During our last vacation, Dar and I visited Sycamore Mineral Hot Springs. We started the morning with massages (I got my first hot stone massage). We luxuriated in a private hot spring bath in the forest and ended with lunch at the spa’s cafe. During the massage, I got into a discussion with the therapist about whether a massage was a luxury or a necessary part of an exercise regime.
I have heard from trainers the opinion that a massage keeps the body healthier and prevents injury. My wonderful pilates instructor, Vera Szepesi (who has her own studio called, appropriately, Esprit de Core) believes in massages and often recommends that I get them more frequently. I know people who get massages as often as once a week!
So are massages a luxury or a necessity? Are they acceptable or an extravagance? Luxury, if not quite a mortal sin in my book, is at least extremely shameful. I prefer the sky over my head at night to a king-sized canopy bed. I would like, one day, to let go of material possessions, take only what fits in my backpack, and head out into nature. This dream certainly does not leave room for a massage!
I know part of my dislike for luxury comes from the values that were imbued in me by my parents and my school. Israel is a somewhat socialist country. When I grew up thirty years ago restaurants were much less prevalent than today. Dizingoff Center and the Kenyon in Ramat Gan were a miracle of creation, amazing shopping Centers where we went on special occasions only and certainly did not buy anything. And nobody I know ever got a massage.
I remember one time my mother’s uncle visited us from Colombia, and we took him to the solitary Chinese Restaurant near Herzliya. In honor of the occasion I got to eat strawberries in whipped cream for dessert. Ah, I will never forget the taste of these strawberries till my last day on this earth! Not one of the intricate concoctions I have had since will ever compare.
So are strawberries in cream a luxury or can we eat them every day? Would it cheapen their uniqueness if we did? I remember when I came to the United States and was introduced to blueberries for the first time. Blueberries in whipped cream! Yum!
Wait, how did this discussion degrade to food, anyways? One moment I was talking about the physical value of a massage, and the next I am salivating over fattening foods. I have no real answer for my question. In the end, it is my decision whether to give myself permission to luxuriate oftener in massage. As to the strawberries in whipped cream, it has been eleven years now that my stomach cannot digest dairy. They have become, and apparently will remain, a dream of mine, to enjoy but never fulfill, and I think that is just fine.,