On the Beach

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A note on the art of head massage

Worldwide, in hairdressers and beauty salons a "head massage" is very often thrown in as an additional "luxury" when you have a facial, a haircut, a massage or any kind of treatment. The idea is that it helps you relax.

Now, I'm here to tell you that that is not always the case and that untrained and insensitive hands have no business massaging my head or anyone else's. Aside from the few pleasant head massages I have had, there are, in my opinion, several types of undesirable head massage which fall into the following categories:

1. The pressure is too light and I feel like I am being tickled. Giggling like a 2 year old whilst lying on a bed, semi-clad, listening to "earth music" is not very becoming and, in the enclosed space of a treatment room could come across as a little weird.

2. The pressure is too hard: The Pimple Squeezer. This "massager" basically treats your head like a giant pimple with your brain being the pus. They push and they squeeze from all angles, perhaps in the hope that your brain will ooze out after enough pressure has been applied. I am far from relaxed and leave feeling as if I have pits in my skull.

3. The pressure is too hard: The Kneader. The person giving this massage is a frustrated baker. They actually knead your head. The pushing from side to side leaves you disorientated, bruised and  you leave with a misshapen head.   My focus during these is keeping my neck and shoulders very stiff to avoid, literally, losing my head. Not much R&R there.

I thought these were the only categories until today when I went to the hairdresser where, of course, an unsolicited  head massage is thrown in with the hair wash. The hair washer had a very unique style.

It started when she washed my hair, very vigorously and for a very loooooooong time. Her modus operandi would have been infinitely better suited to a dog grooming parlour or an uncooperative child with persistent nits. She scrubbed and rubbed until I must have had a large foam afro, kneading and kneading my hair until I feared that no amount of conditioner would ever untangle it. She did this twice. Perhaps the foam afro wasn't big enough or my hair tangled enough after the first round.

When, to my enormous relief, she started the conditioner phase she proceeded to SCRATCH her nails over my head. Finally, released the tyranny of her hands, I couldn't look her in the eye, feeling traumatised and manhandled.

She seemed terribly pleased with herself, as if, perhaps, she had just cleaned up some filthy flea-ridden St. Bernard.

My point (if there is any) is this:. Don't provide a free service if you can't provide it properly. A rubbish, unsolicited free service is just as disappointing as one you paid for.

And it may be less traumatising for your clients.

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