MHAW – Body Image

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This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme this year is ‘Body Image’.

With all the photoshopped images of celebrities and models in advertising it easy to understand why so many people have an issue with Body Image. No one is perfect, if you’re slim you are told you need to put on weight, if you’re larger then you need to loose weight, if you’re hairy then you are told you should shave or wax, if you have anything unusual about your body then you’re told you should cover it up. This means we spend our lives thinking that we aren’t good enough, that people are going to judge us.

I’ve found this with massage, I know people that won’t have a massage because they are too self conscious, they don’t want anyone to see them undressed, they worry that they will be too heavy for my table, they don’t want me to see the acne scars on their back, they apologise for not shaving their legs.

I thought I’d explain what I actually see when I’m massaging someone. I see a body, a collection of bones and muscles. I’m not looking at scars, I don’t care if you have skin tags, if you are slimmer then I’ll adjust my pressure so that I don’t hurt you, if you are larger then I’ll adjust my pressure so that my massage is effective, but I’ll be led by you.

I have clients who have limbs missing, I have clients with keloid scarring on their back and chest, I have clients with birth marks. We can have a conversation about it, if I need to adjust the massage because of it I will, but it makes no difference to me.

I’ve got clients who weight 6 stone, I’ve got clients who weigh over 20 stone. My table takes up to 30 stone so don’t worry, you won’t break it. It makes not difference to me

I have male clients with very hairy backs – it makes no difference to me, apart from the massage medium I use, I probably won’t use oil because it matts the hair and gets absorbed too easily.

I’ve got clients from the Trans community and as I told them, you all look the same under a towel. It makes no difference to me.

If you are a women who usually shaves their legs, don’t worry if you forgot, don’t worry if you’re booked in for a leg wax in 2 days time. To be honest it’s more comfortable to massage someone with 3 weeks hair growth than someone who has stubbly legs. Please don’t feel the need to apologise. It makes no difference to me.

Anyone who has met me knows that I’m not an average size or shaped person, I’m not going to judge anyone else. I love the fact that massage can benefit so many people, not just physically but also mentally as it releases the happy hormones, so if you are not 100% happy with your body image then that’s one more reason to have a massage, its certainly not a reason to avoid having one.

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