How Massage Can Improve Self-Esteem

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For some, receiving a massage may be putting them at the edge of discomfort.  Perhaps the thought of another person seeing them “naked” is horrifying.  What about my pimples!?  Cellulite!?  Body hair!? Funky toes!?  Skinny legs!?  You name it, a massage therapist has seen it.  And we seek to honor, heal, and rejuvenate your amazing gift of a body.  When I am giving someone a massage, my heart is open. This is one of the most joyous reasons I love what I do, and I believe most therapists feel the same. I see each person on the table as a divine being. I am not looking with a judgmental eye. I am feeling. I am feeling musculature, knots, bones, tendons, fascia, breath, skin, and bodily rhythms. I may sense emotions, or impressions of the client as well, and I acknowledge those.  And, in my experience of touching thousands of bodies, each one is unique and uniquely amazing.

We are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of visual information via the media regarding body image. Both men and women are effected by this constant onslaught of “beautiful” people trying to sell us something. It is almost inescapable, and the result is millions of people walking around not feeling so great about their appearance. Lame!  Even the most empowered and self-aware of us have probably caught ourselves comparing ourselves to some standard of beauty.  Or criticizing something about our bodies that we judge as “ugly.”

Many of us not only get these messages from the media, but from our family and peers as well. Childhood wounds from being called fat, ugly, skinny, too dark, too white, whatever, leave lasting scars inside of us. Maybe our moms were obsessed, or our dads gave us subtle or not-so-subtle hints about what means to be feminine or masculine. In some way or another, most of us have had the feeling that we just aren’t good enough the way we are. That there is something inherently “wrong” with our bodies and the way we look.

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I can speak from personal experience that this was true for me, and massage has helped me immensely in my path to self-love. I went to massage school in my late twenties, and it was a transformative experience for me. One amazing aspect of my school was the weekly “heart circle,” where we had the chance to voice our experiences and our truths in the moment. We shared what we were learning about ourselves, and where our challenges lied. For most, being touched so much brought up a lot of core issues. I am so grateful for this experience, because it brought me to a deep level of compassion for myself and for others. I got to see that I was not alone in my inner struggles.  That this other person who is struggling is so amazing and beautiful, if only they could see it too.

Massage is such a wonderful way to tell our bodies that they are loved, that they are important, and worthy of care. And truly they are! Our bodies are miraculous, and we only get this one, this time around. The messages we send to our bodies matter. Our cells are listening. The more love we feed our bodies, the more they will glow with appreciation. And that, my friends, is REAL BEAUTY.

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By Brenna Moore, Licensed Massage Therapist, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

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