I am not the yoga type — no 5 a.m. classes bending and contorting for me.
At 24, I spend about 75 percent of my day on some sort of screen, which is bad for all sorts of reasons, including that it tends to give me migraines. And today, I have a headache.
It gets a bit worse when I initially can’t find the Rocky River building that houses The Oaks Massotherapy & Botanical Spa. But when I eventually locate it in a large office building off Center Ridge Road, my pounding head starts to ease.
The large, open lobby is filled with couches, fresh flowers and modern framed art. The neutral color scheme is clean and refreshing. I’m here for the Thai Massage with Ginger Compress ($160), a treatment known as “lazy man’s yoga” that’s meant to increase flexibility and blood flow.
After a few minutes, my massage therapist, Rachel, takes me back to a small, dimly lit space with a single shelf and counter. With the Thai Massage, there’s no awkward disrobing or slimy lotions. Wearing my most comfy sweats and an oversized T-shirt stolen from my dad, I lie face up on a giant plush pillow.
Rachel begins with a traditional Thai foot wash, working up from my toes. She pushes my feet and toes backward, forward and side-to-side. Years of competitive swimming has left my feet and ankles crackling like popcorn, but the movements feel amazing. Rachel is fluid and gentle as she pushes and pulls my arms and legs in every direction. But since I’m not the most flexible, some moves are somewhat painful.
“This treatment isn’t just massaging your muscle like a traditional massage,” owner Jeanne Massingill explains later. “It’s getting that deep muscle stretch and opening your joints for more blood flow, which means more circulation and more energy.”
After about 90 minutes, I lie on my stomach for the ginger compress, cloths soaked in a hand-crafted ginger mixture. When placed on my lower back, though, they are almost too hot to bear.
As the ginger soaks into my skin, my back tingles — a sign it’s working, Massingill says. She does reflexology on my feet, applying pressure on certain areas to provide healing effects in the body. She says my feet reveal my posture could use some work (thanks, office chair) and my lungs are a bit congested.
When I join Massingill for ginger tea to discuss my treatment, I have a bounce in my step and my headache is gone. My whole body feels lighter. I feel like my muscles had been stretched into relaxation. This is the kind of yoga I could get used to.
20525 Center Ridge Road, Suite 400, Rocky River, 440-356-0061, oaksbotanicalspa.com
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