  Rubbing and applying pressure with her figures, it felt like she knew what she was doing.  She then asked if I would be alright with some deeper work in the form of pressure applied by her elbow/ fore arm.  I usually like deep, strong work so I enthusiastically agreed.  I was glad that I did.  It felt good!

Before the therapist moved on to the left side of my back, she stopped.  Asked me to feel the difference between the side the side she had worked on which was noticeably looser than the side that she had not yet touched.  I understand that sometimes you have to call people’s attention to things or they may never notice, but she went on to say that is how my back could feel all of the time if I came to see her regularly, which I thought was an odd time to market herself.  She spent considerably less time on the other side of my back which left me feeling less than balanced, but overall my back was less tense and much improved.

Back in the dim reception area I paid $40 for my ½ hour, therapeutic massage.  There was a short pause after the young lady had finished my transaction before she looked up at me (still standing in front of her) and said ”ok”.

As if I was dismissed, like she wanted me out of her way.  I was a paying customer and I felt this was very rude, because I was standing there for a reason.  “I’d like a receipt please” I replied.

The experience I had at Nell’s Spa day was mixed at best.  It was hard to find the location.  The dingy entrance to the dark reception area was not a good fit for a place meant to improve the way you feel.  The actual massage did help the tension in my back.  The practitioner seemed knowledgeable and experienced, but trying to sell her service to me in the middle of the treatment, especially when she didn’t spend as much time on the other side of my back leaving me off balance seemed like it could have been said afterward. As for the lady at the front desk any properly trained Kindergartener knows how to say “thank you”.