Are you struggling with loving your body? Are you finding that the physical pain in your body is getting in the way of your happiness and body acceptance? Do you find it hard to accept the power of touch as the gift it is?
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Touch is a basic human need. It can be used as a method of communication, learning, and comfort. Scientific research has shown that it is required for
healthy growth, development, and immune function. Our skin is the largest sensory organ our bodies have. Did you know, there are 18 square feet of skin on the average sized person! The physiological mechanisms for touch response are the same in everyone, but individual interpretation can be very different. This makes touch a powerful form of communication, such as handshakes, hugs, or a pat on the back.
Massage therapy and other bodywork modalities, such as Craniosacral Therapy, can be considered therapeutic touch. A trained therapist is touching you in a way that is professional, therapeutic, healing, and positive. For a lot of us this goes without saying, but for people who have experienced touch in a negative way, it can be quite profound. This is also true for those who have negative body image. Imagine that you do not like your body, but then you experience having it touched in a therapeutic, healing, and positive way. What a kind revelation this can be!
Positive touch through massage therapy has the benefit of helping clients become more aware of their bodies. For someone with a negative self-image, this might be uncomfortable at first. Some people struggling with negative body image may avoid getting massage because they feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about letting the therapist see their body. Trained massage therapists offer their services without judgment, and this environment can allow the client to seek treatment they need in a place where they are free from criticism. As their body is treated in a kind and therapeutic way, they may be able to let go of some of the negative visuals they have about the way they look. Thinking about our bodies negatively can also lead to habitual patterns of muscle tension. Regular massage sessions positively affect the body and mind, helping to release those patterns of tension and therefore enhance our ability to experience our bodies in a more positive way.
Sometimes the negative view people have about their bodies comes from being in pain. If you have pain in your body on a regular basis, it’s easy to see how you would start seeing your body in a negative light. Sometimes this constant presence of pain becomes a part of the person’s identity, and they don’t even know how to describe themselves without it. Regular massage therapy can not only help to reduce pain, but can help us be more aware of our bodies when they are not in pain.
This has been just a brief summary of how massage therapy can open the door to viewing our bodies in a positive way. Each of us has an amazing body that is capable of so much. Positive, therapeutic touch can help us to cultivate gratitude for our imperfect, but amazing bodies. If you would like to discuss this topic more, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
You can also learn more through this excellent article from MassageTherapy.com, Massage and Body Image.