- Karen Stoner, LMT
4 Things you think your Massage Therapist cares about...but doesn't
1. Your hairy legs/un-pedicured toes
Short Answer: Your Massage Therapist isn’t judging your appearance, and doesn’t care what your body looks like. Our focus is on the muscles, not what looks nice on top.
More details: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Massage Therapy is defined as, "the manipulation of the muscles and other soft tissues of the body (as by stroking, kneading, or rubbing with one or both hands or an instrument) by a massage therapist for therapeutic purposes (as to relieve pain, promote healing, or improve physical functioning)". It mentions nothing about the outward appearance of the body, so that is not what Massage Therapists focus on. The only thing that really matters to us about the external condition of a body is that it is clean.
2. Your growling stomach
Short answer: Human bodies make noises. There is nothing we can do about that. When massage starts moving your circulation around, it can make the noises even more noticeable. No worries - it is just a part of being human, so we don’t mind. (Plus, our stomachs often growl too, and there is nothing we can do about that, either!)
More details: The human body can be weird and gross and completely out of your control sometimes. There is nothing that can be done about most bodily noises, especially things like a growling stomach which we can't really control. Even if you eat, the stomach still can make noises afterwards, and that can't be controlled either. Most of the time, your body is actually making these noises a lot more than you realize, however we don't notice it because we are up and moving around and going through our day. When getting a massage, we are laying still, and in a relatively quiet and calm environment, so our body noises are much more noticeable, and when we notice it, that's when when we get embarrassed about it. Your Massage Therapist is in that quiet calm environment a lot more than you, so they are used to hearing those noises, so it doesn't faze them.
3. How much or how little you talk
Short answer: Everyone relaxes differently. Some need silence to zone out and calm down, others need to chat to either relieve stress, or vent so that the stress can release. We don’t need to chat to do our job, but your session is for you, so if talking or silence helps you, go for what you need.
More details: Many people wonder about "proper etiquette" when it comes to talking during a massage. Some people are naturally chatty, while others look forward to total silence. While there are some modalities that work better with one or the other, the session is really the client's time so they need to do whatever they need to do to participate in achieving their own goals of the session. If they are in a stressful situation and are coming in to get a massage and relax, and venting about the stressful day to a neutral ear helps them gain that mental freedom and de-stressing, chat away (unless it is a modality that needs calm and quiet). If they need to be silent and reflect, the therapist is ok with the silence as well.
4. How your body looks
Short answer: Fat, thin, scars, tattoos - these don’t affect how your Massage Therapist treats you. Our goal is to make you feel better no matter what you look like, or what you think your body looks like. Our job is to encourage health of the body and mind, not judge how your body looks.
More details: Just like the above answer, our focus is on healing what needs to be healed. The outward appearance has little to do with what needs to be done to make the body feel better. As long as there are no open wounds or sores, or contagious skin conditions that would make the massage unadvisable or contraindicated, the size or shape doesn't change the basic structure of the bones and muscles. As long as the body is clean and free from contraindications, the shape, size, or color doesn't matter in how the body is treated or healed.