I’ll never forget my first time…I was about 25 years old. She was attractive. She asked me to get undressed. I was very uncomfortable with the situation.
But I wanted to be like everyone else. Everyone loved it. Everyone raved about it. It was the “it” thing to do! I had to know what all the hype was about.
But as soon as her slimy, oily hands began to caress my body….I was significantly uncomfortable (oh and pretty confident at that moment that I wasn’t a lesbian). It just didn’t feel good like I had hoped. It’s not as if I hadn’t had my skin “rubbed” before. Many a man has rubbed my shoulders, feet…I may have even been on the receiving end of a “tushy” massage one time or another.
But this was different. This was a stranger. She was REALLY touching every inch of me (of course not my privates), but basically everywhere else. Then, of course, I had that panic of “is this what everyone else gets?” or “am I getting more than is usually done?”
When I went home I totally lied to my roommates who had given me the gift certificate to receive the massage. “Oh it was awesome! I feel sooooooo relaxed!”
Over the years I have engaged in a massage here and there. Some experiences weren’t too bad. I’ve learned to get over the uncomfortable nakedness keeping in mind that the person works on bodies all day and they are desensitized to the whole thing. Besides, not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty sure I’m one of the better bodies this person has worked on. However, I realized that receiving a full body massage from a man was just too intimate of an experience for me without it leading to full on penetration. And as with my first experience, receiving a massage from a young woman was too close to a homosexual experience for me (not that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality, easy now people). I did enjoy a massage I received from a much older woman in Queens, NY who worked out of her home. She mostly focused on the head and neck (my trouble spots) and had me lying on my back as she used my own body weight to sink her fingers in, as opposed to having me on my stomach and press downwards.
But the best massage I have ever received was from…(wait for it)…my boyfriend’s father.
Oh so many things wrong with that statement, I realize that. A previous boyfriend of mine’s father was a massage therapist who began his career later in life. He was so incredibly passionate about it. Like me, he was very into studying anatomy and was veracious to better and better his craft. He was the first person I know that prided himself on being a massage “therapist”. Back then, the term was not used as much as the term “masseuse”. I believe Phoebe on Friends even called herself a “masseuse”.
What was different was that he didn’t have people “disrobe” (obviously this made things MUCH better for my situation). He asked that I wear a tank top. Done. Then, he didn’t use oil. Massage oil kinda shkeeves me. I am aware of it and accepting of it, being an OT and student of sensory processing disorders. I feel that he was able to better “grab” my skin because of the absence of oily hands (p.s. massage oils have come a long way these days). He had me sitting up and he stood on a stool to be over me to get leverage. He would position my head/neck/arms where the muscle bellies were taught and then he would go to work. I really loved this technique and unfortunately have yet to find anyone else who does it this way. Unfortunately things did not work out with his son and me. And in my state of loss I couldn’t help but think of Carrie Bradshaw grieving her loss of getting to hang out with Valarie Harper’s character in the Sex and the City who played her boyfriend’s mother…”Well, can WE still hang out?”
ALAS, I have come across someone who has fit the bill. Being that I am a clinician myself and a big anatomy nerd, I really like to drill people to see if they know their stuff. Well, Nicole Lerario is located in Red Bank and, baby, she knows her stuff. I can speak for the layman when I say that she is NOT just rubbing oil on you…she is targeting muscles and using techniques with a well-trained set of hands. She has a great space that provides you a warm private atmosphere. She takes the time before your session to talk and get to know you and your body.
I’m proud to say that there are so many massage therapists around now that are highly educated and taking their craft seriously, like Nicole. Massage therapy has really gone to new levels and it’s fantastic. Problem is that this needs to be part of insurance companies’ preventative medicine coverage. A little 5- minute therapeutic massage at the physical therapist’s office isn’t going to cut it. Whomever you choose to work with, educate yourself on your ailments, the muscles that seem to be affected and discuss activities that are limited by pain. I highly recommend therapeutic massage be added to your preventative health and wellness regime. Keep limber with stretching everyday (I like to stretch in the shower or in the sauna at the gym when my muscles are nice and warm) and treat yourself to a wonderful therapeutic massage as often as your budget allows.
Be well, my fellow Jersey Girls! xo
Nicole Lerario (Wellness Educator and LMT) Nicole started her journey into wellness in 2008, having graduated from the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY. She immediately moved to the Jersey Shore area and within 2 years started her private practice as A Kneaded Vacation Therapeutic Massage. Having launched her business through power networking only 5 years ago, Nicole has quickly become involved with numerous groups and has been invited to give talks on self-care and stress relief at the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, the Red Bank Rotary Club, the Red Bank Holistic Center, and the Red Bank Body Center.
Nicole also owns Mad Pots of Tea, a custom tea blending service. Her passion for tea has led to opportunities to share her passions and talk about the medicinal uses of herbs and teas. She has been invited to speak at Renew Wellness, the Atlantic Highlands Library, and Page Chiropractic& Wellness. Nicole has found ways to use tea to support local charities. She has been the keynote speaker at the local Ronald MacDonald House’s Annual Tea Party for the past 2 years in a row and she also created them special donation-generating blends.
Nicole is a Professional Member of the Navesink Business Group, the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce (where she also served on the Board of Directors), The American Massage Therapy Association (currently serving as Chapter Delegate), and the Holistic Exchange, which she founded in 2012. Under her leadership, the Holistic Exchange created a series of Community Stress Relief days to help support people in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
She is a part of the EWomen National Speakers Network. She enjoys birdwatching, hiking, world-travel and in everything she does, her aim it to help people get the most out of Living.