Wait, massage doesn’t HAVE to hurt?!

To me, massage has only ever meant two things.

In my earlier years it was a thinly disguised excuse for touching girls. I had no formal qualifications, very little experience, but that didn’t stop me offering my magic hands to young ladies whenever the opportunity arose. I expect it comes as no surprise to learn I still have no qualifications and very little experience.

Since I’ve started running though massage has taken on a whole new meaning. They call it “sports massage” but what they mean is “sticking elbows in your thighs until you scream” or “pushing thumbs so far in to your calves they’re stroking your tibia from the back”. Sometimes they do make you feel better, sometimes they stop you walking for a few days, but they are always always painful and approached with a sense of impending agony.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that there is a third type of massage, a nice one. It makes sense I guess, girls have been raving about spa days forever and it can’t be because they get beaten up and bruised on the massage table.

I’ve just enjoyed a complimentary swedish massage with Rachel Fargher, in the treatment room at The Gym on Cheltenham’s Lower High Street, and I haven’t felt this relaxed in a very long time! I had no idea what to expect, but Rachel instantly put me at ease and after a quick chat (about trail running more than anything!) it was up on the table and away we go.

It started with a gentle face and head massage, during which Rachel told me to relax. I thought I was relaxing, but it was quite telling that at one point she pushed my shoulders down and back on to the bed and I realised how tense I’d been! The next 45 minutes felt like hours, I was barely breathing I was so at ease. My arms, legs and back were warmed and wobbled and teased and all the worries of the world disappeared. I’m now a convert, I completely understand the appeal and I will definitely be enjoying another one soon.

An unexpected result was that a few little niggles and aches I was carrying have disappeared. Had tired legs after today’s swim/run combo and now I feel fully refreshed and ready to train hard again tomorrow. Lovely to know that gentle manipulation is enough to straighten out some of the minor issues and that a full on agonising sports massage isn’t always necessary!

My massage was with Rachel Fargher who uses a room at The Gym or offers a mobile service. She is trained in Swedish, deep tissue and Indian head massage and is very good. You can contact her on 07896 837648 or via her website www.farghers.com. Go on, treat yourself!

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