Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The weather gets cool & crisp, the scenery here in Indiana is beautiful, and there's lots of family celebrations at hand (several birthdays and anniversaries, including my own), as well as anticipation for the holidays right around the corner. Yes, I do love the Fall.
So I suppose it's fitting that the Indiana autumn provided the backdrop for one of the best days I've had in a long time. Not that I haven't had some good days this year - we had lots of fun on our triple-date in September, for example, and I've had some great times with Mark. I think that this day stands out from those only in the sense that it was unexpectedly good.
The evolution of my special Saturday was typical: Mark has been working through the weekends for the past few weeks, and I thought a girls-day-out might be beneficial for my best friend who, as you may recall, has had several recent health scares regarding her husband. Providentially, I received an invitation last week to attend an Open House for Vista Massage Therapy Group, a local spa which I had been meaning to try out for quite some time.
Massages are generally a bit out of my price range, and I actually noticed the last time I had one (probably 5 or 6 years ago) that I felt worse afterwards than I had before. I've since learned that this is very common with fibromyalgia patients - not that massage techniques can't be helpful, but the standard Swedish or deep tissue massages can be too harsh and make symptoms worse. The reason Vista had me on their mailing list in the first place was because I had been doing some research on any local masseuses that do specialized bodywork for fibromyalgia, such as trigger point therapy and myofascial release. They do, but the time has just never seemed right to go in & try an appointment. Plus, we were trying to cut our budget to the bone over the past 6 months or so, just to be cautious, until Mark felt happy & stable in his new position. So it was hard for me to justify a luxury like this, even though it is for pain management more than relaxation...
But things are pretty positive right now on the job front for Mark - he even felt confident enough to pay off our entire credit card debt, which tells me that he's pretty sure he'll be bringing in some steady money for now. So he encouraged me to go to the Open House and ask all my questions, and find out if they would be able to help me without being prohibitively expensive. As long as he didn't have to go, he was all for it.
Never having been to this place, I was a bit leery of what we would find. They invitation mentioned demonstrations of various techniques, vendors selling things like Mary Kay, crafts, air purifiers, and personal training. They also promised refreshments, which I figured would be a tray of vegetables and some cookies. Serena & I made a game plan before we went in, deciding to give it 15 minutes and then bolt if it was boring or if they started to put on the full press.
I will summarize the experience: Serena had a free foot massage and a free chair massage; I also had the foot massage, plus a free blended massage, with trigger point therapy included. So awesome! Add in some free wine and cheese, tiny chicken salad sandwiches, apple cake, pumpkin cake, and apple cider, and the novelty of getting to watch an ear candling in progress, and you've got quite a fiesta. We never made it to the free tarot readings or tuning fork therapy (??) - we were too busy being buffed to a shiny glow.
Follow this free relaxation event with lunch at the new Greenwood Cheesecake Factory, and you've got yourself a pretty remarkable day in progress. One pumpkin-pecan cheesecake and a mojito later, and life seems very good, indeed.
To top it off, we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Kohl's to do some girly shopping. For once, a day that was both fun and relaxing at the same time....I don't usually get that. I tend to either be relaxed but bored, or have fun but be pushing myself too hard.
They say that high on the list of therapeutic benefits of massage for fibromyalgia patients is the fact that it promotes and enhances healthy sleep. That's huge, because poor sleep is a major contributor - some even think it's the cause - to fibromyalgia symptoms. A restful sleep can change a lot for a fibro patient.
Serena brought me home around 5:30, and I was completely relaxed... So much so that I was counting sheep by 6:30, and slept most of the evening. I'm actually still really tired, but I thought I should try to stay up at least a bit so that I'll sleep through the night (for once). Anyway, if the goal of therapeutic massage is to promote sound sleep, I'd have to say "check" on that one!
All in all, a very fun, different, and educational outing. I signed up for a follow-up massage next week, so I can try the full experience & decide if it's something I want (& can afford) to do regularly. This first appointment should cost about $50 for an hour, which is pretty reasonable, I think. If it can make me feel as good as I did when I left there today, it's worth every penny.
If you live in the Indy/Greenwood area, I highly recommend giving Vista a try if you find you need some relaxation in your life. I also recommend that you check out their MySpace page & add them as a friend: they send occasional bulletins with specials and event notifications (that's how I knew about the Open House today) to keep you up to date on all their news & deals.
Now I'm off to another 10 hours or so of blissful sleep. Ahhh, sweet relaxation! ;)
Now playing: The Cure - Just Like Heaven