Ayurvedic Oil Massage (or Karol Gets Naked In Front Of A Short Indian Man)


It’s the end of Day 2 at my guitar building workshop and my left forearm is in a burning pain. This workshop definitely isn’t for those with carpal tunnel or other forearm problems. I decide to let it be. “Maybe it won’t hurt tomorrow.”

Upon waking up from an 11 hour sleep (did I mention that building a guitar is exhausting work?) my forearm twitches in intense pain. Thankfully it’s Saturday and there will be no guitar workshop today.

I’ve got to take care of this pain.

Being that I’m in the land of Ayurvedic Oil Massage I decide this will be my course of action. The neti pot is an Ayurvedic treatment and you know how much I love the neti. Seems like a great plan.

First, a quick lesson on Ayurveda: it’s a traditional Indian system of medicine. The word Ayu is derived from Ayussu, which means “life span,” and veda means “knowledge.” Therefore, Ayurveda is the knowledge of life. :) It is all encompassing, meaning it deals with body, mind, and soul. And although in this instance I am using it for treatment, it is generally a way of life and used regularly for prevention.

(Don’t say you didn’t learn anything from this article!)

There are approximately 10 Ayurveda clinics on a short 1 km stretch of Calangute-Baga Road so I have many to choose from. I pop into 4 to get prices and recommended treatments.

Unanimously the Elakizhi massage is the recommended route to take, with prices from 700-1500 Rupees. Elakizhi begins with a 45 minute full body massage and ends with approximately 30 minutes of a boiling herbal treatment, focusing on any specific pains.

I don’t understand why nobody will just massage my arm because otherwise, being that the rest of my body is made of an indestructible polymer you won’t discover for another 200 years, I’m all good. (We ran out of materials in the future so my arms are made of human…in case you were wondering.)

I chalk it up to “Don’t be stupid! They gotta treat the whole body Karol!”

(Yes, I did just claim I’m from the future. Yes, I’m sticking to it. No, you can’t have tomorrow’s lottery numbers.)

My first choice is to find a massage center run by women, for obvious reasons. But it seems the men have this little beach town on lock down. Or maybe I just don’t know where to look.

Whatever, I need a massage.

I decide to choose the shadiest looking of the group of massage centers.

It’s tiny, 3 rooms, and in a little shopping plaza with a knick knack shop on each side. If nothing else, it seems like a good choice because it’s the only massage center with another client actually getting a massage.

For 900 Rupees (~$20) I’m going to get a full body massage by a man “specializing” in Ayurvedic massage. I don’t see any certifications, but hey, who am I to judge? I don’t have an English degree and here I am writing to you. (English degrees are phased out in the future, sorry friends.)

I step inside a tiny room and the man tells me to take off my clothes. I take off my shirt and shorts and stop for a second.

Underwear too?

I don’t know the protocol, and I don’t want to jump the gun, if you will.

He motions for me to lie down on my stomach.

In one fell swoop he pulls off my Ex Officios and hangs them up.

“But you told me I was your first! How are you THAT good?!”

I am officially naked and another man is going to run oil and fingers all over my body for the next 75 minutes.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say the man “grazed me” more than once. I guess that’s not sparing you the details, huh? Sorry. (No I’m not. You’re going to be just as uncomfortable as me, thank you very much.)

The actual massage consists of an incredible amount of oils and the smell of exhaust and cow manure wafting in from the street. My left forearm gets a Ben Gay-like oil treatment. If you’ve never smelled Ben Gay, it smells like Grandma’s bathroom.

To complete the session, the man asks me to stand up, and then towels me off (uhh, I should really choose better words) to get rid of excess oil.

As I head out the door feeling like a 5 cent trick I have 3 thoughts on my mind:

1) That was the least relaxing massage I’ve ever had.

2) My forearm still burns.

3) Next, I’m getting my hair done at Amanda Bynes’s salon:


  1. Karol, I’m glad you chose the photo you did, rather than one of yourself getting the massage, not sure we could have handled that…..LOL.

    Hope the pain becomes managable (and you find some more supplies of that polymer), and that your guitar makes some amazing music to make the pain worthwhile.

  2. Haha, you have to love a good massage story. I am glad you spared those details. Man massages can really go in any direction. You can have the most amazing and relaxed massage ever, OR you can go in and meet a hair man that grazes stuff.

  3. I can’t tell you how difficult it is for me to restrain from writing a paragraph of puns. Really, I just don’t have that kind of time before work :)

    I’m curious about the process of making the guitars that has led to this kind of pain.

    • haha…I am documenting the guitar building process with pictures/video/writing! I’m not sure exactly where it will appear yet. I’m shooting for Guitar World.


  4. Karol, thanks for sharing. I’m glad that I’ve subscribed to your blog. You’re funny.

    I see that you are also a vegan. And a traveler. Will you marry me:-)

    Kidding, kidding. My wife follows my every move. I’m now in deep you know what and it’s all your fault.

