Starting about 15 years back, professional spa treatments and I became fast friends. That was before lupus had set in, and in those days, the spa treatments always came in the form of massages. I didn't have them often, most of them coming once or twice a year as a reward for a job well done from my company or an appreciative client, but when I did, they were a welcomed treat.
Once lupus arrived on the scene, however, massages had to take a back seat - the pain and inflammation in my joints were too much to handle on their own, and there was no way I was going to pay someone to rattle those joints even more. So, just like most things when it comes to lupus, I made a change. Instead of a massage, I opted for a facial, or sometimes a manicure/pedicure, although I usually skipped the massage part of those services, too, as my jaw and hands/feet were some of my sorest joints. But as long as the service required as little jostling and prodding (and as little movement on my part) as possible, it was relaxing and enjoyable.
Later, as my health improved, I slowly worked back up to full service facials and mani/pedi's - including the massage part. It was a sign that my body was healing...and even though I only had them once in awhile, I relished in the fact that life was very slowly returning to normal.
The next step on my spa-rometer was to try an exfoliation body treatment...acknowledging that even though I might not be ready for a full-body massage yet, the idea of being exfoliated from head to toe with the equivalent of granulated lotion sounded right up my alley. And you know what? It was! (For those of you who like your back scratched, I think exfoliation treatments might be for you, too.) I loved being scratched all over - it was so relaxing and it felt great. And my skinned glowed for days afterward. And given the fact that my joints felt good enough to enjoy the treatment was cause for celebration. Healing was continuing, and my choice of spa treatments was a telltale sign.
And the most recent benchmark that I've reached on my spa-rometer? The massage! That's right - I've worked my way back to a full-body massage - having no pain, soreness, or inflammation in sight - paving the way for an enjoyable and pain-free massage. I still only have them as a special treat...but my annual massage came just a few weeks ago, and it felt just as good as it did pre-lupus. You wouldn't ever know this body was chronic-illness ridden - and aside from my bony looking fingers - I don't think the massage therapists would guess it, either. (Of course, I ALWAYS disclose the fact that I do have lupus - it's very important to clue them in to what's going on medically/physically.)
Already looking forward to next year's treat - although I may even try to fit in another treatment later this year. Why not do a little living well, despite lupus, eh?