Having been a Massage Therapist for several years, I know first-hand the benefits massage can have. However, I’m always amazed by the reasons people give as to why they don’t get massage (whether it’s “ever” or “often”). Here are some of the silliest reasons people have told me that they don’t get massage (and a not so silly reason, too).
“I’m self-conscious about my [insert body part here]”
Cellulite, weird toes, uneven legs, you name it. If you can be self-conscious about it, people have used it as an excuse for why they don’t get massage. I understand better than most about how insecure we can feel in our own bodies. However, therapists only pay attention to the things that have an effect on your body’s function. When you’re on my table, I see a system of muscles, connective tissue, and bones that also happens to be a person. Your body is beautiful, and it’s my job to help you live happily and healthily.
“I’m too heavy for massage”
That’s very unlikely. My massage table is rated to withstand up to 600 working lbs. What that means is: If you weigh 450 lbs, I can exert up to 200 lbs of pressure (an astronomical feat!) before my table is likely to give out. For my clients that weigh more, I also have a massage chair with a higher weight capacity. Currently, my only concern for my heavier clients is that my office is located up quite a few stairs, which can be difficult to climb. (This will change when I’m in my new location in about a year).
“I don’t want to get naked”
Then don’t! There’s no rule when getting a massage that says you have to get completely naked, and those that do stay FULLY draped at all times. I have clients that leave on their undergarments and some that leave on their jeans. Others keep all of their clothes on! Your comfort is my absolute number 1 priority. The reason many think they have to get naked is mostly due to the spa industry. Many spa massage therapists perform only Swedish massage, which relies on hand-on-skin contact with oil or lotion to provide glide. There are many other types of massage that can rely on pressure, compression, and kneading: all of which can be done through clothing. If you’re uncomfortable with removing any clothing, you’re always welcome to stay fully dressed. All I ask is that you remove your shoes!
“My last therapist talked all the time/wouldn’t talk to me”
Every person is different when it comes to relaxing on the table. Some require total peace and quiet with maybe some soft music in the background. Others don’t feel comfortable unless the silence is filled with conversation. My belief is that the massage is the client’s time, and I have to be flexible to their needs. That is why I let my clients lead conversation (or lack, thereof). If you like to chat, I’m happy to chat back about almost anything (for personal reason, I tend to avoid topics like religion, politics, and sports). If you wish to spend your hour with me lulled to sleep, I promise only to speak when checking in on pressure, telling you it’s time to flip, or (the worst) letting you know when the time is up.
“I don’t like ‘spa’ music that plays during massage”
Wanna know a secret? I’m not a big fan of it, either. Wooden flutes and ocean waves aren’t my preference, which is why use internet radio to play collections of classical piano, violin, and cello arrangements. The nice thing about internet radio is that I can change it to suit YOUR tastes. Do you prefer soft jazz? How about white-noise like thunder and forest sounds? I’m even willing to give you a massage while listening to heavy metal (though, don’t be upset if the massage feels a bit more aggressive than usual. The music helps me find the massage pace)!
“I’m super ticklish”
Did you know that tickling, itching, and pain are perceived in a very similar fashion? This is because those particular feelings are used as warning sensations to let us know something is going on. Often, people who are extremely ticklish are mentally protective of the ticklish area, whether it’s in their ribs, feet, etc. Massage is actually excellent for ticklish people, because it helps to relax that protection and ease the muscles in that area. For ticklish clients, I’ve found that using broad, slow, deep pressure can often prevent that feeling from occurring. If you remain ticklish after an attempt, I’ll often just avoid that particular area in the future.
“I’ve heard massage hurts”
Sadly, this is all too real in the massage industry. We’ve all heard of people that go in for a massage and come out bruised. Plus there are well-meaning clients that like to tell people that, “It hurt so much, but I feel SO much better,” as if the results outweigh the fear of pain. Plus, there are many therapists that perpetuate this claim by saying, “If it hurts, you know it’s working”. While some massage can hurt, my personal philosophy is that anything I do should only “hurt so good”; you know what I’m talking about. It’s the same feeling you get from stretching out a sore muscle after an intense workout. You can feel the pain mingling with relief, but when you stop, the relief and endorphins are all that’s left. I always tell my clients that if it goes over the threshold into “hurts so bad,” then I need to adjust what I’m doing so that you only feel relief.
Lastly, there are some very legitimate reasons (without health-related contraindications) why some folks don’t get massage.
“I don’t like to be touched”
I’ve had plenty of people give me this reason as to why they don’t get massage, and because I’m a firm believer in boundaries I don’t attempt to convince them otherwise.
There are many reasons why someone doesn’t want to be touched. Often, they’ve experienced some sort of trauma that have left them with heavy boundaries of their own. Sometimes, it’s due to a physical condition like lupus or fibromyalgia, and even light touch is extremely painful. Whatever your reasons, I respect them. I’m not going to force someone to get on my table and try a massage. That being said, whatever your reasons for not wanting to be touched, there is usually a study somewhere as to why it’s a good idea.
Ultimately, it is entirely up to the client and their own comfort level to decide if and when massage is the right choice for them. Just know, at World Tree Therapies, it is my goal to have you leave my office in a more comfortable state than when you entered.