Post by: Chrissy Smith, LMT
I have had clients of all shapes, sizes, heights, age ranges, social status, and so on and they all have one thing in common, they all have insecurities. Every person has something about their body that they don’t like. We all do and we all worry about it. When you are on the massage table often times those insecurities come to the forefront of your mind. People will say things like “I’m sorry about my rolls.” Or “Man I need to work out more.” Maybe it’s because they think that must be what I am thinking. I can assure you that it’s not. I really have no interest in judging my clients based on their appearance, and yet I know they fear I will. That’s why we make those nervous little comments to try and get it out before someone else can.
I am here to put your mind at ease; your massage therapist does not care about any of that. When you are on the massage table your therapist is thinking about the places that you have said that you hurt. What muscles they need to check? If X muscle is tight then Y muscle may be affected. What is the best way to resolve this knot? All while trying to keep an eye on your nonverbal communication to make sure you are within your pain tolerance. I am so busy focusing on what is beyond the surface; the fact that you have a roll on your thigh is not even on my radar.
So often when we have insecurities we think about them all the time, and usually assume that other people obviously do the same. You can get so wrapped up in your negative perception of yourself that you forget about all of your good parts. That goes beyond the physical aspect of a person as well. When you are a massage therapist people talk to you, just like they would a hairdresser or a bartender, and their personality shines through. That is when I see the real beauty in people. I see people in a completely different light than I think they imagine. I don’t look at people and just see all of their flaws. My mind is not focused on these aesthetic things that have no relation a person’s health and wellbeing which is what I am truly concerned with.
We all have these perceived imperfections about our bodies, but why do we expect them to be perfect anyway? I certainly don’t expect my clients to have perfect air brushed bodies; those bodies don’t exist in real life. It’s our differences and our quirks that make life interesting! So you have something about your body that isn’t perfect; so does everyone else. We all struggle with these things, but you can slowly start to reclaim your power over your insecurities. You can chose to say “Ok insecurities, I’m not going to give you one more minute of my day.”
My challenge to anyone reading: Next time you get a massage and those insecurities flow to your brain; delay them. Allow yourself to acknowledge the feelings that you have, but say to yourself, “For now I am going to enjoy my massage.” Maybe by the end of the massage you will think of them right away, but maybe not. It’s ok to have insecurities, we are human, but we also need to be kind to ourselves. Give yourself permission to enjoy your massage for one hour (or however long it is) without judgment. You won’t regret it!
RanDee Anshutz is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Massage Therapist practicing in Bend, Oregon. As a Health at Every Size (HAES) provider she strives to help EVERYONE in EVERY BODY achieve optimal health.