I’ll admit it: I’m kind of a laggard. I wasn’t even sure what the word meant until recently, when a friend said it with a hearty belly laugh during our last happy-hour banter. At first, I thought that he’d called me a “lughead,” which means “bumbling fool,” though it’s often uttered endearingly or in jest. In any case, that descriptor would have been warranted, too, because I had been bumbling around trying to find this new pub, when the directions were straightforward enough to anyone with a modicum of navigational savvy (i.e., anyone but me).
“Laggard,” though, means something different. It almost sounds like it conveys an air of laziness, a reluctance to move off the couch, but that’s not me at all — I have the uniquely opposite problem of not being able to sit still through a one-hour Netflix special. When my friend called me a laggard, he was mocking me in the business sense of the word, the technical definition meaning someone slow to jump on innovation bandwagons.
In my case, he was referring to my ardent refusal to join Instagram, as probably the only millennial in the country who doesn’t have an account. Even my boomer father urges me to install TikTok to experience a whole new world of dance videos involving pets (to be fair, I get a lot of those from Reddit). Many years ago, I was the only person in my friend group to cling to my BlackBerry when everyone else upgraded to iPhone or Android — but in my defense, my preference of buttons over touchscreen was more important than my ability to play Words With Friends (come on, doesn’t anyone enjoy the old-school board game of Scrabble anymore?)
For the most part, I have no regrets about not being an early adopter — at least, when it comes to technology. Resistance is futile, so I always end up giving in eventually, although I’m not quite there yet with Instagram. When it comes to other practices, though, I’ll admit that I’ve made some mistakes.
I’m semi-serious about running, yet I’ve scoffed at my fellow marathoners for investing in the latest supershoes, committing to dynamic warmups, and taking recovery seriously. For the longest time, my running friends squealed the praises of massage to soothe achy muscles, and I stubbornly insisted I didn’t need one. After all, professional massage was expensive, and I wanted to save my money for sushi.
Finally, in the midst of pandemic boredom, I booked my first deep-tissue session — and, let’s just say, I was transformed. All of a sudden, I realized how tight my tissues were in places I barely knew existed; and then, like magic, they relaxed. I felt the dopamine rush as robustly as the familiar runner’s high on race day. And soon after I bounded off that massage table, I skipped down the streets with a newfound spark. Of course, I thought to myself: why hadn’t I taken the plunge sooner?
Setting Up An At-Home Massage Room
There’s something about massage that is sacred, I realized. It’s not just the release of muscle tension, the kneading of the knots in your back. The massage room is a sanctuary of sorts, a place where you can truly be present, experience all your senses. It’s like a fortress where, at least for a little while, your worries and obligations melt away. The therapeutic effects transcend the physical; they permeate the spiritual.
So when my massage therapist told me — after I’d just become a convert to this idea — that he was closing his business and retiring next year, I was heartbroken. Now what? I thought. Fortunately, my friends assured me, you don’t always have to travel to a spa or office for an hour of zen — many massage therapists will come to you, in your home.
While most practitioners will bring their own massage table, the key to creating your home sanctuary is to set up your own space — maybe even an entire room — that’s designed just like a spa room, with the full sensory experience in mind. As you pick out products for your at-home massage lair, consider items that awaken your senses — sight, smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste — and you’ll complete your cozy castle in no time.
Not sure where to start? Dim the lights, sip some chamomile, and check out our most peaceful picks and massage room ideas:
Take control of your comfort by investing in your own massage table, like this strong and sturdy surface with high-density foam. It’s portable and lightweight, oil- and waterproof, and draped in luxurious leather for the ultimate spa-like experience. Plus, what color is more redolent of relaxation than lavender?
Whatever the weather, this fleece bundle will keep you feeling warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and like you’re floating on air all year round. The set includes two fleece pillow covers to rest your face while enjoying your rub.
This soft, ergonomic cradle cushion places less stress on your face while your massage therapist is destressing your muscles.
Made from 100% organic cotton, these comfy flannel sheets are not just snug and smooth on your skin — they’re sustainable, too!
This contouring body oil “helps eliminate toxins and excess water to promote a streamlined silhouette and reduce the appearance of sponginess.” Um, yes please.
And what spa experience is complete without scented candles? Harnessing the healing power of essential oils, the Pure Calm Wellness Candle sparks up your space with a calming blend of lavender, rose, and sandalwood.
But if you’re worried about a potential fire hazard, this electric aromatherapy diffuser disperses the same soothing oils using mood-lifts mists. Plus, the device lights up in calming colors from dim to bright!
While you’re breathing in your favorite fragrances, you’ll want to bask in some gentle sounds. Whether you’re an Enya aficionado or you prefer the nocturnes of nature, this wireless speaker with dual bass radiators will deliver the perfect melody from your playlist.
But if you prefer to use your vintage boombox, try these healing instrumental tracks on CD.
Now that the music has mellowed you out, dim the lights with this atmospheric lamp. From color control to soft white lighting, this lamp can match any mood on the massage table.
Of course, you won’t want to gaze at bare walls. Complete your castle’s elegant ambiance with some colorful wall artwork, like this four-panel flower canvas.
…and these intricate anatomy prints to add professionalism to your palace. Seriously, what massage therapy office doesn’t have one of these posters?
Once you’ve achieved full-body tranquility, boost your zen with a beverage like Tazo green tea!
But most importantly, hydrate with H2O and electrolytes to leave your muscles soothed instead of sore. That session hurt so good, that next time you’ll be pumped and ready for more!
Which products are your favorites? Have you successfully personalized a massage room in your home? Share your experience in the comments!
Check These Out For Even More Ways To Relax At Home: