Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: The Four Fountains Spa (Koregaon Park, Pune)

I got a free massage, and you get to read all about it!

The Four Fountains Spa offered me a free massage and asked me to write a review on the blog. So here you are.
This was my first massage. I admit that with a tiny bit of embarrassment. But I have two good reasons for this. First, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of getting naked (or nearly so) in front of a stranger. Second, I don’t much like being touched, especially by people I don’t know. I like being hugged by friends and being kissed by the Guy, but sometimes when the Guy touches me without warning, I grunt or shake his hand away.

So while I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a massage many times, I’d never actually got one. Pay strangers to touch me all over while I lie naked and powerless with my face down? The situation sets off all my panic buttons.
But I did this, reader. And I’m grateful to Four Fountains spa for helping me get over it and I’m proud of myself for going through with it. You’re witnessing personal growth here, people.
I asked for an appointment at the Koregaon Park (Pune) location. I walked in 15 minutes before my appointment time. (I’m always early to things: I can’t seem to cure myself of it. When I try, I end up being terribly late to things, so this is the better of two evils.)

It looked like a nice place – not luxurious, but clean and attractive. The guy at the front desk (Desk Dude) was expecting me, which was nice and efficient. He also checked my phone number against his notes because he’d tried to reach me to confirm the appointment. He read a 6 for a 0 – not my fault, dude, I’d emailed the number. But I was feeling a little guilty anyway. (Guilt is this other thing I do really well, though I’ve been fighting it.)

Desk Dude asked me what “treatment” I’d like to go for, and I asked for my options. When I heard the third option (“energizing”), I said, that’s it. That’s what I want. (I need more energy in my life. Way more.) He then told me about a treatment that makes your skin glow that they recommend to all the ladies, but I was firm. My skin glows enough (or not – I don’t really care). I want the energy.
I sat back to wait, and after a while Desk Dude came over with a questionnaire: “a stress test”. I answered “sometimes” to most of the questions because the options were “often, sometimes, and never.” (What, no “rarely”?) And who the hell would answer “never” to questions like “Do you worry about your work or family?” or “Do you get headaches?” or even “Do your shoulders feel stiff?”

Also, the result of this test was that I’m “high stress” and I should get a massage every two weeks, at which I grinned. If I had the money and the time to get a massage every two weeks, I wouldn’t have stress.
Anyway, my room was ready then, a few minutes before my scheduled time, which was great of them. (Yes, you’re only ten minutes into my spa visit. This is going to be long, isn’t it?)

I was asked to change into two-piece disposable underwear. The panties were way too small and tore as I pulled them on, but at that point I didn’t care. The room was dim, which made me less self-conscious as I lay on my stomach on the bed.
The massage itself was great. I was expecting a little pain, because I’m sensitive and also because I don’t exercise much and was expecting my muscles to be stiff and uncooperative. It was never painful enough that I couldn’t easily resist the urge to cry out, and I knew I could ask her to go easy, but I know from experience that my body tends to complain unnecessarily at times, and I never got the feeling that the pressure was too intense.

As she coated me with oil and then kneaded my flesh, I could feel my muscles losing their stiffness. Unfortunately, instead of relaxing, my mind was hyperactive, thinking something like:
Ah, is that oil? That’s a lot of oil. That feels nice. Ouch, that hurt. Okay, that’s better. I can’t smell the oil. Aren’t I supposed to smell it if it’s aromatherapy? I don’t like the music much. Is it too loud? Is it supposed to be Thai? Do I get Swedish music if I get a Swedish massage? Should I write this in my review? I’ll totally write about Desk Dude in my review. Okay, stop thinking about the review and relax.
But that’s just me. Being in a strange room and in a position of total vulnerability – lying on my stomach, nearly naked, with a stranger with strong hands standing over me – brings out my brain’s flight-or-fight responses. I would have enjoyed it more if I could relax and stop thinking, but I guess I should be content with having made enough progress to be able to not feel self-conscious about getting a massage and not wish for a miracle. And maybe a few more massages will cure that!

Yes, I said I’d be getting more massages. Definitely not every two weeks, but maybe every couple of months?
So was I more energetic? Not that evening: I was feeling very relaxed when I got into the car to go home -- and it was a good thing the Guy offered to pick me up because I was too sleepy to drive. I went home and read in bed and went to sleep much earlier than usual. "Good thing I didn't take the relaxing massage," I told the Guy.

But I was limber and energetic the next day, and my muscles weren't stiff or sore as they often are. So mission accomplished, I think!

And if you want to get one yourself, check out Four Fountains Spa online.

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