It was late April and it still felt like early March in northern Vermont. I needed a massage that would blow my mind. That would blow a heavy layer of dust off my mind, or maybe even smooth out the stagnant potholes and dry the gooey mud that threatened my suspension system and my patience. I wanted to peel myself off a massage table and feel like I'd been dismantled and recombobulated, like I'd been erased and drawn back to perfection, like my body was indeed exactly where I belonged.
"Who massages you?" If I had a nickle for every time... but really, it's an excellent question. No one wants their massage therapist to be wishing they are the one melting into the table. I work in a town bursting at the seams with massage therapists and healers of all types, so a decent barter is never too far away. But I needed something different from the usual barters. I really wanted a massage that would blow my mind, the way my first expansive and extraordinary experiences receiving massage showed me the whole universe unfolding inside this container I call my body.
From who though? By luck, chance, or divine synchronicity, I was alerted to a groupon deal offered by a local massage therapist. I'd heard that he'd helped a friend in just one session, when her hip was so locked up that she couldn't walk. I'd seen his on-line advertising too. He had an appointment available just after I'd returned from a long drive to visit family -two excellent reasons to schedule a massage. I knew it would also help my subtle PMS symptoms of fatigue and general lack of zest. So I took the bait and scheduled one hour with Rod Cain.
It blew my mind.
I love walking into the Chace Mill on the Winooski River. Hundreds of sweat-drenched hours seeking enlightenment in that sprawling building when it housed Yoga Vermont have infused me with an appreciation for the long hallways, high ceilings, and hardwood floors. Those hallways no longer hold the sweet smell of incense or the steady and lilting sound of my teacher's voice, but my spirit still swells with gratitude when I walk through them and remember growing up, or at least growing into adulthood, on my yoga mat.
Rod's massage studio in the Chace Mill is luxurious, to say the least. Feeling like royalty upon arrival is refreshingly balanced by Rod's direct and practical demeanor. As I arrived, his last client was lingering to say goodbye and I noticed a warm, familiar rapport in their chatter.
After a brief preamble of an introduction and discussion of what I was looking for in my session (I failed to mention that I wanted to have my mind blown), I slipped into satin sheets and mentally said the same little prayer I always do before a massage, whether I'm on the giving or the receiving end: Please let me and this other be receptive to whatever is most helpful for each of us in this time and place. May we each receive what we need.
Rod Cain specializes in deep tissue massage. His 20+ years of experience along with his ursine presence lend themselves to the sense that his work is truly effortless. His touch is confident yet responsive, his knowledge of anatomy complete, and he allowed as much space and silence as I needed to have my own experience, processing and integrating his work.
When Rod mentioned to me that he offers deals through groupon sites during traditionally slow times of the year, I silently wondered how much more difficult it might be to keep his practice afloat just because of his gender. As Rod himself succinctly concludes in one of his blog posts about the gender dilemma of being a male massage therapist in an industry mainly populated by women, "the bottom line is that you are paying for a therapeutic experience based on the skills and abilities of the practitioner."
Rod also inherently knows that a client's comfort is essential and respects that while gently encouraging us all to examine any underlying fears or projections that might be influencing our decisions. Rod's presence is so consummately professional that I didn't think twice about taking a moment mid-session to shift some weight off my sore premenstrual chest. He didn't flinch or skip a beat, probably didn't even notice.
It's great when a massage feels good, even better when I can surrender my thoughts and completely inhabit my body below my frontal lobe, but the real measure of it's efficacy for me doesn't come until I'm off the table. A number of my clients leave in such an altered state that I advise them to wait a little while before trying to drive home. I say it sweetly, with just the tiniest hint of the envy I feel.
Sometimes the changes massage can facilitate aren't noticed immediately. It can take hours, even a day or two, to realize that "Hey, I can move my neck again" or "Wow, I slept so deeply last night." I knew when I left Rod's massage table that I needed to lay down again as soon as possible.
Returning to my own office on College Street, I had some time before I had my own client showing up for a massage, so I crawled onto my table, pulled a blanket up and allowed Rod's impeccable work to continue suffusing my muscles and fascia with ease and relaxation. The only adequate description of the feeling was that angels were whispering into my bones.
Sound good? You have one day left to score an amazing deal on an amazing massage. Enjoy!