Body Image and Massage
Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like, or they want to change. For many people, it’s a minor issue and no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image, and it affects how they live and their happiness.
When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist I usually get a few reactions.
Some people love it and think it’s the best thing ever. Or there is this other side. It goes like this. Either verbally (mostly) or through a reaction and their body language that says, ‘gross how can you touch naked people’ or ‘I’m too ashamed of my body to get a massage’. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.
Let me set the record straight that Massage Therapists don’t think either of those things.
We want to touch and massage you. We want you to be comfortable on our table. Your massage is for YOU. You get undressed to what you are comfortable with. I assure you that you will stay draped and tucked and secure. You will not be judged. On a masseuse table you are accepted you just as you are.
The paradox here is that massage can help with body image issues. In massage school, we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better, we felt better about our bodies.
I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.
1. Don’t get a massage.
This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.
The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage, so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.
2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist clearly makes note of how you look … as if it matters.
If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.
3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the session!
In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it.
Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.
Much Love To You,
Sue Burhoe is a BodyMind & Certified Holistic Life Coach, a Licensed Massage Therapist, and a Reiki & Integrated Energy Practitioner. Sue’s mission is to help people regain their health, heal from a devastating loss and manifest all they want into their life.
Visit Sue’s Website: sueburhoecoach.com