Are you connecting with your own body?

One of the inherent benefits of receiving massage is that you are given the opportunity to become more familiar with your own body. When being touched in a safe and nurturing environment, such as in a professional massage clinic, you have the opportunity to learn more about your own body and its responses.

Your massage therapist is required to uphold certain standards of practice to ensure the client feels in control of the massage session. So as a client, how do you feel “in control” of a massage session? This will in most part depend on professional behaviour of the massage therapist in relation to the ethical principle of respect.

The ethical principle of respect translates into behaviours such as maintaining a client’s privacy and modesty, providing a safe environment and being on time for all appointments. These behaviours give you, the client, the opportunity to participate in the massage session in a way that empowers you, so that you can communicate positively to ensure your own needs are met.

An environment of client autonomy and self-determination enables you the chance to try and feel connected with your own body. The massage therapist gives you the time and space to learn to work effectively with body sensations and feelings of discomfort, pain and stress, thereby cultivating increasing powers of relaxation.

So, while lying on the massage table during your next massage treatment, simply notice and accept whatever is present in the current moment – sensations, moods or thoughts.

It is a great opportunity to try this when receiving a relaxation massage. As you go through the practice, try and focus clearly on each area of the body being massaged, notice any sensations that may arise – perhaps feelings of tension, temperature, tingling. As thoughts or emotions arise, notice them and then return your attention to the body part. If you realize that you have become distracted, simply pick up from where you drifted off…

Gentle consistent breathing is very helpful. Bring attention to the natural flow of your breath. Try not to change it or deepen it in any way – simply notice it.

Try following the full cycle of breath, noticing the breath entering the nostrils on an inhale, filling the lungs and continue following the breath as it makes its way out of the body on an exhale. If thoughts intrude, simply notice them and gently refocus your attention on the breath.

When the massage therapist is re-draping a body part and preparing to massage the next body part, take a moment to feel your body as a whole and return your attention to the breath.

At the end of the massage allow yourself to feel relaxed and complete, right now, in this moment…