Why does such a thing as body positive massage exist? And why does body positive massage matter?
The damage of weight stigma
If you live in a larger body, especially if you grew up socialized as a woman, you receive constant overt and subtle messages that your body is faulty.
You absorb all the little and big ways that your body is (supposedly) wrong, ugly, in the way, not enough, laughable, unworthy, deserving of punishment, and more.
And thus, you internalize the belief that you don’t deserve to take up space, that your comfort or thoughts are unimportant, that you are not worthy of respect and time.
It’s stressful, depressing, dangerous, and defeating.
But despite all the constant negative messaging, please know that your body is in fact valid and important and beautiful.
Your body (and you) deserves care, respect, and reverence, just as all other bodies do.
Enter Body Positive Massage Therapy
As a massage therapist, I work with the Health At Every Size® model, applying its principles in my practice and in my life as a whole. And I name this work Body Positive massage therapy.
Body Positive Massage is a privilege to offer. I have benefited from it many times myself, and have also learned from less positive experiences on the massage table. Your body is your home, and I’m grateful to offer my work as a way of helping you tend it.
Massage is such a helpful way to counteract all of the negative impressions and thoughts we internalize as fat folks.
Kind, respectful, helpful touch reinforces the experience that you, in all your humanity, and worthiness, can feel good in your body, and offer your body love and care. How wonderful is that!
As a body positive massage therapist, here’s what you can expect when you get a massage with me.
When you come in for a massage with me, I will:
- Be grateful for the opportunity to work with you
- Accept, honor, and value you and your body just as you are today
- Listen to you and your lived experience in your body
- Trust that you know your body best
- Treat you according to what you report and what you ask for
- Do my very best to make sure you are comfortable throughout the massage. This might include:
- Extra bolstering under your shoulders when you are lying on your stomach
- Positioning you on your side throughout the massage, without the need to lie on your stomach
- Leaving the room and giving you time and ease to move from lying on your front to lying on your back
- Ask you what’s worked or not worked for you in the past
- Look forward to your appointment just as I look forward to seeing all clients
- Make any post-massage suggestions from a HAES perspective
When you come in for a massage therapy appointment with me, I will not:
- Approach our session together differently than someone in a smaller body. (pssst. In fact, I work with every body in a unique way, so actually I will work with you differently, as with everyone)
- Tell you that shrinking your body will mean you are caring for yourself more responsibly.
- Imply that shrinking your body will solve any of your problems
- Explain that the size of your body is the cause of physical pain you might be experiencing
- Fat shame you in any way
- Assume that focusing on your health is your obligation
- Think that being in a larger body means that you don’t care about your health
- Assume that being in a larger body means you don’t work out
- Presume that being in a larger body means you eat in a ‘bad’ way
- Look down on you if you don’t work out
- Think less of you if you don’t prioritize all areas of self-care at the moment
- Judge you at all 💚
I might assess some aspects of your posture or health history to make sure I offer the best massage per your goals, and keep you safe, but that’s a very different thing than all of the above.
I genuinely do not believe that shrinking your body on purpose is something you should ever focus on, unless you want to for whatever reasons you might choose.
Our bodies change and adjust daily. And they change in many ways, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. And much of that change is outside of our control.
And I genuinely believe and know that you are enough, that you are whole, that you are perfect, just as you are.