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Massage for any body

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while now and after reading a similar Instagram post written by another massage therapist, I decided to pen my thoughts around body image and some of the thought processes that are commonplace when people book in for a massage.

I hope to alleviate any of the worries and concerns that you may bring to the experience so to fully engage and benefit from one of the most immersive and nurturing therapies you will ever come across.

Zoom back 30 years. With a stressful, deadline focused job which found me turning up in different countries with changing time zones, I was looking for ways to switch off, find some calm and give my body a well needed rest and opted for a massage experience at a local spa. As life was busy, I gave little thought about my mismatched underwear, my chipped nail polish and the huge boil that had taken residence on my back. No part of my body had seen sight of a razor or, as it was at the time, hot wax for quite a while. I hadn’t done any exercise for months and my stomach sat uncomfortably over my knicker line. I wasn’t looking pretty and I hadn’t prepared for the tumbling thoughts of wanting to look preened in front of another

But its only when we need to get semi naked and especially in front of strangers that these things seem to matter and the mental chatter usually goes something like this. ‘What if she/he catches sight of my out-of-control pubic hair? I’ll be mortified!’, ‘I haven’t shaved my armpits or legs, please don’t judge me!’ or ‘I have spots and thread veins, I’m not perfect’ or ‘I’m overweight, what will she/he think?

I know you think these things because I have too but why are we so bothered?

As small children we ran around the garden, splashing in and out of the paddling pool wearing nothing but sunscreen and nobody gave a hoot. Our parents thought it was cute. But as our bodies developed the parenting styles of the past taught us to feel ashamed, vulnerable, and self-conscious if we exposed too much skin and God forbid if we left the house wearing skirts too many inches above the knee. Times have changed, but now we endure the obsession to look perfect in every way and if we don’t there’s a filter that will do the job. It’s a mind field at times and whether we think we care or not, we mostly, all have that niggling voice of imperfection that comes out of hiding when you are about to get undressed in front of a stranger.

So here is what you need to know from the experience of a well trained and qualified massage therapist. One of the first things we learn as massage students is how to dress the massage couch. We place towels, blankets, or light duvets in a way that when you are lying down and waiting for your treatment the only part of you that is visible is the front or back of your head depending on the preferred approach of your therapist. More importantly, before you get to the couch and the part where we ask you to remove your clothes (I always ask for underpants to remain on) we will hold a towel up so we can’t see you or we simply leave the room and let you de robe and settle on the couch in privacy.

Once the treatment starts, we are trained to move the covering about the body so that the only area of skin or limb that is exposed is the part to be worked on. If we catch sight of a bruise, spot, scar, or varicose vein our only interest is if it is to be avoided as we don’t want to cause pain or discomfort. If you have hairy legs, un pedicured toenails etc we really don’t care. It won’t affect how we treat you and the likely hood is we have too!

As for worrying about having the perfect body, believe me this doesn’t matter. I don’t believe in perfect and perfect to who anyway? Curvy, large, slim, tall, short, bodies all benefit from a good massage. Massage doesn’t discriminate. As a holistic massage therapist, I am just as interested in how the treatment affects your overall wellbeing, lowers your blood pressure, and regulates the nervous system as I am about your physical body. If you fall asleep, I’ve done my job and if you snore a little, I do a little internal happy dance.

Massage is for everybody and anybody.

See you on the couch soon,

Louisa x

Holistic Massage therapist

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1 Comment

Dani Slatter
Dani Slatter
Jul 05, 2023

100% it’s always a little unnerving getting undressed in front of a stranger. To know there is no judgement may be obvious as a therapist but it’s reassuring to hear as a client..

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