So, how do you see yourself? Are you happy with the person looking back from the mirror at you or do you scowl in frustration? Researchers say over 80 percent of women in the U.S. are unhappy with their body. Whether lamenting about a pear instead of hourglass shaped figure or even more serious, self-loathing body dysmorphic disorders. Our body image is under attack in this celebrity-fixated society we live in. Though advertising agencies continue to airbrush photos of slender, 115-pound supermodels onto magazine covers, there are others who are trying to teach our young girls to love their bodies, imperfections and all. A great way to combat the Hollywood-hype and help to create an appreciation for our bodies as well as learn how to teach our children the same is through hands-on bodywork and massage.
Reconnecting with Massage
Being upset with our bodies can have serious lifelong, ramifications. Feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing set up a lifetime of self-deprecating behavior. With regularly scheduled bodywork allows us to “get back” into our own body and to reconnect with ourselves. Massage can help us release mental and physical tension, enhancing our ability to fully experience our body (regardless of its size and shape) in a more healthy way. Just as it allows us to relax, massage therapy can also encourage an inner awareness of the body, allowing us to see things more clearly and to self identify with our own destructive actions, including overeating or purging.
Bodywork and massage therapy also creates a sense of healing and nurturing that is incredibly powerful when it comes to letting go of a poor body image. Learning to accept the nonjudgmental touch of a professional massage therapist goes a long way towards learning to rebuild respect and appreciation for your own body. If we can learn to find acceptance for who we really are and how we we look we can give ourselves permission to live comfortably in our own skin.
The Value of Touch
Touch can be a powerful ally on the quest for mental and physical health. Not only helping you learn to be more in touch with your body, but creating a sense of wholeness and wellness that can often be lost in the fray of our scrambled and over scheduled daily lives. When you regain that connection, it becomes much easier to realize that our body is something to be be nurtured, loved and cherished; Not betrayed, mocked and forgotten.
Valuable for every body type and age, bodywork and massage have vast benefits. Here are a few:
- Alleviating lower back pain and improving your range of motion.
- Decreasing dependency on medications.
- Eases depression and anxiety.
- Enhances your immune system by stimulating lymphatic flow.
- Stretches and exercises tense, sore, or atrophied muscles.
- Increases joint flexibility.
- Improves circulation by working nutrients and oxygen into vital organs and tissues.
- Releases endorphins – your body’s own natural painkiller.
Every Shape, Every Size
Whether a client weighs 35 pounds or 350 pounds, bodywork and massage therapists are trained to appreciate them all without judgment, delivering the most compassionate care possible. Throughout your session, your practitioner’s goal will be to foster an environment that feels nurturing and safe for you while providing much needed therapeutic touch.
Through the Scars
A negative body image is not always necessarily about those few extra pounds around the hips. Instead it can be tied to the scars of past surgeries or injuries. Massage and bodywork can help here as well. Research has shown massage for burn victims can assist with the healing process, and for post operative breast cancer patients, massage and bodywork can help to reintegrate your battered body and spirit. As well as softening scar tissue and accelerating post surgery recoveries, massage and bodywork with these clients is also about reverence, respect and learning to look beyond the scars.