The therapist is trying to relieve a pain in my knee by methodically manipulating most of the muscles from my hips to my toes.
For this purpose, I am lying face down and next to nude under a fluffy towel.
Shortly into the session, the towel is peeled back and I feel something long and very hard, pressing into the crease where my buttock descends into my groin.
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Elvira Brunt is a mysterious figure, born in Backa Palanka on the banks of the Danube in 1957. She allegedly claims to be able to cure cancer by redirecting blood flow through massage. People have told of the eerie power she holds over people, convincing them to believe in her work.
To tell Elvira’s story, you don’t have to back to Backa Palanka, but you do have to go back to a day in 2009. It was one of the strangest days I’ve ever had in a newsroom – and trust me, they can be pretty bloody bizarre places.
This day, though, stands out. I was covering an inquiry into Bogus, Unregistered and Deregistered Health Practitioners. It was mostly about quacks offering dodgy cures for cancer, and people poured out their tales of loved ones frittering away their savings in vain hope.
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All my life I’ve been a massage slut.
Instead of pledging fidelity to one practitioner or technique, I’ve been a total tramp. One day I’d be getting my gear off for a Balinese hot rocker (in Ubud, everybody must get stoned), and the next I’d be baring my Chinese acupoints like no-one’s business.
I blame my addiction on once having lived near the massage epicentre of Nimbin where the oils are always essential and the “body work” is usually accompanied by quartz healing feathers powered by reincarnated dolphin vibrations.
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