Brutal foot massage

by Kathleen Kelly

This story is part of our 'Funny Spa Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Networker.


“Walt Disney World” typically elicits images of children and Mickey Mouse, but what most people don’t realize is that the sprawling central Florida resort is a playground for adults as well, boasting no fewer than four luxury spas.

Enveloped in a fluffy white robe, I sat in the meditation lounge of one of these spas, sipping water infused with fresh lemon slices and glancing down occasionally to admire my freshly polished toenails.

Months earlier I had made an appointment for some post-5K reflexology, but hadn’t had time to get a pre-vacation pedicure. Between that and the rigours of running, my feet were a mess. Luckily, the staff had been able to accommodate me with a last-minute pedicure. Although it cost twice what I would have paid at home, when a handsome therapist came to collect me I was glad my feet were neat and pretty!

He led me to a candle-lit treatment room and asked if I had ever had reflexology. Indeed, I had. A therapist at my health club gave foot treatments that were pure heaven.

"I may do it a bit differently," he warned. "Some guests think I have a firm touch, but you’ll get the most benefit that way."

(Cue ominous music).

REFLEXOLOGY: Based on the ancient Egyptian tradition that energy zones run throughout and correspond to all of your body’s major organ systems, this treatment is performed entirely on the feet using a pressure point technique. Reflexology induces deep relaxation and improves circulation.

I stretched out on my back and settled into a comfortable position. He wrapped my feet in a warm, moist towel. Ambient music played softly and the room smelled faintly of lavender and vanilla. I closed my eyes, anticipating a delicious foot massage. "Brutus" had other ideas.

Grasping one foot tightly, he pulled my big toe upward and pressed a thumb into the ball of my foot. I winced.

"That’s a little uncomfortable," I said, tentatively. He was unmoved.

"You’ll appreciate this later; it produces deep relaxation."

"Well, don’t relax me too much," I laughed. "My husband and I have tickets for Cirque du Soleil tonight; I don’t want to fall asleep during the show!"

His response: more toe pulling and thumb gouging. "Ow!" I blurted in surprise.

He moved his thumb slightly and pressed even harder. I sat up on my elbows and glared at him. With a solemn expression he pronounced, "There’s a lot of tension in your uterus."

My uterus? Have I mentioned that it was that time of the month?

Normally I wouldn’t dream of sharing this with a stranger, but it was no time for modesty. Through gritted teeth, I enlightened him, adding, "Please move away from the uterus before I kick you in the face!"

He eyed me nervously. "And... we’re moving on!" he said.

I lay back and sighed, deeply regretting that I had not chosen a detoxifying body wrap. For this sadist I spent $50 on a pedicure. I should have left my feet nasty.

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