Your body is perfect.
I’ve massaged thousands of people in my 17 years of working as a massage therapist. And over those years I’ve massaged everyone from children through to people in their 90s.
In that time I’ve noticed something. You see, my clients apologise or complain to me about their bodies every day. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with any of them. Because every one of those thousands of clients has a perfect body worthy of receiving a massage, and a body worthy of being liked and accepted.
It’s true that most of my clients are middle-class and I do attract particularly lovely nice people. I’ve still massaged across a range of different sizes, genders, ethnicities, disabilities, incomes, injuries, religions, beliefs, diseases etc. and have never come across a body I didn’t want to massage.
An extraordinary number of my clients are hard on themselves. They point out perceived flaws in their body and apologise for being human and for having human experiences.
These are the things I’ve heard clients apologise for….
- Too fat
- Fat in the wrong place
- Too wrinkly
- Being hairy
- Too thin
- Not enough muscle
- Too inflexible
- Being tall or short
- Wrong body proportions
- No time to shave/wax
- Being tired
- Too bald
- Having stretch marks
- Being nervous
- Too many knots in their muscles
- Being flabby
- Sun damage
- Didn’t do the exercises another professional gave me
- Don’t exercise enough
- Poor posture
- Hot flushes
- Feeling hot or cold
- Too old
- Dry skin
- Wearing either their best or oldest underpants
- Don’t like their feet/hands/tummy/ears/legs etc.
I’m sure there are things on that list I’ve forgotten and many more ways that my clients find fault with their bodies.
Many of my clients are even apologetic about whatever led them to book their massage – things like sitting at a computer for work, nursing their newborn baby, playing an instrument. They apologise for any repeated activity or even just having a bad night of sleep.
It’s so ingrained in our culture and society that our bodies are wrong and that we need to apologise for them. I’m not judging my clients because of course, I do it too. I’m way more kind to myself these days but still find I criticise my body. It takes time to re-train years of being wrong and apologising.
My desire today is to encourage some awareness about our self-judgement and self-criticism of our bodies.
I’ve seen thousands of bodies that I know they are all normal and all perfect. Our bodies age, go through some life experiences and show wear and tear. Having an imperfect body is normal and natural.
Your body should be celebrated, not apologised for.
Your body keeps you alive. It allows you to experience the physical world around you.
To see kind faces, sunsets, flowers, read and observe.
And helps you hear laughter, music, nature.
Your body lets you taste, smell, experience time and gravity.
And allows you to feel touch, pain, pleasure and rain.
Our bodies are strong, capable and amazing.
As a massage therapist, I look at body symmetry, the way you walk and move. I actually spend a lot of time looking at the expression on your face. Yes, I look at muscles and joints and I observe your pain response. However, my goal and focus is always to help you feel a little bit better. So that means helping you move better, feel less restriction, feel less pain, feel less stress. (Check out my clinics here.)
I know that bodies change from day to day, week to week, year to year. Feeling a little better today, for example, could mean one more smile, one more good night’s sleep or a relaxed afternoon. It also could mean days or weeks with less pain and greater mobility. It could even mean that you go for a long bush walk, run a marathon or have a month feeling better about your body.
You only have one body. Please look after it. Give it water, healthy foods, movements that feel good, touch, rest, smiles, care and plenty of love.
Your body is perfect.
With kindness and compassion,