Lake Placid

After 17 miles up and down the Adirondack’s Mt. Marcy, two nights of camping, mild dehydration, and trying to keep up with my human mountain goat of a hiking buddy, the last two miles out of the woods were all about getting to the Lake Placid Lodge, where two massages were waiting.

This post could be brief: Tim Chien from Balanced Bodywork and Massage. (The lodge contracts out massages.) Hallelujah.

But if you want details, onward.

My quads and calves were sore enough to make getting on and off the toilet more challenging than the hardest part of the hike. (You’ve all been there. Admit it.)  My pack, thanks to a stupendous proclivity for using one piece of ill-fitting gear no matter what I do, made it feel like someone planted two ice axes between my shoulder blades.

Consider it all taken care of. This massage was the sweet combination of relaxation and therapy that makes you sink into the table, lose track of time, smile, sleep, snore, almost weep when it is about to be over, and – most importantly – get off the table immediately feeling better.

Tim, with 12 years of experience, an obvious will to help people and a love for what he does, used classic Swedish techniques combined with an intuitive gauge for perfect pressure and trigger-point wherewithal. His thumb pressure along my neck and spine almost  – almost – made me parrot the trite but true client quip, “I think I am two-inches taller.” He flushed my legs like a pro-cycling team’s soigneur and almost wrung the pain in my feet out the tops of my toes. Without having to ask, he did a simple, smooth sweep of the abdominal muscles that had been compressed by pack straps and the inevitable forward lean. His fleece sheets gave the security of a blanket without being too heavy for August temperatures. There was a not a minute of misstep.

If it were at all practical, I would have told Tim where my wallet was, asked him to keep working until every knot was completely gone from my muscles, and charge my card as needed, while I lazed on the table in a semi-conscious state with the lake right outside my window. A peek at my comrade’s relaxed, handsome face while I was turning over told me his therapist had the same effect. Whatever she did sent him straight to a nap afterwards. “So good,” he mumbled before dozing off.

What else helped? There was a pre-massage, anti-inflammatory dip in invigorating-degree Lake Placid and the view of it through the Adirondack-themed cabin’s picture window. There was the cool, evergreen air. There was the beautiful architecture and design of the recently revamped Relais and Chateau property. There were people, like Tim, who were so amiable you wanted to make them your best friends.

Balanced Bodywork and Massage, owned by Tim and Shelley LaPorte, has a downtown studio location as well, where a friend went while visiting Lake Placid a few weeks later. Her take? “I’m going back next year.”

Amen, sister. See you there.

Balanced Bodywork and Massage
2733 Main St.
Lake Placid, NY 12946
518 523 3780

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In happy memory of SH, 1959-2015



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