Risk and reward in massage
When I tell people that I’m a massage therapist, it sometimes causes a strong reaction. They tell me - whether verbally or through their facial expression and body language - that massage is not for them.
It may be that they just can't understand why anyone would want to do that, and I'm not likely to change their mind. That's okay.
But for some, it's a body image issue, and they don’t think anybody else would accept them just as they are. It might be a minor thing, and they get by with occasionally wishing they could change it. Or it may run very deeply through their lives, affecting how they feel about themselves on many levels. (I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I'm pretty sure we've all got something, whether anyone else ever knows about it, or sees it.)
The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school, my classmates and I were all a little nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. If we didn't already know, it didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies, and we could become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel, inside and out. Something wonderful happened – when our bodies felt better, we felt better about our bodies.
If you have a "thing" about your body and have avoided massage because of it, consider your three options and potential outcomes of each. Let's evaluate the risks and rewards:
1. Don’t get a massage. Easy-peasy, right? This is the easiest option 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. You experience no change.
2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist makes note of how you look, as if it makes a difference to their work or your benefit. If you've had this happen, I am very sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. (Yes, sadly, I understand there are a few out there who do not represent our profession well. Thankfully I do not know any of them personally.) You took a risk, and even if the massage was otherwise okay, you received very little reward and perhaps feel even worse because of it.
3. You get a massage, and it's a great massage. 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. Maybe you’re a little nervous at the start, but I don’t care how your body looks, I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Your body, and your mind, feel better from the massage, and you can take that out into the world with you.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. Leave your clothes on if you want, stay sitting up, or face down, or lying on your side, or however you want. It’s up to you. Just please don't stay away – massage feels so good. Together let’s find a way to help you relax, ease your pain, and relieve your stress. I look forward to meeting YOU.