Yoga Studio, Salt Room, and Massage Therapy in Manitowoc, Wisconsin

The Goldilocks Treatment

It’s springtime when afternoon light brings me to Gina with a lofty goal: release deep grief. We talk briefly. She listens, then says, you have an interesting neck. Interesting is a word used to avoid judgment. I’m cool with that, for I have come not to be judged, but to be nudged. Little do I know what that means to a soul like Gina.

She motions me toward a room and I think, what am I made of, anyway? Bones. Muscles. Ears. Eyes. But what of the millions of cells awash in emotion, holding old story? Will Gina find them? Yes, I discover, because her Goldilocks Treatment (I made that up) incorporates touch, color, and sound.

It begins on Bed One where I lay on, clothed with eyes shut while infrared rays from a Biomat heat me, cook me. I melt. She rings chimes, then places singing bowls on my chest and torso. Their waves, rich and full, roll into me. A scent wafts around me. Later, I learn it is Blue Essence, a multitude of oils chosen to open the parasympathetic nervous system, where, ah ha, emotions reside.

After what could be hours or days, Gina tells me to rise, undress, and move to Bed Two. There, her hands knead my face, shoulders, and curious neck. I drift, barely hear her reciting the great poet Rumi. Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. All that matters to me is her ability to sculpt the canyons, cliffs, and bluesy rivers of my body where I’ve been hurting, a vast vista I cannot see.

Unknown to me, pink quartz under the bed emits unconditional love. Purple amethyst in Tibetan stones—warmed and placed on me strategically—radiate like the earlier blue, the color of water to clear, the color of sky at midnight when we reach out to God. I sway in the heat of yellow, the color of enlightenment. Gradually, I feel my emotional body, the loosening of mystical memories.

And then, time to rise, dress, and move to Bed Three. That bed is made of beechwood and padoukwood, a four-tone bass drum made in Germany. It is shaped like a chaise lounge, atop which is a fluffy sheepskin. I lie down, close my eyes. New tools arrive: tuning forks in the key of kindness, a felted stick she taps against the wooden bed, and a voice singing—hers, an angel voice, higher pitched and ethereal. All these sounds vibrate me to another dimension. Slowly, I sense the presence of someone I have lost. Tears pour from my eyes, nose, fingers, bones. And I know, he’s here. My belly heaves, rushing, flowing, insights delivered to go on.

Later, she tells me she too felt something and asked within. He stood next to her, she says, his hand on my belly in that third bed. I quiver. I ask what she found in my neck.

That’s over, she smiles, now we go forward. And I do, rocking in body music, listening to the strangeness of myself, this odd gift of being alive, hearing waterfalls within.

-Kathryn Gahl