Body image; Risk and Reward in Massage
adapted from Barry Hatfield blog 3 min read Characters: 3707
Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.
Most people react very positively when they find out what I do for a living – compared to other professions massage therapists have a good reputation! However it knowledge of my career can also illicit a less than favourable reaction. Whether verbally or through their body language, some people tell me that massage is not for them. Their body image is an issue for them -they don’t think anybody else can accept them.
The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. Rewind to massage school – as a young mother of three whose body had changed drastically over the last few years of pregnancies, births and breast feeding. I remember a room of strangers – take off your clothes and let a person you just met touch you -confronting – YES! It didn’t take long for me to discover how good receiving massage felt even under those classroom conditions. I began to realise the human body is miraculous and fascinating. Then something unexpected happened – when my body felt better I felt better about my body.
For those who are a little wobbly around body image. 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 either 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 massage. 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. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.
I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now I can’t make any judgments about you. I’ve worked on thousands – of people.
Each body is interesting and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
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.
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