Boyle Heights Beat youth reporter Omar Durán gets a massage from sobador (masseur) Pedro Granadas./ Photo by Jonathan Olivares
As I walked up the stairs to the two-story house where Pedro Granadas, a sobador lives and works, I was full of questions.
What would the room look like? What position would I have to lie in? What parts of my body would he massage?
I was very nervous. What made me more nervous was thinking about the possibility of pain. When I met the sobador, I was unsure of what to think of him. I was a little more nervous because I didn’t know if he was one of those sobadores who hurt people instead of heal them.
The room was very small and had an uncomfortable and stiff bed. The room was cluttered with stuff, and there was only one window, which was open, with flies going in and out. I could hear the ice cream man passing by and the two pit-bull guard dogs barking in the front.
The sobador then told me to take off my t-shirt, but to leave on my undershirt. Then he began massaging.
My experience was very painful, since it had been about seven years since I had gone to a sobador. The most painful part of the massage was when he put pressure on my calves. It hurt, but at the same time it was relaxing. I was nervous because I had to take off my pants so he could massage my legs, which he said something was wrong with. He was right, because it was painful each time he put pressure on them.
When he finished, I was sweating from my face, chest, and back. I felt a lot more relaxed and very sleepy.
Watch an audio slideshow of Duran’s experience below.