I love massages.
Who doesn’t? From the hands that lull you to sleep to the heavenly feeling you get when you stand up feeling like you shed your skin, massages are unbelievably indulgent. They can never really go wrong.
Or can they?
Massages Gone Wrong
To our deepest sadness, yes; they can escalate down the wrong path really easily. Case in point is a pregnant woman who lost her child after doing a Thai massage, but that is a story for another day.
Remember how Singaporeans absolutely adore going to countries like Malaysia for cheap massages (don’t act like you’re not guilty of doing it)?
Well, red alert, because Public Health Malaysia has recently come out on Facebook to warn everyone about massages, especially neck massages.
Here comes the story: once upon a time (2017 is truly ages back), a 57-year-old man went to cut his hair.
But the outcome of his hair has nothing to do with this story. He accepted his customary massage from his barber. Aren’t free massages just the stuff of heavens?
Shortly after leaving, he had trouble breathing.
It’s not the casual out of breath feeling you get after finishing a marathon (that’s maybe just 1 km) or when you think of your favourite k-pop idol.
No, it was so dire that he had to be rushed to the hospital.
It was reported that the phrenic nerve in his neck was injured. The particular nerve happens to help control his diaphragm.
So what happens when the organ that keeps you alive and breathing gets damaged? You need breathing support — possibly for life.
I find that my ‘once upon a time’ stories never have a happy ending.
For those hoping that he would make it out alright and fine and bouncy and all things nice — because it’s just a massage, right? — he didn’t.
The man’s diaphragm was, and I quote from the doctor, “completely paralysed”. From a simple crack sound that we often hear.
It’s Not a One-Time Thing
If you thought that these accidents are a one-time thing, you’re in for another ugly surprise because it’s not. According to Public Health Malaysia, frequent neck massages can lead to “osteoarthritis” in the neck.
Basically, what is protecting your neck joints gets worn down and becomes searingly painful. And you may have to undergo surgery.
I may be exaggerating the pain, but the measures taken is definitely not fictional.
If you are currently terrified and doubting your life choices, take heart!
After all, as long as you get a professional massage and not some shady and cheap one, you’ll most likely come out fine. Just remember to politely decline your barber’s massage next time!
Now go out there and enjoy your massages responsibly, or abstain from massage for the rest of your life.