Confessions of a Massage Therapist
Have you ever had any fears about doing something embarrassing during a massage? Or feel insecure about the state of your body?
If you harbor any of these fears, I invite you to to surrender them. Being that bodyworkers have a body themselves, I assure you, we experience all of these vulnerabilities too. It’s one thing to be concerned, if you have an infectious skin disease, or really don’t enjoy touch, but an entirely different matter when it comes to feeling concerned about prickly legs, fuzzy backs, scarred skin, or cellulite.
It’s true, we do get closer than most. However, massage therapists aren’t standing there judging all the tiny things wrong with your body. Rather, we are observing and assessing what’s underneath your skin – the muscles. We have a solution orientation and are focused on helping you feel better. [I will admit, we do appreciate good personal hygiene.] Let me also confess, that snoring, drooling, gurgling stomachs, flatulence, accidental sighs, or grunts, and muscle twitching; are all natural responses when the body becomes relaxed. And quite frankly, are compliments in our profession. There is no need to apologize or feel embarrassed. Most, if not all of us, are all a little self-conscious about something – our size, shape, body hair, and other imperfections. Wishing we are little more or less of this or that. And for men, though they to have some insecurities around body image…even more discomforting can be their fear of being caught with an erection during their session. Until I had read about it, it had never occurred to me (because I am not a man) that this was a fear for men. And that for some guys, prevented them from ever getting massages all together.
Honestly, this doesn’t come up in conversation. And in all of these years that I have been providing massage, I have never noticed when it has occurred, as my attention is never focused there. Nor is it an issue for me to have a male client re-position his man parts, if need be. I am not looking, am not interested, and I am not going there. But more importantly, I want my clients to be able to relax. I think I speak for almost all professional massage therapists when I say this. Back to my point…
There is something you must understand about bodyworkers, that is similar to doctors. Our training causes us to see bodies in a very different light. Yes, we pick up on nuances that most are not even aware of. The difference is that we observe without attachment or emotional charge. Actually, we are rather acquainted with bodies and their many qualities. We see with our hands many different and unique bodies. Every one with a different size, shape, texture, posture, unique scars, tattoos, and quirks. Sure, we can see what is tight, restricted, torqued, rotated, and needs attention. We see it in a n non-malicious, compassionate way. We celebrate and honor bodies and love to speak with and support them. It’s our job! I hope that if you are in the least bit scared to get massages because you are afraid of an embarrassing incident, let that worry go. Choose to accept yourself, just as you are. Your therapist will too.
May we embody health and wholeness!