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Reflections

5 Reasons Why I Hate Full Body Massage

My husband adores massages and there are not many days that go by in Bali where he is not off searching for his next $5 full body massage.

I rarely go. Give me a pedicure or some foot reflexology, but I tend to avoid the full body massage. Is it a matter of preference or is it something deeper? Maybe it’s time for a little reflection and honesty?

 

1. Body Image

From the moment you walk in and are asked to get fully undressed things start taking a wrong turn for me. After you bare your naked body to a complete stranger they offer you a pair of small, disposable knickers, which in a one-size-fits-all world – does not fit at all.

Finally you are lying on a table, hoping to cover most of your body from the prying eyes of a stranger knowing that it’s no use, because soon that stranger will be touching you all over.

Then the thoughts start:

“I wonder what she thinks of my thighs?”

“Oh my gosh, she’s about to see my caesar scar that never sees daylight!”

And so on.

Full body massage is an examination of your perception on your own body. It brings to mind everything you hate about yourself physically and gives you the time to fully examine it. Hoping against hope that the person massaging you does not think the same. 

 

2. Relaxation Mind Struggle

Life is full of everyday distractions. If I am not on my laptop, I’m playing Candy Crush on my phone. If I’m not answering my kids’ 55,000 questions every day I am discussing the deeper things of life with my husband.

I rarely am ever left with my own thoughts for company.

Massage gives you an hour or two, depending on your choice, of being alone with your thoughts. To think and feel everything you have been hoping not to think and feel.

To think about your body image, or your future, to examine your worries or delve into your emotional nakedness. It’s definitely a moment of inner connection, reflection and realisation. 

 

3. You Lose Control

It’s not everyday you lose control. As adults, that was shed long ago from our nature. We control what we eat, where we live, what we say and what we do with our body.

During a massage a person you have never met suddenly has full control of your body. They can make you stop breathing, they can fill you with pain, they can make you groan or sigh with gratification and they can make your tense muscles unwind and unclench.

I am not a fan of losing control and massage is all about losing control. 

 

4. Sexually Unsexual

It’s time to get personal. When my husband massages me it’s usually for one reason only.

When you head to a massage it’s not from that reason. Not my idea of fun. 

 

5. It Ends

After you lay naked in front of a stranger. After you struggle with body image and muscle relaxation. Once you set your mind free to enjoy the moment and not to ponder on too many deep mysteries…

…It ends.

What’s with that?

 

The Bottom Line

Perhaps I don’t hate massage after all. Perhaps massage is good for me and challenging and revealing. Perhaps massage takes me to a place that, while painful, will ultimately make me happier physically and emotionally.

Perhaps I don’t hate massage at all. Perhaps massage just loves me in a way I’m not comfortable with.

Yet.

Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Amelia on
We are headed to Cozumel for the next year, and I'm a little worried because I will miss my chiropractor and there don't seem to be any on the island. Many people have said they just get massages instead, but I'm with you, being naked with strangers is weird. If I can't find a chiro, though, I may try it.
The post was great, but all the ads popping up over every photo is really distracting and made it hard to stay engaged, not to mention I couldn't' see your great photos! Maybe rethink that monetizing strategy?
Posted by admin on
Hi Amelia, thanks for your feedback. That’s actually not meant to happen at all so I will take a look at that.
Massage can be great once you get over the naked thing haha. Better for my feet to be naked or a hair cream bath - yeah!
Posted by Jane on
Oh god Erin I 100% agree. I can't stand massages (unless they're leading somewhere). I was in Bangkok with a friend and she sprung one on me… I kept asking for the 15-minute one but we got the 90 min one, side by side. Awful. I can't bear it. I'm all for self reflection, I meditate… I know how to switch off… but I can't do that when someone with a 2-week diploma is squeezing my legs… and talking about how my drapes do match the curtains in Thai, unaware that my friend speaks it fluently and is translating for me… We're heading to Asia again next month and my other half is looking forward to a massage or 5. Give me a beer and a book any day.
Posted by Jane on
Oh god Erin I 100% agree. I can't stand massages (unless they're leading somewhere). I was in Bangkok with a friend and she sprung one on me… I kept asking for the 15-minute one but we got the 90 min one, side by side. Awful. I can't bear it. I'm all for self reflection, I meditate… I know how to switch off… but I can't do that when someone with a 2-week diploma is squeezing my legs… and talking about how my drapes do match the curtains in Thai, unaware that my friend speaks it fluently and is translating for me… We're heading to Asia again next month and my other half is looking forward to a massage or 5. Give me a beer and a book any day.
Posted by The Monkey Footed Mummy on
Nope, no , I'm definitely NOT a massage girl it just emphasises my awareness of my soft bits, makes me worry I'm going to fart, and I can not switch off. Reiki however totally floats my boat, surprisingly so relaxing that I fall asleep and that never happens !
Posted by Tarynn Playle on
Haha-plot twist! I love getting massages!! I understand the body image thing-surely everyone has something. I have very severe scoliosis, so I think I freak out therapists sometimes. I always consider myself a new challenge for them-Ha!. I was a therapist for three years and I can honestly say, a body is a body. I never saw fat or skinny, I was just focused in on the muscle I was working on. In the US a person would dress down to their comfort level and they are always covered in a sheet. The only part ever exposed is the body part being massaged. So the "private parts" are never ever exposed.
Posted by Karen on
I hear you!! Love/Hate relationship. Just wish dh would give them more often for no other reason than the assumed expectations. I sleep sooo much better after any kind of massage, and thankfully some of our kiddos will give me a head or foot massage when I climb into bed.
Posted by tara pittman on
I am with you on this one. I just do like massages either
Posted by Roxanne on
I am a massage therapist and I am totally focused on what muscle is showing tenseness and why. I watch for reactions showing pain so I don't aggravate an area more. There are many many other aspects of our job, but none include giving two hoots about your body shape or size. :)
Posted by John on
Agree. Having just spent the last month in Thailand, with $5 massage places around every corner, we decided to get one at least every other day. After the first week, I've determined that I'm definitely a foot-massage guy from here on out. Sure, there are parts of the full body massage that are definitely very nice, but overall I'd much prefer a great Thai foot massage. Plus, I can even enjoy it while sipping a beer - a nearly impossible feet to do during a full body massage.
Posted by Charlet Crichton on
I am a Remedial massage therapist and although I don't practise full body massage I can assure you that when a client Is on the couch all we see is a body part. We don't really take notice of much else as we're concentrating on whatever we are trying to achieve ie relaxation, treatment of injured soft tissue etc. So don't worry about body image !
Posted by Cacinda Maloney on
LOL! You are so funny, I have the same thoughts!
Posted by Marianne @ Mum on the Move on
Have you tried Jari Menari in Seminyak in Bali? They have all-male masseurs and you can get a 4-handed massage.. yep that's right - you practically naked in a room with two strange men running their hands over your body. Definitely my strangest massage experience, although I have to say probably the best massage I have had, once I got over the weirdness of it all. Perhaps that will change your perspective of massages?!!
Posted by Kathreen on
As massage therapist I have to tell you, we care more about you as a full person than your body image. Maybe you haven't seen a good massage therapist that you fit with. I personally tell my clients to undress to where they feel comfortable, and only the body parts being un draped will be massaged. Also a massage is about you! I remind people all the time that the session is about them, not me, so communication is very important. I hope you don't give up totally on massage!
Posted by Mike Orobona on
This was my chuckle for the day.
Posted by Andrew on
I'm totally with you, Erin. I hate getting massages but I'm worse than you. I hate even getting them with my clothes on. I just don't like the feel of someone rubbing hard on my muscles. It hurts and I don't get the whole "It's a good kind of hurt" thing. I'll pass tyvm.
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