I love a good massage, so when our host asked if I was interested, of course I found a way to schedule one into our time. (Thankfully my husband is very supportive of the idea, partially because of my compressed vertebrae and chronic shoulder tension. He knows massage works. Perhaps also because if someone else does it he doesn't have to!)
A couple of days later I left my family to finish breakfast and hang out while I walked down the street with Sriyani. About two blocks down the main street we entered a medical office marked with a green plus. I was asked to sit in the waiting area. As I sat on the platstic chair I knew I wasn't the only one who thought it was hot, everyone was looking for something to fan themselves with.
I was eventually called into the office, and after more waiting my blood pressure was checked by a sari-clad woman - the person in charge (medically trained in both the west and Sri Lanka, I was told). More waiting and I was taken back to the treatment area.
This was when I knew I was having a totally local experience. Stuff was stacked haphazardly everywhere, in and out of boxes. Among the haphazard storage was a solid wood table. The table was about seven feet long and 3.5 feet wide with a raised edge that ran all the way around, except for the two inch gap at the foot of the table, reminding me of the metal tables used for autopsies that could then be hosed down. The only things on the tables, besides the interesting stains, were what appeared to be a small pillow at the head and a questionably clean cloth laying on top. There was also an armed chair that had black chunks of a substance I couldn't identify with a twin green cloth draped over the back.
I was then asked to stripped to my panties and to wrap in the cloth on the chair. Following that the masseur brought out heated oil and rubbed it in my hair and lightly on my head. I was then lay on my back and more oil was rubbed all over my body until I felt like a wet slippery fish. All of this (maybe 30 minutes) the original sari clad woman came to see if I was in pain. I wasn't. The next step was to take heated polices (scented ash in fabric bunches - thus explaining the black clumps scattered about) and push them into my skin all over my body - three types in succession.
The final step was asking me if I wanted a body wash. When I answered in the affirmative I was led to a bathroom that had washing soaking in tubs (I felt slightly better about the green fabric I had used) and the hot water tank was rigged up. I used the mostly cold water to rub off some of the oil on my body, knowing I was going to wash when I got back to the house.
It was a 100% authentic local experience and I don't need to do it again.