Hey friends, Breanna Kinman here. As massage therapists, we hear from people who want massage all the time, but say they’re too self-conscious. Here’s my rebuttal to the most common body anxieties:
I have stretch marks/ scars/ acne/ body hair /ugly feet
So does everyone. No, really. It’s honestly so unusual to work on someone who doesn’t have any of these perceived “flaws” that I’m more surprised to see someone who doesn’t. To your massage therapist, these don’t register as flaws- it’s just what you look like. We don’t have the emotional energy to judge everyone for having scars or hairy backs or weird feet. We’ve got other, more important things to think about- for instance, solving the puzzle that is your body. And to everyone who is worried about their feet specifically: all feet are weird. Dust the sock lint off your toes and chill.
I’m too fat
You’re probably not. My table has a weight limit of 500lbs, and while some people may surpass that, most will not. Body fat is usually soft and easy to work through. Weight problems used to be seen as a sign of laziness or overindulgence, but we know now that most weight gain is caused by hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, incorrect nutritional education, depression, stress, or just gosh darn genetics. None of these things are reasons you can’t enjoy a massage. Massage can actually aid in weight loss, if that’s your goal, as it boosts happy hormones, reduces stress, and helps reconnect people with their bodies. And, as stated earlier, we don’t have the energy or inclination to be judging people.
I have acne on my body and it’s embarrassing
So do most people. Even many of my clients with no facial acne have acne on their backs, and some people have a bit of acne all over. You’re probably in the minority if you don’t have some acne on your booty. If you tend to have cystic acne (large, painful blemishes) you may want to wait until it calms down to get a massage, or tell your therapist where the more painful bumps are so they can avoid them.
I have hair growing out of my hair follicles
That is quite a shame. Just kidding, we’re mammals! I only notice that my clients have stubble after they apologize for it, which boggles my mind a little. Your hairs are your hairs- shave them, wax them, grow them out, braid them- it’s up to you and there is no need to explain yourself. Yes, even if you’re unusually hairy, even if you have dark hair, blah blah blah. Commercials for razors and Nair may say otherwise, but you’re a valid human no matter what.
I can’t be naked in front of someone, even if I’m under a sheet
Some of my clients leave their underwear on during massages while other clients remove them. Some people are uncomfortable or modest and prefer to wear some clothing. If this has been keeping you away, you can always change into a comfy, easy to work around outfit, like gym shorts and a tank top. I have had plenty of clients who have a certain outfit they liked to wear to feel comfortable. And don’t worry, we would never have you lying totally naked. You’ll be covered completely by a sheet, undraped only in the area being worked on. I would never want you to feel uncomfortable during your massage, so whatever level of disrobing is comfy for you in fine with me.
I don’t like being touched
This can be a problem, but it’s actually easier to work around than you might think. Some people are more uncomfortable with unannounced touch, such as random hugs from coworkers, and have an easier time with massage because it’s planned and on straightforward terms. Some people never really get comfy with touch, but need bodywork to feel better and undo the physical stress of their jobs. For these clients, I am happy to offer half hour sessions, working only on the area that needs it the most. You may become more comfortable as time goes on, or you might be happiest with shorter, targeted massages.
I have a rare skin problem or health problem
This requires a little thought, as some health problems will not be helped by massage. If your doctor says you aren’t contagious and that massage is safe for you, just explain any issues to your massage therapist, such as if you need lighter pressure or certain areas avoided. Kentucky licensed massage therapist have studied pathology and are prepared to work with a number of health concerns. If you struggle with something uncommon, we may not know all about it, but we’re equipped to learn.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about/ I’m uncomfortable with silence
We take our cues from you, so if you want to zone out and be quiet, that is totally fine, and if you need to vent about your day to decompress, thats fine too. Probably about half of my clients like to talk and half doze off, while other clients are chatty one session and quiet the next. It’s your time, so you can decide if you want to talk or not.
So to sum things up- If you are feeling uncomfortable in your body for any reason, take that as a reason to get a massage, not to avoid it. If you’ve struggled with feelings of shame about your body, massage can be a great way to reconnect and see your body for what it is: your oldest and most important friend.