Trust, but Verify

August 2, 2018  |  no comments yet

Free image by Asif Akbar

I recently enjoyed a spa pedicure.

My aestheticism had been practicing for more than twenty years; her touch was sure and caring. She offered me a good tip: I’d been cutting my toenails too short, causing callouses to form at the tips of my big toes.

Then she asked me if I knew why people got oily skin. Since I couldn’t list the hormonal, genetic, environmental, and other possible causes, I said, “No, not really.”

“It happens when people grasp too tightly on things they want. They feel things slipping away, like a greased pig,” she said.

Cue the song’s abrupt end as the needle screeched off the record.

Her comment was uncalled for. It had no bearing on my treatment. Even if it did, it was not based in reality. I didn’t harsh my mellow by saying any of this, but gently redirected her back to my treatment.

Like a good massage, a good spa pedicure stands on its own. It needs no added “woo” to dress it up and make it seem more complicated than it is. Aside from the irresponsibility of conveying pseudoscience, this kind of talk detracts from the experience.

I do trust that my aesthetician believed what she said, and that she wanted the best for me and all her clients. Fortunately, I verify any claims regarding my skin and general health with sources more empirically reliable than the person giving me a pedicure.

If your massage therapist tells you something beyond the scope of massage therapy, I hope you’ll seek verification and take it for what it’s worth.

Massage is valuable when you feel beneficial sensations and your nervous system feels safe enough to relax. This is powerful and stands on its own.