Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Master Lee Experience

Master Lee's on Front Street, soon moving to a new location

So I've been suffering from lower back pain for quite some time now.... a few months, maybe. It just started out as a dull pain, mostly after standing for long periods of time or after a long walk, but about a week ago it went from "dull" to "Holy-shit-I-can't-walk-at-all."

After getting some opinions on Facebook about who to see/where to go/what to do, I decided I would try a highly recommended massage therapist first. Miss Shirlene, located on the beach in Boca del Rio, gives a fantastic deep tissue massage. It's hard for me to totally relax and shut off my brain while I'm getting a massage and I think it's because I, too, am a massage therapist - so if they do a stroke or something that I like, I think, "oooo, I have to remember that one," and if they do something I don't like I think, "wtf is this lady doing to me?" All I really kept thinking while with Shirlene was, "this is awesome, but it's sooooo not helping my back."

I had the same exact thoughts the following day when I had another massage therapist, a girl named Ashty, come to my house to work on me again. Another excellent massage that I would have enjoyed immensely, had I not had one specific area of pain that needed more than just a good rub down, 

What I really wanted to do was get adjusted by Doc, the chiropractor here on the island that almost everyone I know goes to for adjustments. Of course, Doc is off the island for vacation until mid-August... because that's the kind of luck I have. 

Sooo... by this point I'm out almost $200 for the massages and ... well, I think I'm one of the few legitimately poor white people who live here - I pretty much had one last shot at finding someone who could help me before I totally ran out of money. (aaand I can't go back to work until this is taken care of) 

I had three choices left - a new chiropractor down south and whom I had no reviews about since no one I know has used him yet; another doctor who does acupuncture and TENS therapy; or Master Lee, who sparked a bit of controversy when I asked about him on Facebook...
Here are some of the "reviews" I got about him:

"Watch out for fast aggressive movements. I am sure he will want you to remove your shirt as well."
"...some massage maybe some needles and harsh aggressive manipulatons ie legs over head while face up etc."
"Ran into a guy I know yesterday. He said he saw your post. He told me to tell you he swears by Master Lee, and brought others down here just to see him..."
"I had a completely normal experience with Master Lee... 5 stars"
"...Mr Lee tries to get you naked or close to it. If you see him, refuse that part; go with a guy then he is less inclined to be improper."
"Master Lee fixed a 2 year problem with my neck and shoulder. The pain felt like a knife was sticking between my shoulder blades, 24/7. He did beat the shit out of me, but 5 months later I'm pain free."
"Master Lee is inappropriate,., you have been warned."
"Some of your stories about groping and copulation are a lot of hearsay and very demeaning to a man who had helped many many people in pain and need from afar here and in Belize! I have 4 nieces and a sister-in-law who he has treated and helped cure old injuries from sports and car accidents...neck/leg and back pain and one with stomach issues and none of them ever had any issues with improper touching! ....." (this was a LONG comment, but that's the gist.)

So - as you can see - I received mixed opinions about Master Lee.

                                          Massage for weight loss?!? Hmmm.....

Obviously, it was Master Lee who I chose to go to...

For my first visit I told him what's been going on with me and he only had me there for about 15 minutes for an adjustment. Maybe it was a little "harsh," as I was warned - but I'm no sissy when it comes to spinal manipulations, so I was fine with it. It really didn't help my pain ease up at all, but it DID get rid of the numb sensation I had going on in my hips and thighs, so that was a good start.

I went back to him the following day for a massage...

Having received hundreds of massages in the States and having given probably thousands of massages over the past 15 years, I'm used to the client having a little privacy while they disrobe and get onto the table. I'm also used to staying covered up under a sheet while I'm basically naked on the table.

He had me undress down to my bra and underwear and lay face down, and then he helped me slip the bra off. He then pulled my underwear down below my bum and proceeded to massage me. (Seriously, throw away your modesty or any prudishness if you're going to see him.)

It's hard to remember everything he did, step-by-step. I know he worked on my back for quite a while, digging in to the sides of my spine and deep in my glutes, shaking me around to see how much movement my body wanted to give, etc.
Then he had me turn over and "covered me" with a paper towel while he dug around and did some deep work on my entire pelvis area. I could see why some people would think what he was doing would be considered "inappropriate," but honestly - nothing he did felt creepy or unnecessary. Yes, he got a little close to my lady bits - but he had to. If you know anything about the anatomy of the pelvis, then you know how many nerves are running around in there, and if one of your bones is out of whack, your nerves get pinched and it HURTS. 

At one point - and all I kept thinking was, "hmm, should i ask him to take a picture for me or no...?" he used those suction cup thingers on me. He had one big one right on the center of my stomach, one on each hip, and then a smaller one riiiight on my pelvis. It looked SO weird - all my stomach fat just sucked up into a tube... so, so weird. 

That paper towel that he had "covered me" with didn't stay in use for very long. He got on the table and straddled me, had me put my feet up under his armpits (like we were going to do "airplane") had me hold onto his wrists while he yanked me up towards him, and the paper towel was no longer. Whatever - I rolled with it. Again, I didn't get a "creeper" vibe from him or from anything he was doing - I really think that the people who warned me about getting groped need to loosen up a bit. Master Lee is a great guy, and even though I'm not 100% yet - I can tell that he knows what he's doing

He gave me a very fair price, and I can actually move my left leg forward to walk without wincing in pain with every movement again (not too far forward, that still takes my breath away, in a bad, bad way) 

I'm supposed to see him again next Tuesday for another massage and adjustment, and I'm pretty confident that I'll feel way better after that visit.

Until then, I'm taking it easy, doing very gentle stretches, sleeping on a mat on the floor, doing ice therapy, and taking anti inflammatory drugs (which I HATE taking, but whatareyagonnado?)

Me and the Master... My post-massage face looks a lot like my high face....
And he's just adorable, isn't he? 

STILL looking for someone in San Pedro who can help me redesign my blog....