When I heard that Massage Envy was looking for review bloggers from TheDCMoms.com, I relished the idea of a free massage. However, as someone with chemical sensitivities, I was worried that the place or its products might have fragrances that might trigger a reaction.
Fortunately, the manager of the Potomac Yard location in Arlington assured me that I was welcome to bring in my own oil. They also had unscented oil, she said, but I was comforted by her willingness to let me supply my own and her assurance that other clients had done that in the past.
When I handed over my apricot kernel oil, the massage therapist didn’t balk at my request. She was a talented therapist who had a deft touch to hit just the right balance of relaxation with a little bit of work, as I’d requested. After having sat in a charter bus for nearly 6 hours the previous day and then having walked around Jamestown settlement with a backpack with my son’s 4th grade field trip, I just wanted to relax and let the tension melt away!
I’ve had lots of bodywork over the years, often with a specific targeted issue or a hoped-for outcome. This day was just about feeling good, and it totally fulfilled its goal!
The therapist talked about the therapeutic benefits of regular massage, especially to help with the calcifications, or crunchy spots in my upper back and shoulders. Getting worked on every two weeks would benefit my health, just like regular exercise does.
The branch manager explained to me that the company is trying to promote massage as a therapeutic modality with many health benefits. Appointments for an hour massage are slated for 50-minute sessions so that therapists can see people on the hour.
Having been out the previous day, I was scurrying around in the morning before the massage, trying to get things done. I arrived a few minutes late to my appointment, which then ended ahead of the hour. Now that I know appointments are 50 minutes, I will be sure to arrive early next time!
Upon arrival, I was asked to fill out a form to guide my therapist. Then I left the brightly lit front reception area to enter the dimly lit and relaxing waiting zone that leads to the treatment rooms. These rooms are simple and peaceful, with one dark purple wall and battery-operated candles, a welcome sight for chemically sensitive folks like me. Candles with artificial fragrance and any candles that use paraffin can aggravate conditions in some individuals; they are not really good for anyone’s health.
As the dad described in this post can tell you, it’s no fun to be so sensitive. I don’t like to come off as Debbie Downer! But being in an elevator with someone wearing perfume can make me feel icky for the rest of the day. Yes, icky. There’s no polite way to describe it.
Last year I took my kids into a fabric store for an hour to get supplies for their Halloween costumes, and the artificial smells of cinnamon and whatever else was in there pretty much ruined me for the day. I had a headache and felt, well, just poisoned. Icky. I’m sort of like a canary in the coal mine, reacting immediately to things that are no good for anyone but that most people can tolerate up to a point.
It’s no fun to go for something healthy, like a massage, and have to immediately shower because the fragrance in the oil or lotion makes me ill. It’s happened a few times over the years, but fortunately not this time!
Massage Envy did not have any detectable smell, nothing to cause me any trouble during my time there and nothing that clung to my clothes, which can be a problem even just after going into store that sells goods for the home. I left my massage feeling pampered and refreshed. And like I really should do it again soon!
There is a membership program at Massage Envy for those who want to commit to regular self-care. A monthly fee of $59 entitles the member to one massage per month, and unused massages roll over. In addition to offering a variety of types of massages, Massage Envy also offers aromatherapy using the Wyndmere Naturals line of essential oils and facials using the Murad skin care line.
Newbies to massage should note that the experience, even a relaxing massage like this one, will promote detoxification. One should always drink lots of good, warm water after a massage, avoid vigorous activity, and not be surprised to sweat in the night or to notice a change in body odor for a few days as toxins get flushed out of the body. Those are all signs that the massage is working well beyond the blissful hour on the table!
I was offered a free massage in exchange for writing a review about my experience. All opinions are my own.
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