Does body image stop you from getting massage

Does body image stop you from seeking massage?

As a child I was the short fat kid at school.  I hated PE for that reason – I had to take my clothes off to get changed and other boys would make comments about me.  I was once asked how much milk I had in my boobs.  As a 12 year old boy that was pretty harsh.

By 18 I’d stretched and leaned up and a long summer lumping bags of concrete I was getting the body of a spartan and I was loving it.  Training for black belt in 2001 I had pecs like Arnold Schwarzenegger – and I could run a half marathon.  Now I sport the dad look.  The man boobs have returned and I must admit I’m not entirely comfortable in my own skin anymore.  Being close to 40 the body hurts a bit and high impact fitness isn’t as motivating as it once was.  But that’s me.

Now with my superhero shirt on I can have abs without working out!  You can even see my serratus anterior here.  I’d never get these by working out!

I’ve heard time and time again from people who do not get massage because they don’t want to undress for massage.  At the other end of the spectrum I have clients who can’t wait for massage and are undressing as they come through the door.  Slow down tiger!  They’re the ones that say “you’ve seen everything anyway” or “they’re just boobs, it’s all natural” – to which I say “no I haven’t seen everything and I haven’t seen yours, so get those pants back on buddy.”

If you are coming in for remedial treatment, I may need to observe your posture.  I may need to touch your back and neck to feel for areas of tightness and dysfunction.  I may need to look at the level of your shoulders, the curve of your spine and the position of your hips.  This can be intimidating to have a total stranger look at you like this.  I do all of these assessments while you are clothed.

Guess what, you do not have to take your clothes off to receive massage!

As a registered therapist, I commit to a code of ethics.  One of the conditions of my professional association is that I drape all clients to a standard.  I then only uncover the limb or body area that I am therapeutically required to work on.   And recover that limb when finished.  I ask permission before undoing a bra to work on the back.  If I only need to work on your legs, I’ll ask you to leave your upper clothes on and vice versa.

If you come in and expect massage with oil, then you can expect to undress at least a bit.  That’s just how it works.

Did you know that you can still receive all the benefits of massage without having to undress?

I’ve trained in a range of massage and tactile therapies that I can treat you through light clothing.  You can stay modestly dressed.  For conditions like headaches and neck pain I can get to the right areas of the body using stretching, trigger points and compression techniques.  It can still be relaxing too.

I want you to be comfortable in your own skin and to love the body that you have.  It’s the only one you’ve got.  If you’re self conscious about stretch marks, psoriasis, body fat, cellulite, blemishes.  Perhaps you are embarrassed about asymmetry.  I want you to know that I’m not embarrassed about these things.  I love you and your body just the way it is.  And I want you to have the best care possible.  I want you to feel the best that you can.  I want you to enjoy and love your massage treatment.

And if getting good care means that you don’t want to undress – I can still help you to find freedom to live through compassionate touch.

If you want to know more about the treatments that I offer – send me a message, or give me a call.  I’d love to hear from you and to help you to be the best you, that you can possibly be.

David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage and David Clayton Remedial Therapies located in the inner north and north east of Adelaide.  He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies.  He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.

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