The Courier-Mail - QWeekend


- Mel Buttle is a Brisbane comedian

“What I’ve worked out is, for me to relax I need to be treated like a piece of brisket”

ow much would it cost to have a nap here for another hour?” I asked my massage therapist through a very relaxed, drooly, half smile. She laughed politely and told me there’s a ginger tea waiting for me out the front. “Take your time,” she said closing the door, as I lay there absolutely still, making no effort at all to get up. I think she’s using reverse psychology on me.

I love getting massages, no, allow me to rephrase, I love when a massage is finished. The actual rub down itself is sometimes painful, and can be a little confrontin­g. You know the confrontin­g bit I’m referring to? That moment, about five minutes in, where they pull your undies down about an inch and a half. All of a sudden you’re very vulnerable, your head is trapped in a hole that’s just a bit too small for your face and, while you’re totally incapacita­ted, the cool breeze hits your upper bot bot. This reminds you that, yes, massage is relaxing, but also a stranger is going to see your undies and butt crack today. I guess that’s the price you pay to relax, well that and about $60.

I’ve also found a new love for saunas. I never used to appreciate them. I thought that popping myself in an oven-like state would just stress me out. However, this is no longer the case, I couldn’t be more onboard. I know this reads like the diary of a kept woman but I assure you I’m not. I’ve just been staying in a hotel for work that has a sauna and I’ve realised that I need to do something physical to relax, so my brain simply has to agree and give in. It can’t work the other way around, my brain thinks it has to be on lookout whenever I try and chill out. It’s always on a red alert. Hammocks, the beach, meditation podcasts do nothing to quell the useless thoughts.

I’m always sore after a massage, but it’s kind of a pleasant ache, a reminder that you were tense and now you’re allegedly relaxed. My favourite question they ask when you’re checking in is, “What area would you like to focus on today?” I do a quick body scan, and then run a mental triage, to work out what has the most knots, my shoulders, my thighs, or my lower back? I always go with shoulders, I figure the legs will sort themselves out after a good sleep. There’s always a little hope inside me that within the time allowance, they might find a few minutes to run their healing, oily hands over the spasms and knots that hold my lower back together.

Of all the lovely things about a massage, my favourite things are the little flares that each masseuse does differentl­y. Will I get an ear pull at the end of this? Or will each finger be elongated one by one. My icing on the cake is anything on my head, fingers into the base of my neck, and my favourite: thumbs pressed into my forehead at regular intervals. I think what I’ve worked out is, for me to relax I need to be treated like a piece of brisket, cooked low and slow for a bit, then rubbed down at a medium pressure.

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