Your Body is Sacred
Written by Emilee Trudo
Your body is sacred. Your physical body and your energy body. This isn’t a religious statement or a non-religious statement–it is just a fact of humanity–our bodies are sacred (“entitled to reverence and respect” as merriam-webster defines it in 2b here). Whatever person or experience or trauma that taught you otherwise, is just wrong. A fallacy. And you don’t have to do a damn thing to maintain this sacredness. It just is. Whether or not you believe this — rest assured that your massage therapist does believe this.
In December, we ran a poll on our social media platforms, inquiring about reasons people hesitate to get a massage. One of the top answers was “nervous about someone seeing my body”. I couldn’t avert my attention from this answer, because the response it begs for goes deeper than its applications to massage. The mind game of being fearful of being judged/criticized in a wellness/healthcare environment by a wellness/healthcare professional, can be what stifles people in reaching out for the help they need–mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual. So I wanted to do my best in speaking to this fear with love and empathy.
Now it would be pompous of me to claim that I know every single massage therapist in existence has the same stance on this topic (as much as I’d like to believe it to be true, there’s always those few outliers, who in this case, shouldn’t be therapists), but I can say that every massage therapist who I know well enough on a professional level, and myself, hold your sacred body in the highest regard.
We are not holding your body in the highest regard because it will make us money or spread around our name, but because we are human too. And we have humans in our “circle.” There is not one human on this planet who, if being totally honest with themselves, can say that they have never ever had an insecurity or insecure moment related to their physical body. Every human knows what it feels like to be judged negatively–by themselves and/or others. In fact, feeling insecure and anxious about how others think of us is one of the most universal mental obstacle courses experienced (and anything universal, has the power to unite us!) So we really empathize with body-appearance anxiety.
In our schooling (and life experiences) massage therapists learn about all different types of body changes that are possible to occur. We see the physical body as one that changes due to time, life events, and mental health. We have no box that we are awaiting to put you in. (Just a cozy massage table with soft blankets!) Scars, abnormal skin feel/appearance, hair or lack thereof, weight or lack thereof, missing arms/legs/hands/feet, hormonal and/or sex changes–literally anything you could think of that gives you anxiety about how others judge your appearance–we don’t judge! We don’t care about your appearance, we just care about your health, wellness, and if you’re experiencing any pain or stress.
You may be thinking “okay, well you say you don’t judge but you can’t say you don’t notice!”
Well, correct. If our vision exists, we can see weight, scars, skin conditions, etc. But what matters is that we see you in a different, more loving light despite what your anxiety leads you to believe. Remember, your body is sacred to us. Our entire profession is about honoring each and every body we touch. No ifs, ands, or buts. We honor you and your sacred sack of flesh ‘n bones by understanding that every body has a story. A whole, complete, perfectly imperfect story as to why their body is the way it is. Even that story is sacred and to be honored. I don’t mean that we aren’t standing there massaging and trying to presume your story based on what we see or feel. It’s just a value we have been engrained with and now operate from. A value that deepens our empathy for those we literally touch.
Have you ever noticed that when you empathize with someone or something, you have an urge to help in some way? Massage therapists are like that times one hundred. So when we are massaging your body, and being attentive to those areas we sense need love and healing, we are actually thinking the opposite of what your anxiety is making up. We are not judging. We are loving, specifically a type of love called agape (a universal, altruistic, love for all living things– loving for the sake of love. Read more about agape and the 6 other types of love here). Any imperfections you may be nervous about are just given extra love-energy and empathy. We see these “imperfections” as beautiful because they are a part of your sacred body, because you lived all this time, and you’re still here living and breathing and loving. And the most beautiful thing of all–you decided that you are worth the healing that massage therapy can offer. There’s hardly anything quite as beautiful as loving yourself enough to look those anxieties in the face and say “You’re wrong. My body is sacred. I will honor it as such. I will show up for me.”
That right there ↑…that goes for doctor appointments, mental health appointments–and any other commitment that brings about anxiety of being judged for where you’re at, but offers healing or preventative care opportunities.
If you’ve ever experienced a healthcare/wellness provider act blatantly against these values I’ve spoken of, or just made you feel uncomfortable or critically judged for where you’re at, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on the Contact Us page, and I would be happy to lend some support. Or if you have any other types of comments/questions regarding this topic, I would like to have a conversation and help in any way within my scope of practice.
Endless gratitude for you, fellow human.