Friday, April 30, 2010

Massage Therapy

When I ended physical therapy, Young PT told me that he thought massage therapy might help me regain at least some of my range of motion.

Massage sounds so nice and pleasant, unlike the hard work of physical therapy. It’s something that somebody else does to you and it doesn’t have side effects like drugs. Bottom line – it doesn’t sound like work. It even sounds enjoyable.

It’s expensive. So I emailed the lawyer who is working to get money from the insurance of the driver who hit me. He gets 1/3 of everything he can claim for me, so he’s happy to add to my bill. He asked me to ask my massage therapist to write him an estimated bill for her services. My massage therapist claims that at my age and my degree of injury, it will take 4 to 6 months of weekly massages. This will cost between $3000 and $5000, at $145 a session.

I met my massage therapy at a flea market. She had a booth selling old kitchen stuff, and she just looked like a nice person, so we started chatting. I have hired her to do a regular massage before. She's good.

I can think of plenty of things I could do with that kind of money, like take a trip to Australia, or a massive publicity campaign for my new business. But I’d enjoy either of those lots more if my body worked better, and didn't hurt as much.

This lawyer stuff takes time. I decided to get the first massage now.

The first thing I learned is that massage therapy is NOT the same as massage. My first therapy session felt like I was being dissected. I told the therapist and she said that when she got hit by a car, her first session felt like her toe was being sawed off.

This is no soothing experience. Not a pleasant relaxation after a hard day’s work. Massage therapy hurts worse than anything in physical therapy. The massage therapist breaks up scar tissue that is restricting my range of motion. She digs her fingers at least an inch deep into the muscles of my leg and hip. She didn’t have time to start on my shoulder. That can wait for another session.

Years of yoga have taught me to recognize the difference between when pain is freeing up tight tissue and when pain is a warning of imminent damage. Yes, I have to pay the woman who is hurting me, and I thank her for her work, but this is not like the phony ritual of thanking the person who whips you. When she was done, I could rotate my left leg outwards at least 10 more degrees than before.

It’s just time, pain, and money. And it looks like they’re being well spent.


  1. That was very well put, so I really hope the insurance companies will wake up and realize that this kind of therapy isn't just fun and games! It's very hard work for both the massager and massagee.

  2. I totally agree -- insurance companies would benefit by paying for massage therapy. In the long run they'd pay for fewer doctor visits and fewer pain prescriptions.