For the last few years I have had pain in my hip tied into my back and all the changes that go on there with, sigh, aging. I was sort of hoping for a magic injection to make the pain disappear but the two doctors I’ve seen keep wanting me to see a kinesthiologist, where massages, acupressure and other methods are used. I’ve never had this done before so it was all new to me. I’ve been to two, one in Paris and one here in Provence and, as I like to do, I got to thinking about the differences between them.
The one in Paris is a very nice guy. When I’m in his office it is almost a spiritual experience. Between the first set of appointments and my second with him, he changed offices. The new one is absolutely beautiful with high ceilings, fireplaces, gleaming wooden floors and decorative molding everywhere. He said it-the office- came to them like a gift from heaven, he actually said it fell from heaven. I wish my French were good enough to get into a discussion on how this happened. He speaks English but not a lot. When I come in for an appointment, I lie on my back on the massage table and he stands at my feet. He places his fingers on my feet, bows his head, closes his eyes and, he says, feels for pulses. To me this seems almost magical if not spiritual. The first time he did this he asked me about pain in my shoulder. Once after massaging one hip he felt the pulses in my feet and said the other hip was “jealous” and he had to work on it some. He’s a very quiet, gentle man and he and his wife do volunter work in Nepal with homeless children. There should be some sort of eastern chant being played in his office(there is silence) while incense burns and maybe he should wear a robe. Often after leaving an appointment with him I feel like I have been to church, sort of clean and refreshed.
The new kine, this one near our home here in Provence, is a totally different experience. His office is very minimal and business like with industrial carpet on the floors. and he often has two patients at once, me getting a massage while the other is either doing some sort of exercising or soaking. The first time he opened the door to greet me I was surprised as he was very handsome. I could picture him on a motorbike with a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth like some French movie star. He is very young and lively, full of fun and there is always music (pop music, not rap, thank God) going on in the background to which he sings, hums or whistles while massaging my back. The first appointment he told me that he didn’t speak a word of English, none at all, but he does. He does the massage totally different from the man in Paris, all on my back not at all on my hip, finding two very sore and tender areas that he presses. He told me that my back muscles were stronger than my stomach muscles which led to my back curving as it does and thus the pain and that I should work on stomach exercises, something that I really hate to do. He teases me a lot, doing a mock head banging on the wall when I told him I was from Texas the home of Bush. He thinks Sarkosy and Bush are “la meme”, the same. When I didn’t understand something he was telling me I told him that I would have my husband call him and he said, “Oh, your Papa?” which I think was teasing for my actions. I slapped him on the arm when he said this. He asked me if I had been drinking when I dropped something twice. I often feel a little woosy when the massage is over for some reason. Anyway, I’m not sure how much his massage is doing although it feels really good as does the ten minutes with a hot pack on my back at the end. When I leave his office it is like I’ve spent some time with my son and his friends at a bar. But, sad to say, I don’t think either of them has managed to stop the hip pain.