Insecurity about body and self image are extremely common among those who have never received a professional massage. There are many people out there that could benefit from massage, but are nervous about being judged by their therapist. I can't speak for all, but I can tell you what I know. As an experienced massage therapist that has worked hand in hand with many other body workers including fitness trainers, chiropractors and acupuncturists; we don't see things that way at all.
A massage therapist doesn't see your stubbly legs hair or your toenail polish that has started to come off. A massage therapist is not taking a mental note on your weight during our assessment of your body. A body worker isn't judging you on how much you exercise, or if you have gained or lost weight since the last time you saw them. We are paying attention to more important things, like what is going on underneath all of that superficial stuff, and how can we help.
Massage therapists do see and touch bodies of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis. Other things we see are, how you got up out of your chair today. Did you stand straight up or did you use your arms to help you? Did you use one leg over the other to support yourself? During your walk to the massage table your therapist will see what direction your toes are facing. Are your toes facing inward or outward ? Are you limping or do you drag your feet? Are your shoulders back or are you slumped forward? These things give us insight to where you may be having problems with pain and stiffness and how we may be able to alleviate the effects of habits.
As body workers, the assessments we make are not based in judgment. Assessment in our work is to identify a plan of care specific to you. We enjoy the challenge of the body and its mysterious aches and pains. We see people from the inside out!
When I get a massage, I know that my therapist isn't silently judging me. I know that like so many of us, I am my own worst critic and that our bodies are amazing! So, I encourage you to listen to what your body is telling you and honor it. The next time you are over stressed or feeling achy and stiff, listen. The next time your body is saying, "I need a massage!", do it!