Grocery Guide

I'm in the Market...for a Massage?

Perhaps because I don't shop regularly at Whole Foods Market, I only just noticed that in addition to a juice/java bar, a woefully small parking lot and an amazing selection of yogurt, they also have an on-site massage therapist.

Which is genius, I think, because grocery shopping, at least for me, tends to induce alternately extreme stress and extreme pleasure. But mostly stress as I agonize over my purchase choices and beat myself for buying overpriced processed baked goods. An intense upper-back massage would probably be the one purchase that would leave me feeling completely relaxed and satisfied.

So one recent Sunday (the worst day to go food shopping, yet always the day I find myself at the market), I ventured to Whole Foods to try out their chair massage services.

Whole Foods doesn't have a separate spa or anything (THOUGH IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF THEY DID) but rather a glass-walled nook to give the masseuse and customer a bit of privacy. The rate is $1 per minute, on the cheaper side but probably fair considering it's not full body and you are a bit exposed to the public in the process. (Not that I care: I would accept a back massage in the middle of Times Square from a sex offender, so do I love a good rub-down.)

I still felt slightly awkward as I got in place for my massage, mostly because I overheard a young child watching nearby exclaim, "Mommy, what's that girl doing?!?" But my self-consciousness soon melted away, as did the first of many, many knots in my posterior thoracic region.

After 30 minutes, I felt pretty damn zen. Not so zen that I wouldn't have gone for a half hour more if I had the funds, but relaxed enough to brave the Sunday crowds at Whole Foods. I strolled through the aisle of gluten-free breads and macrobiotic juice smiling like a stoned surfer on a Thai beach. But my high was legal and hangover-free and facilitated some savvy shopping.

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Joanna O'Leary