Body image risk and reward in massage

Body Image.png

Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.

When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.

The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.

I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.

1. Don’t get a massage.

This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.

The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.

2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist either makes note of how you look, as if it matters.

If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.

3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.

In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.

I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now I can’t make any judgments about you.

I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – of people. Each body is interesting and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.

“Has Your Body Been Blessed Today?”



The Benefits of Massage Therapy & How to Choose a Qualified Therapist


Massage Therapy has become one of the most effective forms of therapeutic self-care that you can invest in.  Massage is no longer considered just a luxury for the wealthy who are on beach vacations in a five-star resort in Tahiti, and the benefits that a legitimate, quality massage can bring you are multi-faceted.

In the last few years, the requirements across the United States have become more stringent for those who want to practice massage therapy as licensed professionals.  This has been done to raise the standards of bodyworkers, and to bring this ancient profession more into the medical mainstream.  All states in the U.S. now require a minimum of 500 C.E.U.’s to obtain your licensure with New York, Florida and Arizona requirements slightly higher.  Therapists are also generally required to complete a specific amount of continuing education credits after the initial 500 hours is completed as a way to keep them educated about the industry.

Benefits of Massage

The benefits of receiving massage are numerous.  Studies have found that massage may be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

When you get a massage, your body receives many benefits: in several healthy ways:

  • Circulatory system – gets your blood flowing through your body.
  • Nervous system – reduces anxiety, providing a calming effect.
  • Organs – your organs receive stimulation when being massaged allowing them to work more effectively.
  • Musculature system – when massaged, muscles release the built up lactic acid, easing stiffness and pain.

Receiving a massage also promotes a sense of caring and well-being.

Massage, however, is NOT a replacement for regular medical care, and it is always wise to speak with your physician before embarking on a massage therapy regimen, especially if you have any injuries or illnesses.

Risks Associated with Massage

Even though massage therapy provides so many wonderful benefits to our body, mind and spirit, there are some risks involved if you currently experience:

  • Bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medication
  • Burns or healing wounds
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Fractures
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • Severe thrombocytopenia
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer

Once again, it is advised that you speak with your doctor if you experience any of the afore-mentioned symptoms or any physical illness or injury, past or present.




Choosing a Qualified Massage Therapist

Now that the U.S. has increased the requirements for all massage therapists, anyone who is credentialed will have more medical knowledge under their belt than what has been allowed in the past, which is a benefit for all involved.  Finding a therapist may take a few tries, and you should never feel obligated to continue with a therapist that you do not feel completely comfortable with.  Many people come to my practice for the first time, and they are hesitant to ask for what they want. I always explain to my clients to remember that it is ‘YOUR money, YOUR time, and YOUR body’, and encourage them to advocate for what they feel they need.

Often times someone will come in with lower back pain, thinking that is where the issue is.  However, the pain may actually be in the upper back area.  A qualified therapist will know this, and work both areas.  However, I hear many stories of therapists who simply choose not to listen to their clients’ needs, and will use way too much pressure, too little pressure, or miss the main area that the client is complaining about completely.  Please know that you are under NO obligation to complete a massage with a therapist who is either hurting you or that you find offensive in some way.  Massage is a very intimate experience, and no one should be made to feel that their boundaries have been crossed or their desires unheard.

It is a good idea to find out what your therapist’s credentials are before you first appointment.  Just as a quality therapist will take a medical intake on your first visit, you are certainly justified in finding out about your therapist’s education.  Please don’t feel intimidated about asking, as those of us who pride ourselves on our skills and abilities have no problem sharing our credentials with you.  I have had my license since 2009, when I first graduated from the Healing Arts Institute in Citrus Heights, California, and I completed my schooling at the Fair Oaks Institute of Massage Therapy in Fair Oaks, California.  I have been licensed in the State of Idaho since 2012.

Looking for a therapist who fits your personality is also of paramount importance.  Some people like total solitude and quiet when receiving a massage, and some enjoy conversing with the therapist.  I personally like to keep my client relationships on a professional level, as often times people will share with private information with me about their current life circumstances or events, and I believe that my prior experience serving as a Chaplain, where I received extensive training in holding ‘sacred space’ and keeping respectful boundaries, is an asset to my clients.

It is imperative that you choose an establishment or practice that is clean, professional in appearance, and adheres to the State health code.  You may want to visit the location before you choose to get a massage there to see if their business meets your personal standards.  I am very fortunate to be located at JMZ Salon & Spa at 5907 W. State Street in Boise where we offer a beautiful, serene and clean environment.

It is my hope that you will consider booking an appointment with me soon.  My first-time client rate is just $45 for a one hour massage, and I offer package rates as well as special rates for cash payment.

If you would like to find out more about Body Blessings Massage & Aromatherapy, please visit:


“Has Your Body Been Blessed Today?”