Tukta instructed me to move into a new position: on my left side, with neck, back and left leg in a line, right leg bent 90 degrees at the hip with it’s knee on the mat, right knee bent 90 degrees. I wondered what was going to happen next. She placed one knee at the top of my left hamstring.
Timeout for some background. For the past 18 months, about once every 10 days I get a Thai massage from Tukta. It’s worked wonders on tight muscles and misaligned body parts. She knows how much pain I can take and how long it takes me to begin relaxing into the pain or pressure of a move. That’s when progress happens, so I try to focus on relaxing the muscle while she watches so as to back off if I can’t before it gets counter productive. We now return to her unusually placed knee.
Tukta is not petite. She’s 70kg of offensive guard body type. After she placed her knee on my hamstring she lifted the other one from the ground. OHMYGOD. The muscle contracted as tight as a towel being wrung out. I stopped breathing, saw a pulsating blue ring on the inside of each eyelid and my free leg tensed in sympathy.
Despite the other reactions it was only medium level pain. Everything still seemed to function so I started breathing again. The blue rings went away. Eventually I was able to relax the hamstring a bit. She re-positioned her knee a few inches down the leg and repeated the move
Timeout for a physiology lesson. Everything is connected. She pushes here, it quivers over there. She plants an elbow here and I feel it dull pain all the way down the limb. Change the pressure a bit and it’s becomes a hot circle of pain around her touch. Sometimes she asks what and where I’m feeling to confirm she’s hit the spot right. Did you forget about her second knee plant? I didn’t.
OHMYFUCKINGGOD – TheFirstOneWasJUSTAWarmUp! No blue rings this time. Instead my right foot attempted to point to the ceiling, curling the leg into something resembling a wood shaving. It felt like my right little toe, and only the little toe, was trying to drive it’s nail into the bottom of my foot. Tukta laughs, then tells me to look at the toe. Despite no glasses I can see my foot well because it’s silhouetted against the wall. Three toes point one direction, the fourth is slightly curled and the little toe looks like it has always wanted to be a Nautilus shell.
Eventually she worked down both legs without any more drama because both my body and mind knew what to expect. That was yesterday. Today my hammies are way looser than they’ve ever been.
[Update July 5, 2012] Yesterday had the first massage since the one written about above. Her knee and body weight on my hamstring was no big deal. It’s still the most intense move, but not unexpected and that made all the difference.