Firmer pressure. Forearm strokes. Leaning into her muscles.
"Is this pressure okay?" I asked.
"Yes, thank you."
Hooking the upper trapezius with my forearms and sustaining the pressure all down the back, slow and deep, I felt the muscles begin to quiver and release. She breathed. I breathed.
The muscles along her spine (erector spinae) were taut at first. I placed my left thumb over my right and sank into the muscle at the top of the back, allowing the muscle to accept me. Not forcing my way. Then it began to loosen, pulling me along its river down to the bottom of her back.
I tucked a rolled up towel under the front of her shoulder so the scapula was elevated. Ironing the underside with my forearm, I reached my thumbs beneath the blade and moved slowly up and down, feeling the muscles snap, shift, pop beneath. Her inhalations and exhalations had become much more full as she fell deeper into relaxation.
She breathed in the deepest breath yet and exhaled a long slow sigh through her mouth. My thumbs sank deeper.
"God, this feels amazing," she said. "I can't even explain what a nightmare chemotherapy has been. I haven't felt this good in so long. Thank you so much."
Her voice sounded so raw, so full of feeling, it surprised me. Tears pooled in the corners of my eyes. I breathed in and exhaled a long slow sigh of my own. I shut my eyes as my thumbs continued to bump along her tight muscles.
"Thank you," I said.
I currently work as a licensed massage therapist in NYC at Massage Williamsburg, Slope Wellness and Sage Spa.
I have also worked at at Spa H in Jersey City and Hoboken; Hotel Intercontinental, The LA Sports Club and Burke Williams in Los Angeles; and at SK Sanctuary in La Jolla, CA.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, NY, NY - Completion of 444 hours to meet NYS Requirements
School of Healing Arts, San Diego, CA - Massage Practitioner Program (531 Hours)
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Hospital-Based Massage Therapy (12 Hours)
Cortiva Institute, Hoboken, NJ - Myofascial Massage (40 Hours)
Massage School of Santa Monica - Ultimate Low Back Workshop (7 Hours)
National Holistic Institute, Los Angeles - Massage For People with Cancer (24 Hours)