  5. Karol, sorry man. I looked at your website. I thought you were of the fairer sex. And you look rather cute, but I don’t swing that way.

    Have you ever thought of either a name or sex change?

  6. WOW. This has to be the most interesting post I have ever read. The future, naked in front of a shady Indian midget, guitars, 5 cent trick, indestructible polymer and being ” grazed” a few times. I definitely have to looking into this travelling the world thing, minus the naked man on man action.
    Ridiculously Extraordinary, you couldn’t have picked a better name. I want to see how your going to top this post.

  7. This post really cracked me up! :-D
    I would have loved to see a pic of you during the massage……. ;-)

    Anyway, sorry about your pain. I understand that very well, I’ve had my share too.
    Maybe you want to try acupuncture next…
    Take care!

    • Hi Marina!

      No pics! :)

      I actually went to a legit Ayurvedic clinic and got a massage (plus take home oil) that relieved my pain! WOOHOOO!


  8. Ahahaha, I gotta tell you Karol, that was a fantastic read. And it really cracked me up as well. I can just imagine how awkward and UN-relaxing a massage like that would have been.

    You know when you see a guy get hit in the groin? And you can only help but wince in pain even just watching it. Its not quite the same reaction, but its close.

    ***Note to self***
    Never get a massage by a man


    Aside from that, how is India thus far?

    • Hey Kevin,

      India is quite an experience so far. Being that it’s my first third world country it has been more of a transition than I’ve ever had before. But I’m enjoying it. (especially my coconut dude and my morning breakfast thali dude, they rule!)


  9. Maybe you got some tone-denitis from the guitar ;-)

    But the worst part of what you got was a rubdown from some dude that had a mancrush on your pasty-white self!

    Did you ever consider that a massage of your grazables wouldn’t fix tone-denitis in the forearm?

    I would have NEVER even considered that as treatment and I love me some chiropractic treatments.

    I’m thinking you just wanted a short, dark and not-so-handsome dude to rub it out for you. EEEEWWWW!

    Just in case nobody knows, since I know you, there were massive amounts of kidding and sarcasm, applied as liberally as the oil was, in my comment.

    Thanks for going thru that for us who live vicariously thru your travels and travails. You did do that for us and not for yourself, didn’t you?

    • Hey Mike,

      haha, you’re pretty spot on ;)

      It was two-fold.

      1) I wanted my arm to stop hurting.
      2) I knew, whatever happened, it would make a great story. :)


  10. Ha. I’m convinced that a Thai massage in Thailand will cure almost anything. And thankfully for you, those are primarily done by women. And they let you keep your clothes on. Mostly.

  11. Hi Karol,

    Just in case your arm doesn’t get better – I selflessly offer to take good care of your guitar. Heck, I’d even do recording sessions and send you some mp3s.

    Sometimes I have to cry about my own philanthropy. ;-)

  12. Saw your tweet about a legit massage and the great results.

    C’mon dude, give us an updated post ;-)

    WE Love Karol! We LOVE Karol! We Love KAROL?

  13. That is a funny story indeed. And at least in India there’s no shortage of opportunities for experimental healing. I once came across a massage parlor in Delhi where hot lentils were massaged into the skin as some sort of special treatment.

  14. You had me laugh (mentally) throughout this post. So you’re in India, huh? Loved: “Next, I’m getting my hair done at Amanda Bynes’s salon:” heh.

  15. I”m sure you know at this point how hilarious you are. :) (Or if not, extremely, fyi)

    When I see you, remind me to demonstrate the awesome Japanese woman who upbraided me for lack of water drinking during my massage and acupuncture sessions. It is much funnier in person, promise.

    Thanks for being you and ending this reader’s day on a laugh!

  16. “grazed me” lol :)

    I was in Kerala, India @ an Ayurvedic place and the men only worked on men and the women only worked on women… maybe it’s part of the culture? And getting butt naked was part of the deal.

    I found that they were really passionate about the healing aspect and not the “feels good for an hour, but has no lasting benefits” that some rub downs have.
    Overall, amazing experience! I had all you can eat food (YUMMY Vegetarian), yet still lost 9 lbs somehow!

  17. Hello Karol,
    How are you? How is your arm now? Read thru your brief experience. Sad to hear it took place in Goa, the place where I belong. Can’t help it there are alot of outsiders in the country now, posing as these so called masseurs and trying to fleece and give a bad name to their so called profession to innocent foreign tourists. Next time, refuse to take off your inner clothes. Take care. I do wish you a better experience next time. —- Regards, Marty…..05-10-11 — Bahrain

    • No worries Marty. I knew it would be a “funny” experience, which is why I did it. My arm is OK now. :) Thanks for your support.

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