Flight, Hotel, Spa

International Orange facial

“Take a deep breath.” I did, and with it Lisa Souza, my massage practitioner at San Francisco’s International Orange, pressed into a knot just below my shoulder blade, deep in the latissimus dorsi. She worked along the length of it, not as a baker kneads bread, but rather as person wringing water from a damp cloth. Each press was deliberate, powerful.

I’d asked for the deep tissue treatment. Eight hours in planes from Boston (six hours to LGB, almost another two to SFO) had taken their toll, and this, I hoped, might spell relief.

Then she found it, and paused for a moment, now with her elbow bearing down into it. In that instant my toes tensed and I held for a time the deep breath I’d just taken. Lisa turned, shifted her pressure, I exhaled. The coiled knots had been dispatched. The soreness of flights too long, the stress of the office I couldn’t escape, had been forgotten.

In that dreamy space that followed, I wondered if massage treatment should, as a matter of general practice, be scheduled as soon as one’s flight and hotel arrangements are made. Catherine Wargo, director of client services for International Orange, agreed. I asked her what advice she might have for somebody traveling, as I often do, to a conference:

What most men wouldn’t think of, but I’d really recommend is a facial. The dry air in planes dehydrates the skin and leaves you looking ashen. Facials exfoliate the skin so you can present a fresh face at the conference.

What else? Catherine suggests leg and foot therapy, either as focus in a massage treatment or as an add on. Yes, it might help prevent deep vein thrombosis, but also, “it just feels good.”