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.
When I tell people that I’m a massage therapist, once in a while someone has a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.
The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies, and we became much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better, we felt better about our bodies!
Is your body image holding you back? There are 3 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 makes note of how you look (as if it matters).
If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a lame massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and they missed the training in how to be a professional, compassionate, caring therapist. If this happened to you, you took a risk and reaped 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’m not judging you or your body. I just want to help you feel better. Your reward is high. 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, injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. You may not have had time to shave your legs. All of this is welcome, with understanding and compassion.
I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – of people. Each body is fascinating and unique 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 if that's more comfortable. 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.
Intention plays a significant role in therapeutic work - as we dive into a healing journey, intentions or goals are like a compass that leads the way. Here are 7 of my goals in healing work:
Freedom of movement is the goal that got me started in the massage profession. I later realized all the other reasons. Sometimes artists don’t know what they’re painting until it’s finished. Likewise, my reasons for diving in to the healing field continue to reveal themselves.
So about freedom of movement – I am a dancer. I’ve always wanted a wider range of expression in my movement. It’s a delightful creative outlet that helps me feel awake and fluid. At the time I started considering massage as a career, I was swing, blues and salsa dancing at least four times a week. I felt so alive! I wanted to help others feel comfortable in their bodies, and to find creative, joyful movement in their everyday lives. Let’s be clear, though – I don’t want to push an agenda for dancing. Many activities are hindered when you’re injured – hiking, baseball, disc golf, running with the dog, playing with the kids, acting, cycling, sleeping… My healing goal to increase freedom of movement comes from a desire for everyone to live a more joyful life. Having the freedom to move how you want to move plays a significant role in that.
So how do you want to move?
What would your life be like with greater range of motion, more stability, flexibility and strength?
And how can I help?
Here are a few things that will inhibit movement:
The good news:
All of this is reversible – just depends how much time and effort you’re willing to spend on changing it. Some things can be healed in one session – adhesions can be broken up (they’re basically “knots” that can be relieved with myofascial release or other massage) and trauma patterns may be resolved through two-chair coaching – but a lot of things, like caved-in shoulders for example, were built up over time. They will take time to change. Additionally, the shoulders can hold that posture for multiple reasons – working at a computer every day with sub-par ergonomics, emotional guarding around the heart, excess weight lifting in the pecs, compromised posture elsewhere in the body that also affects the shoulders (because everything in the body is connected). Massage and craniosacral therapy are excellent on their own for achieving greater range of motion. However, to have a bigger impact that lasts longer, I like to approach healing from multiple angles – mental, emotional AND physical. I’m seeing more and more people these days who recognize that their physical pain manifested from more than just physical issues. If you only want to work with the physical aspects, that’s totally welcome. And if you’d like to explore the broader picture, what might that look like?
First, we want to build a ground of support, trust and resource. A resource is whatever feels good to you. Perhaps a relaxing massage is what’s needed to help regulate your nervous system. It may be helpful to bring to mind a supportive person and notice the somatic (physical) sensations you feel when that support is present. The body naturally responds to an imaginary vision, and the somatic response can help you settle and feel nourished. From this resourced place, perhaps you can dip a toe, or even jump right in to the pool of challenges. Are you challenged a rocky relationship or stressful job that feels like a literal weight on your shoulders? This may contribute to a collapsed posture. Or maybe it’s simply depression, which could be caused by a number of factors. We can observe the emotional and mental components of your life that are creating physical limitations, and if this even starts to feel overwhelming or too uncomfortable for you, we can always go back to that resource to strengthen the nervous system. We can always drop the threads to pick up another time when you’re feeling ready.
How does this sound to you? What are you willing to explore to unlock the greatest freedom of movement you desire?
Call me at (720)432-3032 for a free 15-minute consultation, or go ahead a schedule a 90-minute session if you're ready to dive in.
I occasionally hear the question, “Do you like what you do?” This is an important question for a healing practitioner. If I didn’t like what I was doing, you would feel it. If I’m tense in my body, that can translate through – some part of you, whether it’s obvious or not, can feel that tension. So my healing work is transforming as I remember what brings me joy - dancing, connecting authentically with others, seeing beauty everywhere and creating a more beautiful world. Weaving these in to my therapeutic work will translate into greater healing potential for both of us.
Here are some goals I have – these are desires for myself and for all of humanity. I’d be curious to know if any of these are goals for yourself:
I'll be going more in depth about each of these in future blogs, including what can be done to achieve these goals, starting with Freedom of Movement.
Call me at (720)432-3032 for a free phone consultation to discuss how to achieve your goals.
Do you walk barefoot in the grass?
Do you enjoy the coolness and soft or prickly texture, or the sound of it brushing your feet?
My friend Katherine always feels more calm when she walks barefoot on the earth. It's naturally grounding to connect your skin to the skin of the earth. If nothing else, it's a contrast to having your feet enveloped in socks and shoes all day, sitting inside or walking around the concrete jungle.
Experiencing a contrast or polarity will help change your state of being. So if you're feeling lethargic and you haven't experienced the texture of the earth lately, trit it for a least a couple minutes, just as an experiement. If you don't notice a shift in your mood or energy, at least it was only a couple minutes.
What is Polarity Life Coaching / Two-Chair?
What it is not:
Maps tell us where to go, right?
Intuitive massage therapist, energy healer and somatic coach in Boulder, Colorado, bringing you insight and inspiration on healing and conscious living.