Massage & Body Image

Body Image during Massage in Durham

Body image... As a person who has struggled with weight my whole life, I have my fair share of this subject's issues. Honestly, after losing weight, I thought that I would have a better body image of myself, but that wasn’t the case. I would still look in the mirror and feel conflicted about how I was supposed to look. Years of being bullied as a child, the influences of social media, magazines, and TV played a role in how I viewed myself.

It has taken a lot of mental work to help me realize that not everyone judges me on my appearance.

When I started massage school, I realized we would have to get undressed and be bare naked (covered on a table) in a classroom with other students. My teacher said tomorrow is glute day, and yes, you will all be undressed. I think my reaction was something like, "Say what? Come again?"

I know what you’re thinking, and no, it never crossed my mind that I would have to take my clothes off in massage school. I can remember practically holding onto the sheet-like it was my safety blanket. Mentally I would prepare myself for someone to look at my body and hope they weren’t judging how big I was or my skin's appearance.

It took a while for me to get comfortable receiving massages. By the end of school, massage had helped so much with my headaches. I was willing to get on the table any chance I could. Don’t get me wrong, that little self-doubt still creeps up now and then, but it's nothing like what it was.

I met a new client a couple of weeks ago, which brought the topic of body image to the surface. During our intake, I could tell she was nervous, so I lightened the atmosphere by being my funny, talkative self. Not everyone knows what Ashiatsu Barefoot massage is, so I had already shared that I would not be jumping or be dancing on her back…

During our session, we started talking about weight loss, working out, and food. My clients can attest, the topic of food comes up during most of my massages. After telling her how much weight I lost, she responded,

“I was going to make this appointment four weeks ago, but I didn’t. I figured no one would want to rub my fat body”.

If I could use the shocked emoji right now, I would!! I hadn’t thought about my client's perception of what I thought about their body from a beauty standpoint; My focus is always on the muscular/therapeutic aspect.

After our session, I asked how she felt. She said she felt the best she had in a while and rebooked. She also mentioned again that she wishes she hadn't waited so long to make an appointment.

I want to encourage those of you who struggle with body image. Beauty starts from the inside out, and when you arrive for your massage appointment, my goal is to help with whatever ailment you have. Sometimes it may be physical pain or emotional pain. Either way, all judgment is left at the door, so you can come as you are.


Bull City Soles is a massage and bodywork studio located in Durham, NC. Our specialty is barefoot massage but meeting individual needs is our priority. Call 919-477-9887 or use our convenient online scheduling to book a massage or Rolfing® appointment. Never been to our studio? Read our blog, 'Your first massage session at Bull City Soles.' Follow us on our Instagram or Facebook page to get last-minute appointment availabilities, self-care tips, and other information.