Chronic upper back pain and Mont Albo Massage Hut experience (Review)

I have a chronic back pain, especially on the upper part. It’s been here for the past 3 years, beginning a few weeks before my graduation in May 2011. I have been trying to endure it, surviving mostly because of quick massages from my parents and my boyfriend.

My first office work began in July 2013. The upper back pain, which is mostly around the shoulder blade muscles, persisted as expected. It even got worse last month in January 2014. I experienced severe pain in my right neck, down to my right shoulder, down to the shoulder blade muscles that have been painful for years. I found that standing up to walk is the only thing that helps me with this new kind of pain.

I know I need to visit a doctor, maybe a specialist in orthopedics, but I haven’t found a female doc yet. I’m almost sure I need to take my top off during the examination, and I don’t want a male doctor to examine me without a shirt. So yeah, I’m… err, procrastinating about looking for a female ortho in an hospital or clinic that honors my health card. I decided I’ll just keep on taking breaks from sitting and getting massages to try to relieve myself of the pain.

Today I visited Mont Albo in United Nations Avenue. My boyfriend and I went to the Padre Faura branch first, but it doesn’t exist in the building stated in their website. Outdated website info is so annoying, and we experience this a lot in movie scheds posted on websites.

I’m not too pleased about Mont Albo in UN Avenue. But since we availed the Early Bird Promo, paying only 199 instead of 380, I’m not feeling so bad about it.

Read on for a list of what I liked and didn’t like. I prefer writing lists over paragraphs because I kinda suck at the latter. ^_^


Liked:

  • Early Bird Promo – 12 noon to 3 PM on weekdays, 10 AM to 1 PM on weekends
  • I felt that the receptionist was approachable
  • Nice smell in massage area
  • Free cup of tea and 2 hot towels after massage
  • Shorts available upon request
  • Though I didn’t feel it helped my back pain, I liked the “Hilot” Filipino Traditional Massage because I felt thrilled about the hot coconut oil being poured on my back. It hurt a wee bit but felt good at the same time. I loved the smell of the coconut oil and banana leaves. It even made me feel slightly hungry.  🙂

Disliked:

  • Outdated branch information in their website. Our time was wasted when we went to Padre Faura looking for Mont Albo, which did not exist in that place. The address says it’s at the ground floor of  Padilla Square Building but not a sign of the massage hut in there. We even asked around and we were told there’s no such place in the area.
  • Receptionist said our massage will be ready in 30 minutes but we waited for 1 hour.
  • I told the receptionist I’m choosing “Hilot” Filipino Traditional Massage, but when I talked to my therapist to make sure it’s the massage she’s performing on me, she seemed surprised, giving me the impression that she thought I chose a different massage. Coordination problem with receptionist?
  • The “Hilot”, according to Mont Albo’s description, is “characterized by slow deliberate strokes and removal of blockages or lamig”. Yes, the therapist gave me slow deliberate strokes but she did not look for the blockages so that she could focus on them. When I hinted that I wanted her to focus on the blockages in my upper back, she simply said I should try their “Bentosa”. Geez.
  • Each massage “room” is only divided by curtains that are not wide enough for full coverage. I would feel more comfortable if each room is well-covered. Anyone who would like to peek can do so very easily. >_<
  • My thighs’ skin hurt so bad when the area was massaged. This might not be the therapist’s fault though. My thighs might just be too sensitive. But then, it may be the lack of oil applied to my thighs. I dunno. :))
  • Update (03/2/14): When I woke up I realized I have additional sore muscles in my mid back, just below the 3-year-old pain in the shoulder blade area.  This may be a natural after-massage sensation, but the thing is, I think the therapist focused on the muscles “below” the blockages. Maybe she missed the spots I was pointing to. I think that if the therapist were a good one, she would “feel” exactly where the blockages are.

Conclusion:
Maybe spa-style massage is not what I need. Are you familiar with blind therapists giving massage? I think that’s the kind I need because they really focus on the blockages. The blockages are what they try to find with their hands and focus the massage on them.

My expectation was not met by Mont Albo, but I’m not gonna say I’m not coming back. But that’s only because of the early bird promo. :p I plan to come back again, maybe for another type of massage and ask the therapist to really focus on blockages. I probably will try the bentosa too, if I have extra money. hehe.

Catzie

A Filipino who is a mobile & web developer on weekdays, and a baker on weekends. When I have time to spare, I blog, play video games, watch series (usually anime), cook dishes, draw, or spend a little time with pets. When I have the rare luxury of time, I get to travel and record song covers too! Follow on Twitter: @catzie

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