I recently paid a woman to beat me up for an hour and I feel good about that decision. This wasn’t some “50 Shades of Grey” scenario, nor was I dumb enough to challenge some famous UFC fighter to a bout. Instead, I received a deep-tissue massage.

Whenever a massage is depicted in the movies or on television, it always looks like it involves being soothingly rubbed in the back while mud is applied to the face and cocktails are sipped.  I discovered that deep-tissue massages aren’t like that at all.

I agreed to get the massage because of a really annoying knot that developed in my lower back a few weeks ago. As a tall guy with bad posture, I always have to deal with a fair share of back pain in my day-to-day life. It doesn’t typically stifle my level of activity, and I can usually even get through a five-hour County Commission meeting and still feel okay physically.

However, this particular crick in my back limited my ability and desire to maintain the usual pace of my day. I tried grinning and bearing it and eventually turned to the temporary relief of pain killers. However, the knot persisted and made the running around that is an essential part of my job difficult. That is when my lovely girlfriend suggested that I try getting a massage at Soma Therapy, which recently opened right beside the Tribune office.

I was always under the impression that men who get regular massages were either new-age hippies or old perverts aiming to meet nice young Asian girls. Since I don’t quite match either one of these descriptions, a massage parlor was never a place that I thought that I would spend time. However, as the pain persisted, I broke down and decided to give it a try.

I went into Soma not quite knowing what to expect and met the massage therapist, Estella Tasche, who also owns the place. With all that we hear about the lack of enterprising young people and economic opportunities in this town, it was very nice to meet a younger individual from Chanute who is running a thriving business.

She led me to a small curtained room and said she would leave me alone while I undressed to my level of comfort. Since I wasn’t initially comfortable at all with what was about to happen, I considered putting on ski pants, a big winter coat, a motorcycle helmet, and one of those spacesuits that astronauts wear. However, if I walked into the massage place carrying all of that, Estella might have gotten slightly nervous.

Plus, she seemed like a nice lady who works really hard, so I decided there was no harm in treating her to the eye candy of my finely-sculpted physique. I undressed and laid face-down on the table, draped under a blanket, and told Estella that I was ready to be tortured. Before I even knew what was going on, she went to work on my shoulders and back. With my face in the donut pillow, I couldn’t see what she was doing at all, but I certainly felt it.

She removed tense knots from my body by using her hands and elbows, to twist my back, shoulder, arm and leg muscles in directions they’re not supposed to go. I emerged from the massage parlor with a dazed and pained expression on my face and Estella handed me a bottle of clear liquid that I immediately hoped was vodka. I was disappointed to find out that it was only water. Still, it tasted good after an hour of being a human tether-ball, so I thanked Estella and limped out the door.

When I woke up the next day, the annoying knot in my back was gone, and I felt much better than I had felt before. I was less tense, more relaxed, and more able to focus and face a rough day. I don’t know exactly how or why massage works as well as it does. It certainly doesn’t seem all that therapeutic when it is actually happening. However, with the way I felt a little bit after receiving it, I can say absolutely say it did its job. As long as I am working next door to a good massage place, it is definitely something that could become a regular indulgence.

My massage put me in such a positive frame of mind that I am not even bothered when people insult me in the public comments section of City Commission meetings. It just reminds me that there are a few people in this community who could benefit from a therapeutic massage.

Please send all questions, comments, hate mail, marriage proposals, offers to advertise my columns in public meetings, or arrangements to mail me coupons and gift certificates to the local massage parlor to brian@chanute.com

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